United Diverts to Rescue a Passenger Stuck in Lavatory

Most people don’t realize that they’re allowed to use the lavatory even when a flight attendant says not to. Although a coach passenger once got arrested for using the business class lavatory.

You’re supposed to be at your seat for takeoff and landing of course, and there’s no seat belt in the lavatory. However on Wednesday’s United Airlines UA1554 non-stop from Washington National to San Francisco, the flight had to divert to Denver when a passenger got stuck in the lavatory.

Apparently it wasn’t because of the extra small lavs they’ve been putting in coach, but because the door got stuck in locked position and no one could open it. The passenger had to sit on the throne for landing, and United mechanics were sent in for a rescue.

According to United,

Flight 1554 from Washington D.C. to San Francisco diverted to Denver to assist a customer who was in the lavatory when the lavatory door became inoperative. The passenger was safely removed from the lavatory after landing, and customers have since continued on to their destination on a new aircraft.

Given the 30 inch pitch and hard seats on United Boeing 737-800s, I actually think the passenger would have had more personal space in the lavatory and they probably should have flown on to San Francisco rather than making everyone else on the aircraft 2.5 hours late. The rest of the up to 165 other passengers could have split use of the other two lavatories the rest of the journey.

Last year American Airlines had to cancel a flight when a passenger gut stuck in the lavatory. American also once diverted to Denver over a lavatory issue though that was so customers could use the bathroom, rather than a customer getting stuck in one.

This doesn’t compare though to the flight last year that had to turn around due to clogged toilets, even though over 60 plumbers were on board.

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 InsideFlyer.com, 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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