Southwest Airlines Pilot Climbed Through The Window After Passenger Locked Him Out Of Cockpit

A Southwest Airlines pilot of a Boeing 737 bound for Sacramento got locked out of the cockpit prior to departure on Thursday – and had to climb back in through the window – after a passenger shut the door.

Thanks to the reinforced cockpit door, it was the quickest way in. A customer had boarded the plane and, needing to use the restroom, closed the door to the cockpit in order to access the aircraft’s lavatory. The hijinks caused an 8 minute delay.

The story was initially reported on twitter as being the result of a passenger closing the cockpit door as the last one off the aircraft Wednesday evening. Generally crew are the last ones off the aircraft, not passengers.

According to Southwest Airlines,

During the boarding process, a Customer opened the forward lavatory door and inadvertently pushed the Flight Deck door closed (which locked) while the Pilots scheduled to operate the flight were preparing to board the aircraft. One of our Pilots unlocked the door from a Flight Deck window, and the flight departed as scheduled.

Last year a Delta pilot locked himself out of the cockpit of a Boeing 737 and had to go in through the window. This is one of the aircraft that lets you do that. It happened to an American Airlines pilot last year as well.

In 2019 a British Airways pilot posed video to social media of another pilot crawling through the window into the cockpit of a plane at London Heathrow though it turns out to have been a recycled older video. Regardless, the Southwest pilot was hardly the first one to have to do this.

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. So many thoughts, But let’s start here, That window can only be opened from inside the flight deck.

  2. M. Casey the FO’s window can be opened from the outside and is designed that way so rescue crews can get inside in case of an emergency when the crew may be incapacitated.

  3. So, if the airplane is in flight, and both pilots happen to be out of the cockpit (on autopilot) for whatever reasons, and the door accidentally locked due to turbulence, there is no way to get back in to save the plane? Have they ever thought about the possibility? That’s a scary scenario.

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