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Maryland family sat in vomit during flight from Orlando

A Rockville man said he and his family had to sit in seats reeking of vomit on a flight last week from Orlando to Dulles International Airport.

Scott Shirley, his wife and young son were returning from vacation on a United Airlines flight, when they noticed the area under the seats where they had stored their bags was wet.

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Shirley told WUSA9, which first reported the incident, that his wife smelled the substance and determined it was vomit. The couple asked for another seat but were told by the airline that none was available unless they took a flight the next day. Since the family could not change plans, they were forced to fly home with the stench.

Jennifer Dohm, a spokeswoman for United Airlines, said the airline apologized for the incident.

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"The situation Mr. Shirley described is certainly one that we wish no customer experiences, as our cleaners did not fully clean the floor in front of the seats prior to departure," Dohm said in an email. "We offered them an alternate flight, but they decided to remain onboard."

Shirley said the airline brought blankets to cover the area, but never offered to clean it more thoroughly. He told the TV station that some of the family's bags are no longer usable because they carry the smell.

"Our agents did the best they could in the short time they had to accommodate Mr. Shirley and keep the flight on time," Dohm said. "We've apologized to his family and offered a gesture of goodwill for future travel."

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