A crowded airplane cabin is a terrible place to get sick, and it’s even worse if you’re not alone. Airplanes aren’t exactly known for their plentiful and capacious bathroom facilities. But at least 30 people were sickened this week on an Air China flight to Beijing, and expired beef pancakes are allegedly to blame.
According to Shanghaiist, one family noticed that they’d been served a packaged beef-filled pancake that had been expired for four days. They alerted a flight attendant, who agreed to replace the cookies with fresher ones but declined to alert the other passengers because “the primary function of the cabin crew is ensuring your safety.”
The flight attendant allegedly said there was no problem and told passengers that the food had simply been mislabeled with the wrong expiration date, but the whistle-blowers maintain that roughly 30 minutes later a wave of illness swept through the cabin. At least 30 people were stricken with vomiting and diarrhea, which caused extreme crowding in front of the cabin’s lavatories until the plane landed in Beijing at around 7 p.m.
An Air China spokesperson told the South China Morning Post that incorrect packaging was the cause of the “misunderstanding,” and that the pancakes were supposed to have been offered on flights of shorter distances. The flight in question was a longer flight from Xinjiang to Beijing, which usually is stocked with a longer-lasting variety of food, the company said in a statement.