One father took to Twitter to complain that a flight attendant instructed his wife to clean up a mess his children had caused on an airplane.
“The flight attendant @united just made my pregnant wife traveling with a 5 year old and a 2 year old get on her hands and knees to pick up the popcorn mess made by my youngest daughter. Are you kidding me?!?!” Anthony Bass of the Toronto Blue Jays tweeted on April 16 with a shot of his children seated in seats with popcorn on the floor underneath them.
Bass’ tweet received little attention. The now-viral tweet has received over 12,900 responses and over 7,000 quote tweets from individuals who have weighed in on the subject.
The flight attendant @united just made my 22 week pregnant wife traveling with a 5 year old and 2 year old get on her hands and knees to pick up the popcorn mess by my youngest daughter. Are you kidding me?!?! pic.twitter.com/vLYyLyJC54— Anthony Bass (@AnthonyBass52) April 16, 2023
“Genuinely curious who should clean up the mess your 2 year old made? As a parent of three kids I am the one responsible for them.” one user said.
Another person said, “UMMMM 22 weeks? Get over yourself. Pregnant women lift weights, run corporations, work in fields and take care of a lot of things. That small mess shouldn’t be an issue. Take like 2 mins. Unless of course we’re raising our kids to be entitled and we expect everyone to wait on us.”
While the internet definitely has opinions on the subject, etiquette expert and former flight attendant Jacqueline Whitmore tells TODAY.com that asking a passenger to crawl down on their hands and knees to pick up popcorn, or any other trash, is unethical.
It is the flight attendant’s responsibility to come around on occasion to pick up trash and other debris. Whatever falls on the floor usually stays there until the plane lands and the clean-up crew arrives, Whitmore explains.
According to Whitmore, aboard smaller planes, the flight attendant is occasionally in charge of cleaning the plane.
The key word here is ‘responsible,’ she explains. In other words, it is not the passenger’s responsibility to clean up every little thing that falls on the floor.
According to a Twitter response from Bass, Whitmore believes the flight attendant should not have said anything since the airline supplied the popcorn.
One last comment about today’s incident. United provided the popcorn, not my wife. https://t.co/CKVyzBuqNL— Anthony Bass (@AnthonyBass52) April 16, 2023
This is something that the flight attendants or cleaning crew could have easily addressed without making a fuss, she adds. It would have only taken a few minutes and a sweeper to solve the problem.
But Whitmore has a message for the passengers as well.
She says that she recommends that people pack their manners and offer to clean up after themselves as best they can whenever possible. This is both helpful and courteous.
Bass thanked followers for their support on April 17 and said that United was taking care of matters with the flight attendant internally.