Frontier Airlines
Photograph ©2018 by Brian Cohen.

Videos: Vomit in Seat Back Pocket Leads to Arrest of Passenger

Please allow me to throw up a story to you for your consideration: a woman whose daughter allegedly felt wet vomit in the seat pocket in front of her shortly after boarding the airplane was ultimately arrested — and I would like to know what you would have done if you found yourself in a similar situation.

Videos: Vomit in Seat Back Pocket Leads to Arrest of Passenger

Rosetta Swinney and her daughter were passengers of an airplane operated by Frontier Airlines and were looking forward to heading home to Durham after they enjoyed spending Easter weekend together at a wedding in Las Vegas — until the daughter reportedly jumped up from her seat, exclaiming that her hands were wet. When the daughter smelled what was on her hands, she realized that it was vomit, which was on the air sickness bag in the seat pocket in front of her — as well as all over her shirt and her hands.

Swinney claims that once she alerted a member of the flight crew, she was allegedly told that cleaning up vomit was “not my job.” That member of the flight crew supposedly did not clean the seat — nor did she offer to move Swinney and her daughter to different seats aboard the aircraft.

What happened next is shown on the following videos — but do they tell the full story?

Do the Videos Tell the Full Story?

This unedited video — which is from the Facebook account of Nïkkï Nickole — shows the incident after Swinney and her daughter found the vomit shortly after boarding the aircraft and taking their seats but prior to being arrested.

This unedited video — which is from the Facebook account of Nïkkï Nickole — shows the incident after the police were called aboard the airplane. Despite having a job which they must carry out, they appear to by sympathetic with Swinney and her situation — but because Swinney refused the orders of one of the police officers, he ordered all of the passengers off of the airplane.

This unedited video — which is from the Facebook account of Nïkkï Nickole — shows Swinney being arrested and upset, screaming “They gonna try to arrest me because they found throw up on the plane?!?” Her daughter — who is 14 years of age — is seen crying on the right.

This unedited video — which is from the Facebook account of Nïkkï Nickole — shows Swinney being separated from her daughter as she is taken away after being arrested.

Numerous media accounts suggest that the daughter was placed in protective custody away from her mother while she was reportedly detained for approximately 12 hours.

According to this article written by Tim Pulliam of WTVD-TV Channel 11 News in Durham, the following statement was submitted from Frontier Airlines — portions of which seem to contradict the aforementioned videos:

During boarding of flight 2066 from McCarran International Airport (LAS) to Raleigh-Durham International Airport (RDU) last week, two passengers told the flight attendants that vomit was present in their seat area. The flight attendants apologized and immediately invited the mother and her teenage daughter to move to either end of the plane so that the seat area could be cleaned. The mother and daughter were also told that once boarding was complete they would be provided other seats if available. The daughter was also offered cleaning products and invited to use the lavatory to wash up. The mother was unsatisfied with the response and became disruptive. As a result, the flight attendants determined that the mother and daughter should be deplaned and accommodated on another flight. The mother refused, and following procedure, law enforcement was called. Law enforcement then requested that everyone deplane so that the mother and daughter could be removed allowing the aircraft to be re-boarded and depart. We apologized to our passengers for the inconvenience caused by the departure delay. The safety of passengers and crew is our top priority at Frontier.


I have basically abandoned the policy of parroting news reports here at The Gate; but I felt that this one needed to be told, as I shook my head when I first found out about this story.

Neither Frontier Airlines nor any of the passengers indicated that the vomit which was found in the seat pocket was from the mother or daughter themselves; and no entity denied that the vomit was not their prior to passengers boarding the aircraft — which leads me to believe that this unfortunate series of events could have been easily avoided if members of the maintenance staff simply did their jobs and cleaned the airplane properly.

Although whether or not Rosetta Swinney could have handled her end of this situation differently is debatable — I personally thought she handled it fairly well and was rather calm while she was still aboard the airplane and only seemed to lose her temper once she was arrested — I place the blame squarely on the maintenance staff of Frontier Airlines; and I hope that this inexcusable and disgusting incident leads to all airlines being more diligent in the future about presenting a reasonably clean aircraft to their passengers prior to the boarding process at all times.

Ultra-low-cost airlines attempt to do whatever is possible to offer the lowest airfares possible — including offering few to no amenities, less room between seats, and airplanes which are fuel efficient as only three examples — but cleanliness should never be compromised to the point where the health of passengers can potentially be threatened.

Photograph ©2018 by Brian Cohen.

  1. Sometimes aircraft cleaning is performed by contracted companies, not by airline employed staff. Frontier might not have direct control of the cleaning crew. The “finding her another seat” discussion is missing from the videos – we jump from the initial complaint to the arrival of security. It’s difficult to make a judgement without knowing why the discussion of seat changes went awry.

    1. You are correct on all aspects, Ed — but now you bring up perception by the customer.

      For example, some regional airlines are operated by separate companies which represent the airlines that contract them to fly short-haul flights. I remember being annoyed when I had a problem with the performance of a regional airline — only to be told when I called the main airline that that was not their problem, as the regional airline was a separate company and I had to contact them instead. This is despite the branding of the main airline being painted on the livery of the airplanes of the regional airline. Then the back-and-forth finger pointing started, which wasted my time.

      In my opinion, this is similar but not exactly the same: regardless of whether or not Frontier Airlines has direct control of the cleaning crew, the airline is the ultimate authority on who gets to clean its airplanes. If the contracted cleaning crew cannot or will not do the job properly, the airline needs to either be more strict with them as to what is expected — or fire the contracted company altogether and find a better solution to keep their airplanes reasonably clean.

      Frontier Airlines is ultimately responsible for the cleanliness of their airplanes — especially in the eyes of its customers.

  2. all this should have been avoided by Frontier… can’t think or believe why the mother & daughter refused to move to different seats had the FA offered. Frontier could likely pay much more to settle this

  3. Typical: Adult woman NOT respecting authority. Policeman trying to defuse the situation. Woman trying her best to STIR up the pot.
    Many young adults have died needlessly mimicking this type of behavior. Didn’t we learn as children to obey the teacher, principal, police and those in authority. Those in authority are under authority and were put there by others in higher authority.
    Any woman or man is nobody when off the job, but when they put on the uniform and the badge and gun GIVEN to them by taxpayers they have the full authority and legality to enforce the law AND protect their own lives more than people not wearing the badge. I learned this in grade school——
    Do they not teach young people this today??

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