Man upset after sitting on urine-soaked seat during flight

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Man Upset After Sitting on Urine-Soaked Seat During Flight


JOHNSTON, Iowa -- Mike Feinberg wants to start a new campaign. He wants to call it the "check your seat" campaign.

As a sales representative for a medical supplies company, Feinberg flies a lot. He's experienced flight delays, long waits on the tarmac and bad customer service. But he'd never experienced anything like what he encountered on an American Airlines' flight on Jan. 12, 2016.

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He was returning to Des Moines from St. Louis when he started to feel uncomfortable. He asked himself, "What is this feeling?" And then realized, "Oh, I'm wet."

By this time, Feinberg had been sitting in his first class seat - an upgrade - for about an hour.

"I turn to the gentleman next to me... and I go, 'Is your seat wet?' And he goes, 'No.' And I said, 'Mine is.'"

It didn't take long for Feinberg to realize what he was sitting in.

"So, I just kind of reach down between my seat to see what's going on, and I go, 'It's urine.'"

Feinberg, whose pants were now soaked, contacted the flight attendant, who offered him blankets and a plastic bag to sit on. She also explained that an older passenger on a previous flight appeared to have trouble making it to the restroom and "must have missed once."

Feinberg's experience with American Airlines didn't get much better when he reached the gate, about three hours later. He says he explained the situation to the gate attendant, who "looked at me like that's terrible, but what do you want me to do about it."

American eventually provided a shower and a pair of pajamas for Feinberg to change into. An airline representative also offered a $200 voucher for a future flight.

Feinberg characterizes that as "an insult." He also says the bigger issue is how American Airlines cleans its planes between flights and how the airline handles bio-hazardous waste.

"I don't know who was sitting there before. He could have been the nicest guy in the world, but could have Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C, could have had Ebola. I don't know what the guy had."

American Airlines refused to give Feinberg its protocols for dealing with bio-hazardous waste, saying it's a privacy issue.

"Biohazard is not a privacy issue. It's a policy. It's a procedure," Feinberg said.

When Channel 13's Sonya Heitshusen contacted American Airlines, a spokesperson said, "Our aircraft cleaners are trained to look for visible items like trash left on the seats, floor and seatback pockets. We regret that the cleaners did not detect that this particular seat was wet. If our customer service agents or flight crew had been notified before the flight, we would have removed the affected seat cushion and replaced it with a new, clean one."

The airline also increased Feinberg's compensation to $1,000, refunded the 10,000 frequent flyer miles he'd used on the flight and paid for his $500 suit.

However, the airline did not provide us with its policy regarding the disposal of bio-hazardous waste.

"The biggest issue is what are we gonna do in the future when this happens to people?" asks Feinberg.

Feinberg knows what he'll do in the future.

"I'll check my seat first before I sit down. I don't want any more surprises."

Related: See how first class seats vary on different planes:

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Man upset after sitting on urine-soaked seat during flight
In-flight refreshments are arranged in a first-class seat onboard a Boeing Co. B777-300ER aircraft operated by American Airlines Group Inc. at Sydney Airport in Sydney, Australia, on Friday, Nov. 13, 2015. American Airlines in December will start daily flights between Sydney and Los Angeles, allowing Qantas Airways Ltd. at the same time to reopen a route from Sydney to San Francisco. Photographer: Brendon Thorne/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Passenger seating and a bed sit in the first class cabin of an Airbus A380-800 aircraft, operated by Qatar Airways Ltd., on the opening day of the 14th Dubai Air Show at Dubai World Central (DWC) in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, on Sunday, Nov. 8, 2015. The Dubai Air Show is the biggest aerospace event in the Middle East, Asia and Africa and runs Nov. 8 - 12. Photographer: Jasper Juinen/Bloomberg via Getty Images
An in-flight meal is arranged in a first-class seat onboard a Boeing Co. B777-300ER aircraft operated by American Airlines Group Inc. at Sydney Airport in Sydney, Australia, on Friday, Nov. 13, 2015. American Airlines in December will start daily flights between Sydney and Los Angeles, allowing Qantas Airways Ltd. at the same time to reopen a route from Sydney to San Francisco. Photographer: Brendon Thorne/Bloomberg via Getty Images
A picture taken on June 16, 2015 during the International Paris Airshow at Le Bourget shows the first class area of a Qatar Airlines' A380. AFP PHOTO / /MIGUEL MEDINA (Photo credit should read MIGUEL MEDINA/AFP/Getty Images)
Akbar Al Baker, chief executive officer of Qatar Airways Ltd., left, and Timothy 'Tim' Clark, inspect the First Class bar area during a tour of an Airbus SAS A380 aircraft, operated by Qatar Airways Ltd., on day two of the 51st International Paris Air Show in Paris, France, on Tuesday, June 16, 2015. The 51st International Paris Air Show is the world's largest aviation and space industry exhibition and takes place at Le Bourget airport June 15 - 21. Photographer: Jason Alden/Bloomberg via Getty Images
First Class passenger booths sit on the upper deck of an Airbus SAS A380 aircraft, operated by Qatar Airways Ltd., on day two of the 51st International Paris Air Show in Paris, France, on Tuesday, June 16, 2015. The 51st International Paris Air Show is the world's largest aviation and space industry exhibition and takes place at Le Bourget airport June 15 - 21. Photographer: Jason Alden/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Entertainment screens operate on first class cabin booths aboard an Airbus SAS A380 aircraft, operated by Qatar Airways Ltd., on the opening day of the 51st International Paris Air Show in Paris, France, on Monday, June 15, 2015. The 51st International Paris Air Show is the world's largest aviation and space industry exhibition and takes place at Le Bourget airport June 15 - 21. Photographer: Jason Alden/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Akbar Al Baker, center left, CEO of Qatar Airways, and Ray Conner, center right, President and CEO of Boeing Commercial Airplanes, take questions from reporters as they hold a press conference Wednesday, Nov. 4, 2015, in the first class cabin of the 25th Boeing 787 airplane purchased by the airline, following a delivery ceremony in Everett, Wash. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)
Media members look over the first class section before delivery by Boeing of the first 747-8 Intercontinental Tuesday, May 1, 2012, in Everett, Wash. Lufthansa is the launch customer for the Intercontinental and will start service with the airplane between Frankfurt, Germany and Washington, D.C. The 747-8 Intercontinental is a stretched, updated version of the iconic 747 and is expected to bring double-digit improvements in fuel burn and emissions over its predecessor, the 747-400, and generate 30 percent less noise. Boeing delivered the first 747-8 Intercontinental to a private customer in February, more than a year after originally planned. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
Ray Conner, left, Boeing president and CEO of commercial airlines, explains the first class section as Walter Cho, Korean Air executive vice president and chief marketing officer, tries out reclining seat on a new Boeing 747-8 Intercontinental jet that Korean Air took delivery of Tuesday, Aug. 25, 2015, in Everett, Wash. The jet is the first of 10 of the passenger airplanes the carrier has on order with Boeing. With the delivery, Korean Air becomes the first airline to operate both passenger and freighter versions of the 747-8. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
FILE - This file photo taken Sunday, May 4, 2014, shows the 125-square-foot (11.61-square-meter) area that includes a "living room" partitioned off from the first-class aisle, leather seating, a chilled mini-bar and a 32-inch flat-screen TV, at a training facility in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. The area was created as a mock-up suite to be built in Etihad Airways airplanes. Abu Dhabi's national carrier, Etihad, showcased on Thursday, Dec. 18, the arrival of its first Airbus A380, outfitted with "the only three-room suite in the sky." (AP Photo/Kamran Jebreili, File)
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