Passenger Mistakes Exit Door for the Bathroom, Delays Flight 7 Hours

Saturday’s Pakistan International Airlines flight PK702 from Manchester, U.K. to Islamabad was delayed nearly 7 hours when a passenger wanted to go to the bathroom.

A woman seated towards the rear of the Boeing 777 thought the plane’s exit door was the lavatory. She opened the armed rear left door, deploying the emergency slide.


The aircraft had 393 passengers on board, 21 of which “had to be accommodated on other seats” and another 37 offloaded because “the airline was still allowed to operate the flight but had to reduce and reseat the passengers as the door wasn’t available anymore in case of a possible emergency evacuation.”

There has been a rash of similar incidents in China where there are a large number of first-time flyers. (It’s also common in China for passengers to create problems throwing coins into their plane’s engine for luck.)

For those unfamiliar you can generally use the lavatory when the seat belt sign is on provided you’re not on an active taxiway and provided the door you open actually is for the lavatory.

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. I’ve often thought how silly it was for the safety video to show us how to buckle and unbuckle a seat belt. I mean, doesn’t EVERYBODY know how to do this? Probably not. Maybe they should add how to find the bathroom and NOT the emergency exit in the safety video now too.

  2. I just don’t understand the coin and engine thing. It isn’t a water fountain. And what machinery would you throw coins in and expect no damage? That is just stupid.

  3. What was she doing trying to use a restroom while on taxi on an active runway??

    Flight crew …hello ???

  4. @Ric Keep in mind that Pakistan is a parallel universe where rules and customs make no sense to Westerners. There you can be convicted in court and sentenced to death for saying the wrong thing to another person. Most people living there will never set foot on an airplane in their entire life. First time flyers understand nothing about aircraft and for them a door is a door.

  5. @JDB: keep in mind the plane was on the ground in the United Kingdom during this incident, so you might want to rethink your comments

    Mentioning that because many Muricans have a poor sense of geography, just in case you didn’t know that Manchester is a city in the U.K.

  6. I fly to Europe quite a bit from Canada and some flights have a higher number of Pakistani/Indian people on them. They clearly have NO clue the etiquette/rules for flying or they just don’t care. 2 seconds after the seat belt sign is turned on the they make an announcement that we are going through turbulence they are up and walking around. I’ve seen them get up and start collecting their bags DURING taxi to the gate. Once we do get to the gate, they do not believe in personal space. They jump up in the aisle and push their way around.

    After a 10hr flight I have little patience and it takes everything in me to not snap on these inconsiderate people.

  7. I can see it now

    I have to use the bathroom!

    FWOOMP Emergency slide inflates

    Well on the bright side, I no longer have to use the bathroom; need to change my drawers though!

  8. I can see mistaking galley storage and such for the lavatory, but c’mon now…

    Oh well, at least after reading this, my complaints about passengers who don’t lock the lavatory doors (yes, I’ve walked in on a couple of them) seem rather trivial. Hey, at least they were able to FIND the lavatory.

  9. Definitely the funniest thing I have read today, and the comment thread even more so! Thanks Gary!

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