Who’s to blame for these peeing-on-plane incidents?

We’ve had two public urination incidents on planes within the last week.

That’s not quite a trend, but all we need is for one more copycat drunkard to relieve himself on a flight for my good friends at USA Today to put this issue on the front page.

Last week, Robert “Sandy” Vietze, a member of the US skiing team, was accused of urinating on a 12-year-old girl while on a red-eye flight from Portland, Ore., to JFK. Vietze reportedly consumed “five or six” beers, and claims to have passed out in his seat and woken up to find himself being yelled at by the girl’s father. He faces a federal misdemeanour charge of indecent exposure, according to the US attorney’s office in Brooklyn.

And this morning, a passenger on a Paris-to-Dublin flight, unable to control his bladder, relieved himself on the floor of the aircraft. Reports say the inebriated passenger announced “I need to piss, I need to piss,” before doing the deed.

The man’s name? Gerard Depardieu. As in, the French actor.

Peeing-on-plane incidents are not unheard of. But they rarely happen this close together.

We had one in June on a flight from Auckland to Singapore. The passenger, who was reportedly drunk, urinated in a plane aisle during the flight, spraying other passengers. Remarkably, he was let off with a warning.

The last major public urination incident in the United States happened in 2009, when Jerome Kenneth Kingzio was sentenced to three weeks in prison for urinating on a 66-year-old woman during a Continental Airlines from Los Angeles to Honolulu. The victim was reportedly headed to Hawaii on for a scuba diving vacation and was watching an in-flight movie when Kingzio stood up next to her aisle seat and began urinating on her midway through the flight.

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What’s going on? For all I know, these could be three random incidents where passengers boarded the plane after having one drink too many.

But my nine-year-old son would beg to differ.

On a recent international flight, he woke up and had to go badly. Since we were in the first row of economy class, and he could practically see the business class restroom beyond the drawn curtain, he made a mad dash for it before I could stop him.

A flight attendant blocked his way, forcing him to march all the way to the back of the aircraft. He might have wet himself, had the aisle been obstructed by a meal cart.

I think most flight attendants know that the rule about using the restrooms in your class of service must be flexible. But I wonder how many of these public urination stories wouldn’t have been stories if a restroom — any restroom — had been available.

(Photo by cheu kiecfu/Flickr)

Christopher Elliott

Christopher Elliott is an author, journalist and consumer advocate. You can read more about him on his personal website or check out his adventures on his family adventure travel site. Contact him at chris@elliott.org. Read more of Christopher's articles here.

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