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This Seattle Mom Was Shamed on Her Flight for Disposing a Dirty Diaper

"When I walked back to the front holding my diaper wipes container and, like, the pad that we used to change my daughter's diaper on, the flight attendant accosted me and said 'Did you just dispose of a diaper back there? That's a biohazard.'"
ByNehal Aggarwal
Associate Editor
Published
July 13, 2021
Close-up view of hands changing a baby's diaper.
Image: Karl Tapales / Getty Images

When Farah Naz Khan got up to change her daughter’s diaper during a flight, she certainly wasn’t expecting the confrontation that arose shortly after.

The mom, 34, was flying with her young daughter from Montana to Houston on Friday, July 9. During the flight, she got up to change her daughter’s diaper, and put the dirty diaper into a bag and threw it out in the bathroom garbage. But once she returned to her seat, she was humiliated and yelled at by a flight attendant for how she disposed of the diaper.

“When I walked back to the front holding my diaper wipes container and, like, the pad that we used to change my daughter’s diaper on, the flight attendant accosted me and said ‘Did you just dispose of a diaper back there? That’s a biohazard,’” she told TODAY Parents, adding that she had previously always disposed of soiled diapers in the bathroom garbage without issues.

When asked if he wanted her to go get the diaper, he said yes and made her fish through the garbage for it. When Khan asked a second flight attendant for a garbage bag for the diaper, she was told she hadn’t done anything wrong, and he then attempted to speak with the first attendant.

The mom threw out the diaper after the flight landed, but hours after the fact she got a call from an unknown 1-800 number, which she said quickly became scary. On the other line was the flight attendant letting her know he had placed her on a “no-fly” list.

"I recognized the voice. He said, ‘Due to a biohazard incident on the plane today, we’ve placed you on the no-fly list.’ This made me very angry, because I suffered the humiliating experience. … They are placing me on a no-fly list? I also didn’t dispose of the diaper on the plane, even if it was considered a biohazard. I walked it off the plane and threw it away myself outside the flight,” Khan told the outlet. “It’s just profanities. Vulgarities. ‘You people bring your children everywhere. Don’t you know that some people just want a peaceful flight and don’t want to listen to your effing children?’”

She added that she had the call, which lasted about 3 minutes, on speaker at some point, and hung up shortly after the flight attendant said, “I hear your obnoxious daughter in the background." Describing herself as South Asian Muslim and American, Khan believed the flight attendant’s use of “you people” was meant to be derogatory.

She filed a customer service report once she landed. Mesa Airlines contracts with United Airlines. A spokesperson for Mesa told TODAY in a statement, “The details as described by our customer do not meet the high standards that Mesa sets for our flight attendants and we are reviewing the matter."

Khan was able to fly back to Houston on Monday. While she has not yet heard from Mesa Airlines, she did receive two calls from United, both of which were unsatisfactory, as they wouldn’t let her know how the attendant was able to get her cell phone number or whether he had been reprimanded following the incident. She was not given an apology and is now considering filing a lawsuit to help protect her family.

“I’m legitimately worried about this person,” she said. “Over a diaper, if he’s able to call me and say those things, what else could he be capable of?”

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