Four Inches Of Lavatory Water Floods Aisle, Forces Alaska Airlines Flight Back To Paradise

The lavatory of an Alaska Airlines Boeing 737 MAX 9 from Honolulu to Anchorage flooded the aisle with up to 4 inches of water on Saturday, forcing the aircraft to turn around.

Flight attendants can be seen on video trying to sop up the water using paper towels. It was a losing battle against what the airline later called a sink overflow.

According to a passenger on board,

There was probably two to four inches of standing water that swooshed out as soon as you opened that front door of the lavatory. I would say an hour and a half into the flight is when we noticed the water and it was significant. The entire floorboards of that airplane [were] completely wet.

The flight departed after 10 p.m. Friday night, and was in the air for just over two and a quarter hours before touching back down in Honolulu around 12:30 a.m. local time. The flight was cancelled and passengers were rebooked.

According to Alaska Airlines, “We apologize to our guests for the inconvenience this caused and commend the crew for their actions to ensure the well-being and comfort of our guests.”

Some are calling the incident a “Boeing nightmare” since it occurred on a Boeing 737 MAX 9 aircraft but it was a… clogged sink. Come on, people.

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 »

More articles by Gary Leff »


  1. @high class professional, I think the point is that it wasn’t Boeing’s fault. If anything it is a fellow passenger / Alaska maintenance.

  2. What’s up with all these toilets and sinks suddenly exploding? Did someone upset the airplane god? lol.

  3. Why are there not drains in the bathrooms? It’s not like the passenger compartment is anything like airtight, putting a **small** hose from the bathroom floor to under the airplane would not be a problem.

  4. All the lavs have signs that say not to put “feminine products” and other solid objects in the pot. But people are people, and people do it. The signs will not change human nature. So, what is it about these objects that is so difficult that an engineering team can’t figure out how to handle what everyone knows will happen? After all, the Japanese make a toilet that washes, rinses, and dries your butt, but it seems American aeronautical engineers can’t make one that filters “feminine products.”

    Ah, yes, that’s the answer: don’t allow women to fly.

  5. I’d be concerned about water in the cabin, especially betweem Honolulu and Alaska.

  6. Most aircraft have vacuum toilets installed. No water in these. Article said it was a clogged sink that backed up and overflowed. Probably caused by a passenger that left some paper towels in the sink. As an aircraft mechanic with almost 60 years experience you would not believe the items that people put in toilets (wine bottles, Kotex, crap filled underwear) and everywhere else on the airplane. Use the trash receptacles and the flight attendants bags that they walk around with gathering trash throughout the flight.

  7. The aircraft sink drain does not produce water. It drains water. The problem had to be that the hot or cold water would not shut off in the sink. Under the sink, there is a shut off valve and the crew should be well-versed on how to shut this potable water off. It’s not the first time this is happened. I am a retired mechanic, and when I was working for U S Air, was on a flight to Germany, and had to find this water shut off valve. It’s a very big problem if the water gets into the controls in the tail. Also, there is only so much potable water on the aircraft to run all the lavs and you can’t make it from Honolulu to the states with no lav service.

Comments are closed.