By Francesca Street, CNN
(CNN) — An easyJet flight was canceled and its passengers made to disembark after someone onboard the aircraft apparently defecated on the airplane bathroom floor.
The flight on Sunday evening from the Spanish island of Tenerife to London Gatwick had already been delayed by several hours.
Aaran Gedhu, a passenger on board, told CNN Travel the flight had already run into trouble pre-departure when the scheduled plane was switched out for a smaller aircraft, meaning some customers were turned away at boarding.
Those who made it on board, two hours after the scheduled departure, then had to wait on the ground for more than an hour while bags were offloaded because of the aircraft being overweight.
As the delay extended, the atmosphere on the packed flight was characterized by “suspense and anger,” Gedhu said.
“EasyJet planes, as they are, just aren’t very comfortable – it’s just a basic seat with okayish legroom room. So everyone was just a bit tense,” he said.
“Then, the pilot finally gave the all clear, and then he said that it will be about 20 minutes until departure,” recalled Gedhu.
“And that’s when the incident happened with the defecation.”
‘A very uncomfortable experience’
Gedhu said he was seated in the middle of the aircraft, but saw “two passengers” visit the front airplane bathroom. Then, word spread that someone had defecated on the bathroom floor. An unpleasant smell followed.
No one was happy about this situation, said Gedhu, but he says most believed the incident was an “accident.”
“Everyone was being polite to each other. There was no fighting amongst the passengers,” he said.
“It was just a very uncomfortable experience. Obviously, the plane was in an unsanitary state. So they had to get external cleaners out from the airport to clean it. So that’s when the stairs reconnected, and the cleaners came on to deep clean the flooring.”
According to Gedhu, passengers remained in their seats during the cleaning process. Afterward, the captain of the aircraft told the plane’s occupants they would have to disembark in an announcement captured on video by another passenger, Kitty Streek, who shared the video on X, formerly known as Twitter.
“It was very frustrating,” Streek told CNN Travel. “We obviously can’t prove whether the person simply had an accident or if they had done this out of anger for the delayed flight but it was hard not to be angry either way as nobody wants to be stranded in another country.”
It was another 30 minutes before passengers deplaned, according to Gedhu. He said he was put up in a hotel overnight – around 45 minutes drive from the airport – before boarding a specially scheduled “rescue” flight the following day.
EasyJet confirmed the initial delays on flight EZY8054 on October 15 occurred due to “safety reasons.”
“Some bags were offloaded to be carried on the next available flight for safety reasons, due to the aircraft being overweight,” it said in a statement.
“The flight was subsequently delayed overnight due to the aircraft requiring additional cleaning,” the statement continues. “We provided hotel accommodation for all customers however as there was limited nearby hotel availability in the area we also advised any customers who booked their own that they will be reimbursed.
“The safety and wellbeing of our customers and crew is easyJet’s highest priority and while this was outside of our control we would like to apologise to customers for the inconvenience caused.”
Sunday’s flight cancellation follows several recent disruptive incidents involving bodily fluids on board airplanes.
In September, a Delta Air Lines flight from Atlanta to Barcelona was forced to turn around after a passenger had diarrhea. Earlier that month, Air Canada issued an apology after two passengers who were told to sit in seats that hadn’t been cleaned properly after being covered in vomit during an earlier flight.
CNN Travel has also reported on an incident on board an Air France flight from Paris to Toronto in which a passenger discovered potentially toxic blood and feces left over from an incident from a previous flight under his seat.
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