Did Flatulence Ground Flight 1927?

Reportedly, yesterday at 3:34 p.m., American Airlines Flight 1927 from Charlotte to Raleigh-Durham airport was evacuated after some passengers and crew reported becoming sick from a foul smell. In addition, members of the flight crew called the tower requesting emergency services personnel be sent to the gate after at least three members complained of headaches, eye irritation and nausea from exposure to the odor which was described as human flatulence in an official incident report.

According to the original report, passengers were affected by the odor, but CBS North Carolina later reported only crew members complained about the smell after passengers were deplaned. RDU officials confirmed that EMS personnel was called to Terminal 2 to check out the crew members who complained about the odor, but no one was transported to any medical facility.

The official RDU operations log shows at 3:34 p.m. the crew members “gave various descriptions of the smell (all indicating an individual had passed gas).” Later, at 4:18 p.m., an airport representative told news media the “odor was described as flatulence,” according to the operations log.

But that evening, an American Airlines officials said that there was an odor issue with an aircraft, but denied it was because of “passed gas.” In his statement, Ross Feinstein, a spokesman for the airline, said in part:

We did have an aircraft from Charlotte to RDU this afternoon, that landed at 2:19 p.m. ET, and arrived the gate at 2:21 p.m. ET, that is currently out of service for an actual mechanical issue – and odor in the cabin. But It is not due to “passed gas” as mentioned.”

The flight has since been returned to regular service.

So, if you believe the airline, the story reported around the world of a man’s powerful flatulence prompting the evacuation of a Charlotte flight to Raleigh is apparently just a lot of “hot air”, no pun intended. The story had been reported by media outlets from the United Kingdom to India on Sunday, all claiming that an American Airlines flight had to be evacuated after other passengers became sick from smelling an ailing man’s gas.

But officials said that story is not true. According to airport officials today, “The plane was not evacuated. (A) medical call came in for someone affected by an odor after the plane deplaned normally.” An American Airlines official has also issued a new statement saying: “We did take an aircraft out of service for a mechanical issue, an odor in the cabin…No ‘passed gas’ issue.”

As you may notice, the times don’t match in the official log and the statements. So I guess the final decision is up to you, did they or didn’t they? That is the question.

R.L. Grimes

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