Would you pay to replace a handbag your child vomited on?

 Photo: Getty Images

Let's face it: flying long haul isn't pleasant at the best of times. Flying long haul with kids is even worse. And when your kid is sick? That's just plain awful.

But the high altitude drama can get even worse, as one poor mum discovered. Posting on the popular British parenting forum Mumsnet, the mother explained that when her little boy vomited during a flight he inadvertently splattered a stranger's handbag with puke.

Unfortunately, the bag in question was worth £900 (AU$1447).

A bag similar to the one in question.
A bag similar to the one in question.  

Describing the incident, the mum wrote, "The lady behind my seat speaks to my [darling husband], saying: 'I hope your son is okay but he was sick and it's on my handbag'." 

"We apologised and she said: 'No, it's on my handbag, it's very expensive and you need to get your insurance to pay for it to be repaired or cleaned'."

The flabbergasted mum told the lady that she couldn't see any damage to the bag at all, but she stranger replied that the vomit smell had become "ingrained".

After landing, the mum received an email from the woman in question, who said she'd taken her Louis Vuitton bag back to the store and that they had been unable to rid the bag of the offensive smell. She demanded she pay for a new one. 

The forum user asked for advice and got hundreds of replies, but opinions were divided, with some firmly agreeing with the bag owner.


"So she wiped the vomit off but the bag still smells. I can see her point, kind of. I would pay for the bag to be cleaned professionally," said one commenter.

Another mum agreed. "I think you're liable. It's no-one's fault really but at the end of the day your child has ruined her bag. It just so happens she has a [$1447] bag. Ask yourself if she has said it was [$10] from Primark I bet you would have just given her the [$10]."

But others felt the request was unreasonable, even going as far as to suggest it was the woman's fault for spending so much on a bag.

One commented, "She shouldn't have put such an expensive bag on the floor."

Another person added: "I'd ignore her personally. I think more fool her for spending [$1447] on a handbag."

It is certainly a big moral dilemma.

More than that, it's a great advertisement for travel insurance, as just goes to show you never know what unexpected costs will crop up.