‘Smells pretty bad’: United flight diverted to Dallas for overwhelming stench of dog poop

A United Airlines flight from Houston to Seattle had to make an unscheduled stop in Dallas Love Field last week after the stench of dog poop permeated the Boeing 737 first class cabin.

“We had a passenger that brought a service dog onboard that defecated in the cabin,” a cockpit officer tells Dallas tower in an audio recording posted on X, formerly Twitter. “it smells pretty bad, even up here.”

The flight made it to cruising altitude before the animal defecated. For once, passengers were wishing they flew coach.

Service animals are trained to hold their business until they can do so outside. But still, they are animals with natural needs — no matter how highly trained the dog may be.

“Service dogs are highly trained and dependable in a variety of situations, but they are still dogs. Living breathing animals. They can have accidents,” according to candocanines.org. “It’s considered a rite of passage for your service dog to pee, poop or throw up in public, usually at the worst time. Luckily, other people are understanding, but you need to be prepared for this possibility.”

It is unclear if the animal aboard UA422 was indeed a service animal. A fine for faking a service animal can be up to $1,000 in Texas.

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The pilot can be heard saying in the recording that he wouldn’t be surprised if passengers were to be sick from the smell, which is why they felt the need to land urgently. This was probably the right choice considering a flight from Houston to Seattle takes 4 hours and 45 minutes.

Reddit user James Hobbs remarked that not only was the feces wet, but it was also spread across the aisle. He also said that the bathroom where the animal did its business smelled so bad they had to close it for the rest of the flight.

And that’s not the end. Even a passenger sitting relatively close to Hobbs had some dog feces stuck on his shoe.

Flight attendants tried to clean up the best they could. Passengers onboard the April 5 flight were given masks and disinfectant wipes. But, Hobbs said, it just didn’t help.

After landing in Dallas, and cleaning up the accident, the jet stayed on the ground for the remainder of the day. Passengers switched planes and continued on their journey.