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Who spilled the rice? | Southwest Airlines flight delayed for an hour due to unclaimed mess

"She went up and down the aisle and asked each passenger one by one, loudly, 'Who spilled the rice?' a passenger said. "It was so surreal. It was hilarious."

HOUSTON — A Southwest Airlines flight from Atlanta to Houston was delayed for one hour on Saturday because passengers said somebody wouldn’t clean up the mess they made on the plane.

Passengers said flight attendants refused to allow the pilot to take off until someone cleaned up rice that was spilled in the aisle.

"It was the end of a long day and apparently they had had a complete crew change," passenger Jennifer Schaper said. "I’m sure they were tired. There had been a delay and we were tired."

Schaper said she and her fellow passengers couldn’t wait to get off the ground Saturday night. She was heading back to Houston from her trip to Atlanta. It wasn’t until all the passengers had taken their seats that she saw the rice in the middle of the aisle.

"I didn’t see it happen, but apparently one of the last passengers to board spilled a large amount of what looked like some sort of Asian fried rice ... and the flight attendant was really, really, mad about it," Schaper said.

Mad enough to keep everyone grounded.

"She went up and down the aisle and asked each passenger one by one, loudly, who spilled the rice," Schaper said. "My seatmates and I sort of got the giggles because it was so surreal. It was just hilarious. So she looked at us really suspiciously and asked us again if we spilled the rice and we said, 'No ma’am, we did not.'"

The situation continued to get tenser, and definitely more awkward, gauging from the expressions on the passengers’ faces.

"Another flight attendant came and put a paper towel on it and said again we are not leaving this gate until someone cleans up this rice," Schaper said.

But still, nobody would confess.

"(The flight attendant) gets on the loudspeaker and she says again that we are not leaving until this rice is cleaned. So she cleans the rice, the entire time she’s telling all the passengers how nobody was raised right, and how disappointed she is in all of us," Schaper said.

About an hour after the rice was first discovered, and after a sharp scolding from the crew, the plane finally took off.

Schaper said whoever made the mess should have just taken responsibility.

"I’m sure after that they didn’t want to admit to it, but yeah, they should’ve cleaned it up," she said.

Nevertheless, what’s the use of crying over spilled rice?

"The whole thing was really comical and I kind of saw the light side of the situation," Schaper said. "We’re all stuck there, we may as well make it funny."

A spokesperson from Southwest Airlines said they weren’t familiar with the incident, but that their flight attendants do a tremendous job ensuring the comfort and safety of their customers.

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