A pilot asking for a sponge or mop is never a good thing. They were probably the words I dreaded the most back when I was working as a mechanic full time. I can deal with people spilling oil or hydraulic fluid, but bodily fluids aren’t quite my thing. There was one plane in particular, that had vomit on the bottom of the dashboard! On the back side of the instruments! How that got underneath and back there I have no idea, nor do I ever want to know. They definitely were doing some Chuck-type maneuvering when the passenger lost it …
A classic “maneuver” was always the pockets in the doors of the Cessna’s (or worse, the right side of a low-wing Piper – with the Cessna you can at least take the door off and hose it down). It must be a natural thing to want to turn your head away from your pilot and/or other passenger, then have everything run down the side of the door and inside the pouch on the door. Good thing we were only dealing with tears in this instance.
I think there is a reason the pouches are velcro’d to the side of the plane on my clubs training gliders. Plus we make sure to ALWAYS have sick backs in the side pockets and to brief passengers on where to find a “garbage bag, in case they need to throw something away”. (Don’t, ever, under any circumstance tell a first time passenger they might get sick. Because they will)
I have unfortunately seen the after effect of a passenger that needed more than the single bag we had in there…
I keep a “trash bag” on my kneeboard at all times. If one of the pax is starting to feel unwell I give it to them. Saves much clean up and by the time they actually admit to not feeling well it is time for the bag.
Plus I get to look cool, calm and collected