Over the Easter weekend, a North Carolina mother was arrested after she got into a dispute with a Frontier Airlines flight attendant over vomit from a previous flight left uncleaned on her daughter’s seat. The altercation landed Rosetta Swinney in jail with a misdemeanor charge.
"What really hurt me is for my child to see me getting handcuffed and taken away from her," Swinney told Raleigh, N.C. news station WTVD-TV. "Twelve hours I was in jail. Twelve hours."
The 53-year-old mom and her daughter were in Las Vegas over the weekend for a wedding. Passengers were told that their Frontier flight to Durham, N.C. was delayed so that the staff could clean the aircraft. However, when her and 14-year-old daughter boarded the plane, they were astonished to find puke on the seat.
"She jumped up and said, ‘Mom, my hands are wet.’ She smelled it. She said, ‘This is vomit, mom.’ So, we went to look,” Swinney said. “It was on the bag, all over her shirt, her hands.”
Swinney said that when she alerted a flight attendant about the puke, the Frontier Airline employee got “offensive” and responded that it was “not her job” to clean the mess. “If it wasn’t her job, why wasn’t it attended to?” Swinney told WTVD-TV.
In a statement provided to Yahoo Lifestyle, Frontier Airlines said that the flight attendant apologized to the mother and her teenage daughter and “offered cleaning products for herself and invited to use the lavatory to wash up.” The statement said that “the mother and daughter were also told that once boarding was complete they would be provided other seats if available.”
Swinney disputes Frontier Airlines’ account, saying that the attendant neither attempted to clean the mess or offered them new seats. Several other passengers on the same flight took to social media with videos and written posts similar to Swinney’s version of events.
The North Carolina mom claims that the attendant asked her to leave when she tried to address the issue again. When the 53-year-old mom refused, the attendant called security to escort her and her daughter off of the aircraft.
Frontier alleges that because Swinney “became disruptive,” attendants determined that the mother and daughter should be deplaned and accommodated on a different flight. When the mother refused, attendants “followed procedure” by alerting law enforcement and de-planing passengers so that the mother and daughter could be removed.
Videos of the Saturday incident show Swinney being handcuffed in the gate terminal while her 14-year-old daughter watched crying. “Her 14 year old daughter is screaming and she is being hauled away by the police,” wrote the passenger who filmed the incident in its entirety. Her video has since gone viral garnering 1,400 likes and 2,900 shares on Facebook. The videos are now also circulating on Twitter. “Now they’re cleaning up the same vomit the lady complained about initially because it’s a biohazard! Frontier Airlines is DEAD WRONG FOR THIS!”
“We apologized to our passengers for the inconvenience caused by the departure delay,” Frontier Airlines’ statement said. “The safety of passengers and crew is our top priority at Frontier.”
Local law enforcement put the North Carolina mom in jail for 12 hours and placed her daughter in child protective custody.
"I felt humiliated," Swinney told WTVD-TV. "I felt more bad that my child had to see me be handcuffed and taken away from her."
After she was released from jail, Swinney purchased a $1,000 flight home with Delta Airlines. Although Frontier Airlines refunded her for the cost of her original flight, the mom has hired a civil rights lawyer to fight her misdemeanor charge. Swinney also vowed to never fly Frontier Airlines again.
Yahoo Lifestyle was not able to locate Swinney for comment.
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