Passenger pans airline after toilet ordeal

This story has long been regarded as apocryphal in aviation folk-lore. But it really happened! I found this on the BBC News web site:

A plane passenger is giving bottom marks to an airline - after getting sealed to a toilet seat for more than two hours during a trans-Atlantic flight. 
The American woman used the toilet, but pushed the flush button before standing up. 

To her horror, she realised that the powerful vacuum action had got her in its grip. 

Her body was sealed to the seat so firmly that it took airport technicians to free her. 

The Boeing 767, belonging to the Scandinavian airline SAS, was flying to New York when the drama began. 

After realising she was stuck, the woman raised the alarm - but cabin crew were unable to free her. 

When the flight landed in New York, the cabin crew had to summon ground staff to help. 

The passenger, whose name has not been revealed, made a formal complaint to SAS about the incident, which happened in 2001. 

Aeroplane toilets are usually monitored for smokers - not stranded passengers

An SAS spokeswoman confirmed that the woman would be compensated for her in-flight ordeal. 

"She was stuck there for quite a long time," said a spokeswoman. 

"She could not get up by herself and had to sit on the toilet until the flight had landed so that ground technicians could help her get loose." 

Cabin crews are generally on the look-out for passengers who remain locked in plane toilets, in case they are smoking or engaging in other forbidden activities. 

It is rare for a passenger to remain in a toilet against his or her will. 


BBC News item. Tuesday, 22 January, 2002, 11:20 GMT 


Last updated: 16 February, 2003 20:03