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Why did crew lock and then re-open lav multiple times during flight?

Why did crew lock and then re-open lav multiple times during flight?

Old Aug 19, 19, 10:46 am
  #1  
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Why did crew lock and then re-open lav multiple times during flight?

I flew MEL-LAX recently and the FA's kept doing something with the lav door that I have not seen before and I wanted to tap into the experience of the FT community and ask for ideas.

First off, service was pretty poor for the entire flight. I must have had the geriatric FA crew on this flight which isn't necessarily a bad thing but service was so SLOW. No PDB, FA's asking passengers to help open cans and booze mini-bottles because you lack the strength? Lunch took forever to serve and pick up, no refreshing of drinks for those already with meals because they were still serving the rest of the cabin, etc. Just poor IMO.

Throughout the 14 hour flight, various members of the crew would lock the lav from outside and stuff paper towels in the door handle for 30-60 minutes and then re-open it for use. This carried on the entire flight. The first time it happened, I assumed the lav had malfunctioned but then they re-opened it and people were in and out.



Any ideas as to what they were doing?

Last edited by WineCountryUA; Aug 19, 19 at 11:38 am Reason: Please create thread titles that are specific and descriptive
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Old Aug 19, 19, 11:22 am
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On the geriatric crew: I really don't care if they ask for help with luggage/cans/bottles. If really they can't, then I am happy to help out. We will all be old one day, and there is something chivalrous to help those physically a bit weaker than yourself, even if these folks are paid to help you.

And, the thing is I can't say that age has anything to do with the quality of service either. Sure, having a nice young face in front of you is, shall we say, stimulating for the senses, but I saw old FAs deliver stellar service and young ones deliver dismal service. And I honestly cannot say I can see a pattern vs age.

As for your question, I wonder if there might have been a spill of some kind in that bathroom. Perhaps from a sick traveler. Based on your description I doubt it is a case of candidates to the Mile High Club.
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Old Aug 19, 19, 11:40 am
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Was this during meal or beverage service? Attempting to minimize blocking traffic?
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Old Aug 19, 19, 11:45 am
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Originally Posted by limey1K View Post
Throughout the 14 hour flight, various members of the crew would lock the lav from outside and stuff paper towels in the door handle for 30-60 minutes and then re-open it for use.
I see this often on INTL flights and usually its done to "reserve" the lav for another crew member, usually from the flight deck. I think the paper is used as a signal to show the lav is unoccupied.
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Old Aug 19, 19, 11:49 am
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It occurred at least four times during flight, one may have been during meal service.

I donít believe it had anything to do with a lav issue as it was used many times during the flight. I paid a visit myself and everything was in working order.
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Old Aug 19, 19, 12:15 pm
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I've seen some crew on flights try to reserve one of the premium cabin lavatories exclusively for crew use during the flight. It shouldn't happen, but it does and should be reported if passengers/customers were unable to use that lavatory for much of the time.
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Old Aug 19, 19, 12:30 pm
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Originally Posted by MSPeconomist View Post
I've seen some crew on flights try to reserve one of the premium cabin lavatories exclusively for crew use during the flight. It shouldn't happen, but it does and should be reported if passengers/customers were unable to use that lavatory for much of the time.
thatís the strange part for me. They locked it and then left it locked. Nobody went in, including crew
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Old Aug 19, 19, 12:35 pm
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Originally Posted by limey1K View Post

thatís the strange part for me. They locked it and then left it locked. Nobody went in, including crew
Perhaps the FAs were trying to keep some lavs cleaner, without actually cleaning them?
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Old Aug 19, 19, 12:49 pm
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I have seen this a lot with the front lav on a 787. Sometimes closed for hours once closed the entire DEN-FRA flight.
I wrote it off to bad attitude excons, but maybe it has to do with noise and the crewrest quarters?
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Old Aug 19, 19, 12:54 pm
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ZRH to IAD on 8/15 the front right lav was locked multiple times as well. I saw both the flight attendants and the pilots do this. I'd say it was locked about ~60% of the flight ( in different increments). Also the first time I've noticed this.

Last edited by SkiPremier; Aug 19, 19 at 12:54 pm Reason: spelling
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Old Aug 19, 19, 1:01 pm
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Originally Posted by Plane-is-home View Post
... but maybe it has to do with noise and the crewrest quarters?
That would be my guess, too (but not an expert).
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Old Aug 19, 19, 1:27 pm
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The lav is locked so we (pilots) donít have to wait for the bathroom to become available. Purpose is to reduce the time where only one pilot is at the controls on international flights. We try our best to sequence the bathroom breaks all at once during crew rest swaps to limit the inconvenience to the passengers.

We put the napkin there so we donít accidentally open a locked lavatory with someone in it.

Hope this helps explain why we do what we do...

Last edited by clubord; Aug 19, 19 at 1:44 pm
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Old Aug 19, 19, 1:30 pm
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Last week a standby FA sat next to me and we had a good chat, she mentioned they usually lock a lav for crew during shifting.
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Old Aug 19, 19, 2:28 pm
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Originally Posted by clubord View Post
The lav is locked so we (pilots) donít have to wait for the bathroom to become available. Purpose is to reduce the time where only one pilot is at the controls on international flights. We try our best to sequence the bathroom breaks all at once during crew rest swaps to limit the inconvenience to the passengers.

We put the napkin there so we donít accidentally open a locked lavatory with someone in it.

Hope this helps explain why we do what we do...
Thank you for the answer! Do you know if a better solution that stuffing a napkin in the door has been considered?
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Old Aug 19, 19, 2:39 pm
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Originally Posted by limey1K View Post
Thank you for the answer! Do you know if a better solution that stuffing a napkin in the door has been considered?
Like what, a sock on the door handle?
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