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American Denies Report that Crew Locked Passenger in Lavatory

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After becoming ill on an American Airlines flight, a woman was allegedly forced by flight crew to remain in the lavatory for the remainder of the trip. Airline officials, however, say the woman asked to be allowed to remain in the restroom.

American Airlines officials told the Houston Chronicle that flight attendants reacted appropriately when a passenger became violently ill during an October 16 flight en route from Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport (DFW) to O’ Hare International Airport (ORD).

“This was just a sick passenger, and we took care of her,” said American spokeswoman Michelle Mohr. “Our crew did the right thing.”

At least one passenger aboard last Thursday’s American Eagle Flight 2325, however, believes the crew’s actions were an example of the hysteria stemming from Ebola fears.

“The flight attendants, I think, overreacted completely. It was just crazy,” Martha Selby, a professor at the University of Texas, told the Chronicle. “They told her to stay in the bathroom, and she stayed in the bathroom.”

According to Selby, the ill woman vomited in the aisle and on a crew member as she made her way to the lavatory. Once the woman was inside, Selby claims the flight attendants sectioned off the lavatories and told the sick woman, “We can’t let you out.”

American has since denied that the culture of fear surrounding recent high-profile Ebola infections in the U.S. had any bearing on how its crew handled the situation. Mohr told the Chronicle that the area was blocked off because it was covered with vomit, not because of any Ebola concerns.

“There were no concerns related to Ebola,” Mohr insisted. “Our crew saw a very sick woman that probably had food poisoning or something. She was so sick that she asked to remain in the lavatory for the duration of the flight.”

[Photo: iStock]

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diburning October 21, 2014

But there aren't any seat belts in the lavatory. If she really "asked to remain in the lavatory for the duration of the flight,” wouldn't that violate FAA rules if granted?