Jet Blue Flight 173 from JFK to SJC last Sunday night (June 14th, 2009) was pretty memorable for all the wrong reasons. It's always a bad omen when the pilot tells you "We'll be 10minutes early into San Jose" before we've even taken off. Naturally, we sat on the tarmac for another 30minutes. About 20minutes into the flight, one of the passengers went from the front of the plane to the bathrooms at the back: nothing unusual about that, right?
Then the smell started... Said passenger had managed to leave little drops of (ahem) "fertilizer" all the way down the aisle, which the poor flight crew tried to clean up, and mask with some flowery-smelling powder they put down, but it really didn't mask the smell. So for the first time in my life, we had to turn around about an hour into the flight and go back to JFK. Once we landed, they got the poor bugger off the plane quickly, but the rest of us had to sit there while decontamination crews cleaned up the aisle (see picture). After deplaning and waiting another hour to get on another, cleaner, plane we took off again without incident and got into SJC at around 1:00am - 3.5 hours later than planned.
The Jet Blue team did a creditable job of keeping us informed without embarassing the sick passenger, but it was overall not an experience I would choose to repeat. If you are feeling unwell and still considering traveling: please don't!
Someone asked me the next day: "How was the flight?" and I could answer honestly "Well... frankly, it was pretty sh...."