Woman allegedly 'accosted' by flight attendant and told she was on no-fly list over dirty diaper debacle

·3 min read

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Dr. Farah Naz Khan, Image via Twitter.
Dr. Farah Naz Khan, Image via Twitter.

A Seattle mom claims she was put on a no-fly list for trying to dispose of her child's soiled diaper on a Mesa Airlines flight.

Dr. Farah Naz Khan was travelling with her husband and one-year-old daughter from Kalispell, Montana, to Houston on Friday, when midway through the flight, her daughter's diaper needed to be changed. 

In an interview with TODAY, Khan, a physician and assistant professor at the University of Washington, said she took her daughter to a diaper changing station at the back of the aircraft and disposed of the used diaper in a scented, plastic bag in the airplane bathroom trash. Khan said she was headed back to her seat when she was "accosted" by a male flight attendant. 

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"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,'" Khan said.

Farah Naz Khan says a Mesa Airlines flight attendant put her on a no-fly list after disposing of a dirty diaper during a recent flight. (Photo by Alex Tai/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)
Farah Naz Khan says a Mesa Airlines flight attendant put her on a no-fly list after disposing of a dirty diaper during a recent flight. (Photo by Alex Tai/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)

According to Khan, before she could even explain herself, the flight attendant allegedly began making a scene, yelling and digging through the garbage trying to retrieve the diaper. 

Khan said she felt "humiliated" and "belittled." Upon landing, she filled out and submitted a customer service incident report, and later received call from a 1-800 number. When she picked up, she recognized the man's voice as the flight attendant from earlier that day.

"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?" Khan recalled. "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."

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A spokesperson from Mesa Airlines issued a statement, saying that "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 said the call became increasingly hostile after she was informed she had been placed on a no-fly zone. 

"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?'" the flight attendant allegedly told Khan over the phone. 

Khan, who is South Asian Muslim and American, believes the flight attendant was being derogatory by saying "you people" during the phone call. She told TODAY that her daughter was with her while she spoke to the airline on speakerphone for three minutes. Khan said the flight attendant told her, "I hear your obnoxious daughter in the background."

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Khan says she doesn't believe she was actually placed on a no-fly list, and flew back to Houston on Monday. She has been in contact with United Airlines, a partner of Mesa Airlines, but was unable to obtain any information about the flight attendant, how he accessed her cell phone number and whether or not he's been disciplined. 

"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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