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American Airlines awards $1,500 to passenger who sat in suspected urine

By Ben Hooper Contact the Author   |   Feb. 25, 2016 at 3:05 PM

DES MOINES, Iowa, Feb. 25 (UPI) -- An Iowa man was awarded $1,000 compensation -- plus $500 for his clothes -- by American Airlines after he sat in a plane seat soaked in suspected urine.

Mike Feinberg said he boarded a flight from St. Louis, Mo., to Des Moines Jan. 12 and he realized after about an hour that liquid from his first class seat had soaked into his clothes.

"So, I just kind of reach down between my seat to see what's going on, and I go, 'It's urine,'" Feinberg told WHO-TV.

Feinberg said a flight attendant gave him blankets and a plastic bag to place between the seat and his backside. He said the woman told him an elderly passenger on a previous flight appeared to have trouble reaching the restroom and "must have missed once."

Feinberg said American Airlines provided him with a shower, a pair of pajamas and a $200 voucher after he landed in Des Moines.

The passenger said his largest concerns were health and sanitation.

"I don't know who was sitting there before.  He could have been the nicest guy in the world, but could have Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C, could have had Ebola.  I don't know what the guy had," Feinberg said.

An American Airlines representative told WHO-TV Feinberg's compensation would also include $1,000, plus $500 for the suit he was wearing at the time of the incident. The representative said the 10,000 frequent flyer miles he used for the trip would also be refunded.

"Our aircraft cleaners are trained to look for visible items like trash left on the seats, floor and seatback pockets.  We regret that the cleaners did not detect that this particular seat was wet.  If our customer service agents or flight crew had been notified before the flight, we would have removed the affected seat cushion and replaced it with a new, clean one," the representative said.

Feinberg said he is concerned about future incidents for other passengers, but he has a plan to prevent repeating the ordeal himself.

"I'll check my seat first before I sit down.  I don't want any more surprises," he said.

An Air Mediterranee flight earlier this month from Algiers, Algeria, to Paris was diverted to Lyon, France, earlier this month for a different sort of urine-related problem -- an irate passenger who was upset that he couldn't smoke or drink on board the plane urinated on a fellow passenger, sparking a massive brawl.

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