Delta Flight To London Without Water, Crew Dump Bottles Down The Toilet Every 20 Minutes

Attorney Jordan Acker, a trustee of the University of Michigan, took to social media to complain about his Detroit – London Heathrow flight on Delta. But it wasn’t one of the usual complaints – delays, long telephone hold times, lost or damaged bags – the seven and a half hour Airbus A330 flight, he said, lacked water.

According to crew on the aircraft, water had been an ongoing issue with the aircraft, though Delta did not confirm this.

According to an airline spokesperson,

We are aware of and are investigating this report which would fall far short of the experience we know our customers expect and deserve when traveling with Delta.

Airlines are faced with a tough choice when a non-safety item fails: do they cancel the flight, and inconvenience everyone, or fly without basic services but not compromising safety?

It seems the right choice here, if a maintenance delay alone won’t fix things, would be to offer customers a choice between flying without access to tank water (and compensating them, because they didn’t receive the product they purchased.. which includes access to a lav) or rebook, treating it as an involuntary denied boarding for compensation purposes. Ingenious solution by the crew though, hopefully there were enough bottles on board to keep passengers hydrates in addition to supplying the toilet.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. @ Tim Dunn

    “…it is equally as hard to believe that Gary either is incapable or unwilling to do even the most basic verification process and thinking through the same process that has played out here…”

    Yes. The same thought had occurred to me. It could be the case he’s competent to do so, but prefers to stir the pot, unconcerned whether or not claims are evidenced, reasoned, or supportable, and unperturbed by the accuracy his own articles. Volume trumps quality (pun intended). Hit rates supplant reasoned narrative. His website, his choice. Our choice to fall for the bait or not…;)

  2. To “Maxpower”, as I am an airline pilot instructor with well over 18,000 hours of teaching transport category aircraft, I am well aware of dispatch requirements for international and domestic flights. I TEACH IT! Apparently…YOU DO NOT! Whether American, Delta, United, JetBlue (all international carriers) or Southwest, Spirit, Frontier, Alaska, etc. (all domestic carriers), there are specific rules that all of the carriers must adhere to. Yes, apparently the Delta aircraft in question had water issues but it was NOT sufficient to ground the flight. I find it hard to believe that a major carrier like Delta would allow this to continue for a week as they have major maintenance facilities at Detroit. As to the exact problems the aircraft experienced, that will be up to that airline to decide whether to release that information. Because the A330 is an ETOPS certified aircraft, it must undergo a rigid inspection prior to any flight that takes it to the edge of its certified single engine limit and within range of a “suitable” airport. Apparently, the water system malfunction was minor enough (although I’ll agree…very inconvenient…yes!) not to stop the flight. The airline is NOT required to report this issue as the malfunction did not meet FAA requirements for reporting. We may never know the actual issue. Why I am responding to your ignorant comment to me…I guess I am nuts but at least I’m educated regarding the issues. In the words of William Shakespeare, “…much ado about nothing.”

  3. Win Whitmire – you quoted comment notwithstanding, I believe that to the passengers, it was not “about nothing” – and like I said before, profits before responsibility to ensure that the passengers had a fit aircraft to be flown on – having functioning toilets and potable water are expected, bare necessities for ALL aircraft.

  4. Win Whitmire no one cares what you instruct in or how long you have been instructing. What people DO CARE ABOUT on a long international flight is having water and a sanitary place to relieve themselves.

    You must be a lot of fun at parties….. telling people they don’t need water or a pot to piss in.

  5. Win,
    if Delta operated an aircraft for a week without water, there would be far more than one person commenting about it on social media.

    Even the Washington Post challenged Biden for quoting an alleged story about a pregnant 10 year old that was raped in Ohio and supposedly had to go to Indiana for an abortion.

    There is no corroborating evidence to support the story and even WaPo says single source statements should not be repeated as the truth.

    The exact same principle applies to the assertion that any airline DISPATCHED an aircraft without water or lavs on a transatlantic flight, let alone for a week.

  6. Mr. Dunn, really? Did you have to drag the 10 year old Ohio victim into this? Many websites are reporting today on the Ohio governor apologizing (but not really, of course, he made it all about him) for putting her through this. You think maybe his people verified this? Choose to believe what you want but please display the usual class you exhibit in the comments.

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