L1011
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DL Plane Lands With Passenger In Lav

Mon Dec 05, 2011 1:15 am

Today I was a passenger on a Delta 777, flight 16 from LAX to ATL. I was sitting in seat 50F. When we were on final approach to ATL, the elderly lady in seat 48F got up and walked to the right-hand lav in the center of the economy cabin. The flight attendant sitting in the jump seat told the lady to sit back down, but she went in the lav anyway. We touched down and slowed down quickly, then taxiied to gate T2. The lady was still in the lav. When the seat belt sign went off, the flight attendant got up and knocked on the door. The lady immediately came out, but had difficulty getting back to her seat because the aisles were crowded with people waiting to get off. People finally let her get by to get back to her seat. My question is: What is the proper procedure that should be followed in a situation like this? I expected that the captain would have executed a missed approach and gone around, but he didn't. I don't know whether the flight attendant notified him or not. I'm sure this is not the first time this has happened. Did they follow normal procedure?

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MD88Captain
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RE: DL Plane Lands With Passenger In Lav

Mon Dec 05, 2011 1:18 am

If the flight attendant notifies the Captain, he is probably going to go around. (Unless he determines it is more dangerous to go around than to land.)
 
BMI727
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RE: DL Plane Lands With Passenger In Lav

Mon Dec 05, 2011 1:20 am

Quoting L1011 (Thread starter):
My question is: What is the proper procedure that should be followed in a situation like this?

I would think that by the letter of the law, the plane should not land.

I was on a flight where we were waiting on a taxiway and another passenger really had to go. The FA relented and rang the cockpit telling them not to move until the passenger was back in his seat. I'm sure the JFK ground controllers loved that. Anyway, this situation isn't quite the same, but I think that technically, they should not have landed.
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Revelation
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RE: DL Plane Lands With Passenger In Lav

Mon Dec 05, 2011 1:29 am

Quoting L1011 (Thread starter):
My question is: What is the proper procedure that should be followed in a situation like this?

She should wash her hands after using the toilet.
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Zkpilot
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RE: DL Plane Lands With Passenger In Lav

Mon Dec 05, 2011 1:34 am

Quoting L1011 (Thread starter):
My question is: What is the proper procedure that should be followed in a situation like this? I expected that the captain would have executed a missed approach and gone around, but he didn't. I don't know whether the flight attendant notified him or not. I'm sure this is not the first time this has happened. Did they follow normal procedure?

Yes, there is what is known as a no contact period. This is in the final stages of the approach when the pilots are not to be distracted (helps to keep the landing safe). If passengers choose to ignore the safety warnings then they are putting themselves in danger (and other passengers around them). It is not up to crew to risk their own safety to stop a passenger hence the verbal instructions. In theory that passenger could have then been arrested for failing to follow a crew members instructions (under FAA/CAA/JAA etc etc law) but in reality a telling off is likely to be the worst that will happen to them unless there is a skymarshal type person onboard.
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davescj
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RE: DL Plane Lands With Passenger In Lav

Mon Dec 05, 2011 1:37 am

Strictly speaking, yes she could be arrested. But would a jury convict? That's another question.

But - in a broader sense - it can happen. I was trapped in a DC-9 front cabin lav (during boarding). As it turns out, because the door spring broke, I could not get out. The FAs could not open the door front the outside either.

It could have just as easily happened to someone mid-flight. I was just lucky that we were on the ground.

I guess all the FAs could do would be to tell the pax to hang onto the handrail provided.

Dave
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roseflyer
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RE: DL Plane Lands With Passenger In Lav

Mon Dec 05, 2011 1:38 am

Does DL have the flight attendants lock the lavatories during approach? I know one airline that specifically instigated that policy to prevent exactly this from happening since most passengers, especially the type of passengers who disobey the posted signs and instructions would not know how to unlock the lavatory.
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davescj
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RE: DL Plane Lands With Passenger In Lav

Mon Dec 05, 2011 1:42 am

Quoting RoseFlyer (Reply 6):
Does DL have the flight attendants lock the lavatories during approach?

FWIW, I have never seen them do this on mainline flights, but I have seen it on RJs.

Dave
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jetjack74
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RE: DL Plane Lands With Passenger In Lav

Mon Dec 05, 2011 1:45 am

Quoting RoseFlyer (Reply 6):
Does DL have the flight attendants lock the lavatories during approach? I know one airline that specifically instigated that policy to prevent exactly this from happening since most passengers, especially the type of passengers who disobey the posted signs and instructions would not know how to unlock the lavatory.

No, there is no locking of the lavs unless there is a maintenance issue, otherwise, they stay unlocked.

[Edited 2011-12-04 17:51:51]
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AirCanada787
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RE: DL Plane Lands With Passenger In Lav

Mon Dec 05, 2011 1:49 am

Quoting RoseFlyer (Reply 6):

Does DL have the flight attendants lock the lavatories during approach? I know one airline that specifically instigated that policy to prevent exactly this from happening since most passengers, especially the type of passengers who disobey the posted signs and instructions would not know how to unlock the lavatory.

I was going to ask that as well. I never noticed flight attendants locking lavatories before until this past year when I've had four trips on AC 777's. On descent the flight attendant would check the lav and then lock it, it appears that there is a small metal cover that can be flipped up and I assume a keyhole or switch under that to lock or unlock them. I don't know if they actually need a key or not. Maybe it is an optional feature or a new feature. Hopefully someone can tell us more since I'm not an FA and don't know myself but would be interested in knowing, not so I can unlock the lav and disobey the rules I'm just generally curious.
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Maverick623
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RE: DL Plane Lands With Passenger In Lav

Mon Dec 05, 2011 2:01 am

Quoting AirCanada787 (Reply 9):

I was going to ask that as well. I never noticed flight attendants locking lavatories before until this past year when I've had four trips on AC 777's. On descent the flight attendant would check the lav and then lock it, it appears that there is a small metal cover that can be flipped up and I assume a keyhole or switch under that to lock or unlock them. I don't know if they actually need a key or not. Maybe it is an optional feature or a new feature. Hopefully someone can tell us more since I'm not an FA and don't know myself but would be interested in knowing, not so I can unlock the lav and disobey the rules I'm just generally curious.

There's a switch under the sign. No key needed. This has been the case since as far back as I can remember, being a safety requirement in case someone passes out in the lavatory (a situation I have personally witnessed... unfortunately, the guy wound up falling on me as I opened the door. I was 7  Wow! ), or someone is doing something nefarious and you need to get in.
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roseflyer
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RE: DL Plane Lands With Passenger In Lav

Mon Dec 05, 2011 2:09 am

Quoting AirCanada787 (Reply 9):
On descent the flight attendant would check the lav and then lock it, it appears that there is a small metal cover that can be flipped up and I assume a keyhole or switch under that to lock or unlock them. I don't know if they actually need a key or not. Maybe it is an optional feature or a new feature. Hopefully someone can tell us more since I'm not an FA and don't know myself but would be interested in knowing, not so I can unlock the lav and disobey the rules I'm just generally curious.

Very simple. If you lift the metal plaque there is a simple lever. It's pretty easy to lock them if you know how.

At UA they lock the lavatory by the flight deck and stick a paper cup under the metal plaque so that the flight attendant unlocking them after the airplane is airborne know that they aren't unlocking the door on someone inside.
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fxramper
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RE: DL Plane Lands With Passenger In Lav

Mon Dec 05, 2011 2:20 am

Quoting davescj (Reply 5):
Strictly speaking, yes she could be arrested. But would a jury convict? That's another question.

no she couldnt and more importantly the AUSA would laugh in your face. the old bag needed to pee.
 
sac
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RE: DL Plane Lands With Passenger In Lav

Mon Dec 05, 2011 2:22 am

Quoting RoseFlyer (Reply 11):
At UA they lock the lavatory by the flight deck and stick a paper cup under the metal plaque so that the flight attendant unlocking them after the airplane is airborne know that they aren't unlocking the door on someone inside.

What page in the FOAM is that?
 
splitterz
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RE: DL Plane Lands With Passenger In Lav

Mon Dec 05, 2011 2:31 am

I have a solution. FAs lock all lavatories as part of there predeparture and landing sequences.
 
Jamake1
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RE: DL Plane Lands With Passenger In Lav

Mon Dec 05, 2011 2:46 am

United F/A's lock lavs before take-off and landing.
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dfambro
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RE: DL Plane Lands With Passenger In Lav

Mon Dec 05, 2011 2:55 am

Sometimes you just gotta go!
Truth be told, I was once in tha lav during landing. But that was the 90's and everything was a little looser back then.
 
JAGflyer
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RE: DL Plane Lands With Passenger In Lav

Mon Dec 05, 2011 3:09 am

I think a go-around for a passenger in the lav is a bit excessive. I've landed many times without my seatbelt fastened and am still alive. It's a safety procedure just like any other, however I would not be an advocate for go-around.
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qqflyboy
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RE: DL Plane Lands With Passenger In Lav

Mon Dec 05, 2011 3:22 am

IMO, as a flight attendant, it would be unlikely for a pilot to go-around simply because someone is in the lav. If the pilots were notified, they'd likely instruct the f/a to tell the pax to sit down in the lav, and stay there until notified it's safe to come out. As stated above, flight attendants are not there to physically restrict someone from using the lav, or even forcefully make them follow an FAR (unless security, not safety (to the individual), is at risk.) Even if the lavs were locked during takeoff and landing, most offenders would likely stand outside the lav anyway, waiting for it to become "open" despite repeated pleas from the crew to sit down. In the above incident on DL, it is very likely the situation was handled appropriately. You can't risk everyone's safety for the safety of an individual. Obviously if you're on the ground awaiting takeoff and the same thing happens, you have more control over when the plane actually takes off. But when coming into land there is far less time to deal with someone relieving themselves, and far more important safety issues to be focused on.
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seven3seven
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RE: DL Plane Lands With Passenger In Lav

Mon Dec 05, 2011 3:24 am

As a pilot, I dont want the flight attendants calling me below 10K feet unless its an emergency.

This was not an emergency
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flybynight
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RE: DL Plane Lands With Passenger In Lav

Mon Dec 05, 2011 4:46 am

Agreed. No reason to waste fuel, etc on something minor like this.

Having said that, if it wasn't an old lady it could be something to worry about I guess.

AS, by the way, locks their restrooms on approach. It is of course very easy to unlock them if for some reason you wanted to.
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Jackbr
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RE: DL Plane Lands With Passenger In Lav

Mon Dec 05, 2011 4:51 am

Qantas locks them, I think Virgin Australia does too
 
roseflyer
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RE: DL Plane Lands With Passenger In Lav

Mon Dec 05, 2011 4:59 am

Quoting sac (Reply 13):

What page in the FOAM is that?

No idea where the trend came from, but it spread in the SFO and SEA bases.
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quiet1
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RE: DL Plane Lands With Passenger In Lav

Mon Dec 05, 2011 6:13 am

I'm surprised it's not an FAR that the lavs be locked before takeoff and landing. I thought the procedure was instituted many years ago after a crash/evacuation (IIRC, an EA flight?) where a passenger's (dead) body was found in a lav during the post-evac investigation. Sorry to be fuzzy with details, but that's the story as I recall it. Urban legend?

Regarding the UA cup-under-the hinged metal latch cover, that is a crewmember choice, not policy. Many crew do that, or similar (like a scrap of serviette or other paper), but it's not required.
 
MCO2BRS
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RE: DL Plane Lands With Passenger In Lav

Mon Dec 05, 2011 6:39 am

At FR, we lock the toilets when we're given '10 minutes to landing'. Once we're told to take our seats by the flight deck, we can't leave our seats unless it is an absolute emergency - the same applies for calling the flight deck.

Cheers,

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planejamie
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RE: DL Plane Lands With Passenger In Lav

Mon Dec 05, 2011 8:15 am

At BA and BD I've seen them lock the lavatories on take-off/landing. Normally as the crew are asked to be seated before landing, they flip up the metal plate and lock it from the outside. They also check if anyone is in there first.

I think it's a good idea, you never know who might go in there and what might be going on when you can't see it properly.

Quoting seven3seven (Reply 19):
As a pilot, I dont want the flight attendants calling me below 10K feet unless its an emergency.

This was not an emergency

I agree, if I was a pilot, I wouldn't want bothering at that stage, too many radio communications, configuring the aircraft etc.
 
bennett123
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RE: DL Plane Lands With Passenger In Lav

Mon Dec 05, 2011 8:16 am

IMO, it is a good idea to lock it.

If the passenger then unlocks it and gets hurt, then that would not help them if it went to court.
 
barney captain
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RE: DL Plane Lands With Passenger In Lav

Mon Dec 05, 2011 8:59 am

One thing we do as pilots is risk assessment. IMO, going around would have created more risks for everyone on-board as compared to the small risk for one person in the lav on a normal landing. Go around? No way. Land? Absolutely.
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redhair
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RE: DL Plane Lands With Passenger In Lav

Mon Dec 05, 2011 9:02 am

Quoting planejamie (Reply 25):
At BA and BD I've seen them lock the lavatories on take-off/landing. Normally as the crew are asked to be seated before landing, they flip up the metal plate and lock it from the outside. They also check if anyone is in there first.

I think it's a good idea, you never know who might go in there and what might be going on when you can't see it properly.

I think it is pretty common in Europe...
 
CRJ900
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RE: DL Plane Lands With Passenger In Lav

Mon Dec 05, 2011 9:44 am

Our operating manual requires us to lock all lavatories before takeoff and before landing.

Sometimes pax come running down the aisle just before landing, needing to use the lav. We tell them to sit down on the first free aisle seat and wait until the aircraft is parked, or at least until we taxi at slow speed.

If someone disobeys the rule and go in anyway, we'll tell them to hold on to the handrail and we'll land. It's their own fault if they injure themselves, we are not to leave our jumpseat during final descent - our safety comes first in this case.
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srbmod
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RE: DL Plane Lands With Passenger In Lav

Mon Dec 05, 2011 9:46 am

Last year on a flight into LAS, we hit some rough air (as usual) on approach into LAS and one passenger got air sick and ran to one of the rear lavs. The F/As are yelling for her to take her seat, but they couldn't get up since they were already seated and buckled in for landing. I think in that case, the passengers definitely would not have liked her getting sick in the aisle.....
 
astuteman
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RE: DL Plane Lands With Passenger In Lav

Mon Dec 05, 2011 9:59 am

Quoting dfambro (Reply 16):
Truth be told, I was once in tha lav during landing. But that was the 90's and everything was a little looser back then

Too much information methinks......  

Rgds
 
rising
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RE: DL Plane Lands With Passenger In Lav

Mon Dec 05, 2011 10:06 am

People get up and use the lav all the time when the seat belt sign is on- even during turbulence. Are they going to have them arrested too? Get real. I heard one FA tell a passenger they have to tell you take your seat, but they are not going to stop you from using the restroom. Now, during critical times like the take-off roll or final approach, that is one thing. But to make a quick run 15min before landing or shortly after takeoff in most cases is not going to jeopardize the saftey of the aircraft. Let's not make this more dramatic than it has to be. The poor woman had to go. It's not like she was banging on the cockpit door.

I would love to see the PR from a major airline prosecuting a little old lady for using the restroom...
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tonystan
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RE: DL Plane Lands With Passenger In Lav

Mon Dec 05, 2011 10:21 am

Quoting planejamie (Reply 25):
At BA and BD I've seen them lock the lavatories on take-off/landing. Normally as the crew are asked to be seated before landing, they flip up the metal plate and lock it from the outside. They also check if anyone is in there first.

Well its definately NOT a BA policy. However I know EI do it!
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DAL763ER
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RE: DL Plane Lands With Passenger In Lav

Mon Dec 05, 2011 10:59 am

Quoting BMI727 (Reply 2):
I would think that by the letter of the law, the plane should not land.

Why??? Just because a person is in the lav? Why annoy 200 other people and delay the flight for 15 minutes because someone is in the toilet?
 
TupolevTu154
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RE: DL Plane Lands With Passenger In Lav

Mon Dec 05, 2011 11:06 am

We lock the both lavs before landing too, just before we take our landing positions. If anything, it's a deterrent. If a passenger is sat down needing the loo on final approach, they'll see they're locked and won't bother. Makes sense! It avoids things like this happening in the first place.

I imagine DL would be in bigger trouble if they'd refused to let her use the loo. There'd be headlines all over the net about how DL refuses to let old woman use the lav, probably followed by lawsuits.

I did 2 flights with DL in January and both of them (one transatlantic) had the seat belt signs on the entire flight. I asked one of the FA's why they don't tell people to sit down, she replied "They can see the seat belt signs are on, and we've told them once. If they choose to ignore that, well..!"
 
ozark1
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RE: DL Plane Lands With Passenger In Lav

Mon Dec 05, 2011 11:13 am

It's not an emergency. I would have broken sterile cockpit, informed the pilots that a woman was in the lavatory, and then it would have been up to them as to what to do. Which, most likely, would have been to make a normal landing, and then call us to get an update. It's just like the policy we have of informing them if someone refuses to turn off their electronic device. We aren't the bathroom police. Heck I can remember on the 747's back in 1978 there was a row of lavs on either side in the very back of the airplane. There was a jumpseat at the very back behind them. After landing, the 74 would fishtail some and I can recall several people falling out as the doors swung open.
 
5MillionMiler
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RE: DL Plane Lands With Passenger In Lav

Mon Dec 05, 2011 11:20 am

Was coming into MEL on a 767 last week and a woman from a big tour group from another country got up out of her seat on final and just casually started walking to the lav... fortunately the FAs and other passengers verbally coached her back to her seat quickly. I was amazed at how stupid some passengers can be. She did not look like she had a clue what was happening.

Am used to people standing up after the plane lands in Moscow and the plane having to stop until everyone get seats, but never seen a stroll on finals before. Do that in the US and you'll get tasered LOL!
 
raffik
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RE: DL Plane Lands With Passenger In Lav

Mon Dec 05, 2011 11:55 am

Coming back from Beirut in October we were coming into land at Heathrow and an elderly man strolled casually down to the back of the aircraft when the seatbelt signs were on and into the toilet, walking past a seated flight attendant who did nothing to stop him. We landed whilst this guy was in the lavatory. Upon exiting the aircraft I said to the flight attendants that I was very unhappy with the fact that they let people walk around when the seat belt signs were on, people were milling about during the safety instructions and the flight attendants were standing when the aircraft entered the runway at Beirut for take off. Very unprofessional. It happens.
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musang
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RE: DL Plane Lands With Passenger In Lav

Mon Dec 05, 2011 12:42 pm

Quoting TupolevTu154 (Reply 35):
"They can see the seat belt signs are on, and we've told them once. If they choose to ignore that, well..!"

Agreed. The crew can only do so much. They give the safety briefings and their ars£$ are covered. If I were cabin crew I'd take the view that if a customer chose to disregard safety recommendations thats their lookout, and I'd be primarily concerned about the risk to other customers from an disobedient unsecured body flying around in turbulence or a heavy landing. If one's in the crapper, they're effectively restrained and are not going to be any risk to anyone else.

regards - musang
 
idlewildchild
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RE: DL Plane Lands With Passenger In Lav

Mon Dec 05, 2011 1:05 pm

This reminds me of a 9/78 L1011 TWA LHR-JFK flight I took. The Captain or FO never advised the crew how close we were to landing. We landed and crew were in the galley. When we came to a stop on 22L a couple of them came out of the Galley and said to each other, "You have got to be kidding me, what's wrong with him?" They laughed and that was that. I always wondered what they said to the cockpit crew. There were no FAs at the doors as we landed.
 
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RE: DL Plane Lands With Passenger In Lav

Mon Dec 05, 2011 1:23 pm

Quoting L1011 (Thread starter):
What is the proper procedure that should be followed in a situation like this? I expected that the captain would have executed a missed approach and gone around, but he didn't.

No no no... A missed approach would not be appropriate because it affects the whole flight and limits endurance. There was nothing wrong with the plane but I suspect the captain never learnt about this before landing. A go around is to be executed when there is something wrong with the approach, plane etc. This lady should have stayed in her seat but now she didnt but there was probably no threat to the safety of the plane only perhaps to her in case of emergency...
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lucce
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RE: DL Plane Lands With Passenger In Lav

Mon Dec 05, 2011 1:29 pm

Quoting planejamie (Reply 25):

At BA and BD I've seen them lock the lavatories on take-off/landing. Normally as the crew are asked to be seated before landing, they flip up the metal plate and lock it from the outside. They also check if anyone is in there first.

I've seen pretty much the opposite on BA 757 (when they still had them): the cabin crew actually locked to door open. There was a little latch in the upper rail in the fold type lavatory door that he turned so that to door stayed open for the landing.

AY also locks their door for take off, landing and turbulence. But I've seen on numerous occasions when a passenger stood up during turbulence that cabin crew stood up to seat the passenger. I know it's different a situation but their rules state that the crew aren't allowed to get up during turbulence either if it's not safety related. One lady looked very irritated when she had to get six times in a row to seat passengers during the same stint of turbulence.
 
capitol8s
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RE: DL Plane Lands With Passenger In Lav

Mon Dec 05, 2011 1:42 pm

"Prepare for departure, crosscheck, lock all interior doors".... I heard this announced on a United flight a while back.. So I guess UAL still has a policy where the lav doors are locked at pushback,.
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DashTrash
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RE: DL Plane Lands With Passenger In Lav

Mon Dec 05, 2011 1:42 pm

I've landed with a passenger in the lav. It comes down to risk management and assignment.

If I go around with a passenger in the lav, I expose the entire airplane to additional risk. If I land, I expose the peeing passenger to additional risk.

I've seen lavs get locked for takeoff and landing, and with some overzealous FA's locked when the seatbelt sign is on. My attitude about it is if you gotta go, you gotta go. I found myself having to jump up once sitting in line at LGA. Rather embarrassing, but the golden rule applies. Better than fouling a seat.
 
davescj
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RE: DL Plane Lands With Passenger In Lav

Mon Dec 05, 2011 1:43 pm

Quoting Rising (Reply 32):
People get up and use the lav all the time when the seat belt sign is on- even during turbulence. Are they going to have them arrested too? Get real. I heard one FA tell a passenger they have to tell you take your seat, but they are not going to stop you from using the restroom.

While nothing is likely to happen, in the strict sense the requirement is to comply with lighted signs and crew instructions.

That said...

I think many US airlines shoot themselves in the foot on this matter. They don't' enforce the rule in any real sense once above 10K (in my experience).

IME, on the other hand, BA rarely turns on the seatbelt light (even in turbulence) but then are strict about the last 20 or so min and very strict when the light is on (which is usually a very short time).

Quoting idlewildchild (Reply 40):
The Captain or FO never advised the crew how close we were to landing. We landed and crew were in the galley.

A few years ago I saw something similar in the US. The FAs were finishing the pre-dep. bev. service. They weren't expecting a fast taxi I guess. Because suddenly the the PA announcement was for the crew to take their seat we were taking off. The FAs were literally moving to the jump seat and buckling in as we accelerated down the runway.

Dave
Can I have a mojito on this flight?
 
airproxx
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RE: DL Plane Lands With Passenger In Lav

Mon Dec 05, 2011 2:32 pm

Quoting BMI727 (Reply 2):
I would think that by the letter of the law, the plane should not land.

You don't perform a go around, especially in a very busy aera like ATL, simply because of a pax stranded in the lav..
Let's stay logical.
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airproxx
Posts: 406
Joined: Sat Jun 21, 2008 7:07 pm

RE: DL Plane Lands With Passenger In Lav

Mon Dec 05, 2011 2:35 pm

Quoting ozark1 (Reply 36):
It's not an emergency. I would have broken sterile cockpit, informed the pilots that a woman was in the lavatory, and then it would have been up to them as to what to do. Which, most likely, would have been to make a normal landing, and then call us to get an update.

  
Yep, makes sense. And THIS is safety. End of story.
If you can meet with triumph and disaster, and treat those two impostors just the same
 
BC77008
Posts: 342
Joined: Tue Sep 06, 2011 11:48 pm

RE: DL Plane Lands With Passenger In Lav

Mon Dec 05, 2011 3:13 pm

Here is why the crew says anything to begin with... yes it really is for your safety:

http://www.gadling.com/2009/04/21/wo...lence-on-continental-airlines-fli/

A woman was paralyzed in the lavatory because she needed to use it while the fasten seat belt sign was on.
"He waited his whole damn life to take that flight. And as the plane crashed down he thought 'Well isn't this nice...'"
 
User avatar
Zkpilot
Posts: 3679
Joined: Wed Mar 08, 2006 8:21 pm

RE: DL Plane Lands With Passenger In Lav

Mon Dec 05, 2011 4:12 pm

Quoting Rising (Reply 32):
I would love to see the PR from a major airline prosecuting a little old lady for using the restroom...

It wouldn't be the airline, it would be the FAA (if they chose to do it)
56 types. 38 countries. 24 airlines.

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