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Woman Trapped in Bathroom Forces Flight to Make an Emergency Landing

Woman Trapped in Bathroom Forces Flight to Make an Emergency Landing
Jennifer Billock

Airplane lavatories aren’t just small, they’re claustrophobia-inducing. So imagine getting stuck in one mid-flight because of a malfunctioning door. That’s just what happened to a passenger on a recent United Airlines flight, causing the plane to be diverted for an emergency landing.

As if having to use the bathroom on an airplane wasn’t already your worst nightmare, imagine getting stuck in one because the door won’t open. That’s just what happened to a female passenger who got stuck in the lavatory on a United Airlines flight on Wednesday. The flight was en-route to San Francisco to Washington DC and had to divert to Denver for an emergency landing to help free the woman.

“The lavatory door became inoperative,” a statement from United said, reported by CNN Travel. Once in Denver, though, “the passenger was safely removed from the lavatory after landing, and customers have since continued on to their destination on a new aircraft,” the statement said.

A video of the incident was posted on Twitter, where you can hear maintenance workers trying to keep the trapped passenger calm.

“We’re just working on opening up the door at the moment, ma’am. We’ll get you out soon, OK?” they can be heard saying in the video, reported by CNN Travel.

The delay ended up costing passengers about two hours.

“We are reaching out to all customers onboard and the customer in the lavatory to apologize,” the statement said—though it didn’t note whether or not the woman that was trapped will receive some sort of compensation.

View Comments (6)


  1. chavala

    September 27, 2019 at 7:58 am

    compensation? She should receive free flights for life! What if she was injured during landing?

  2. Monsoon1

    September 27, 2019 at 11:06 am

    Who really cares! The female percentage is so low because females don’t want to become pilots. Sheesh, I’m tired of reading this kinda crap

  3. J S

    September 27, 2019 at 11:26 am

    It is great to hear that UA now has premium seats with doors. Unlike the competition, UA even provides a private toilet.

  4. Bear4Asian

    September 28, 2019 at 9:18 am

    Re this click bait title: The woman did NOT “force the flight to make an emergency landing” the malfunctioning bathroom door did. She didn’t force the door to malfunction.

  5. sdsearch

    September 28, 2019 at 10:23 am

    Sheesh, I’m tired of people posting in the wrong articles, probably confused because now FT makes all the articles scroll, making it too easy to accidentally post in the wrong article. Monsoon1 above posted in the “woman trapped in bathroom” article, not the “where are the female pilots” article, but is commenting on the latter!

    I never saw many posts in the wrong article until this scrolling of multiple articles started, and since then I see it all too often.

  6. skidooman

    October 4, 2019 at 8:51 am

    Well, it becomes a safety issue. 3.5 hours trapped in a toilet? Certainly not ideal. Maybe not immediately dangerous, but still, 3.5 hours, it is a long time.

    It was the right call to divert.

    Of course, United may want to spend more time fixing planes. One of the 757s I was on recently had two broken seats in J, in PS no less. Plane looked old and ready for retirement. Perhaps execs need to pay a bit more attention here.

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