Pilots Locking Lavatory Door In Polaris

Old Mar 3, 2024, 8:27 am
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I've had at least one flight where the Polaris lav was blocked off for the pilots for a long time during the flight so it just went unused. Have no problem blocking aisles and lavs when the pilots are going to use the lav, but to just keep one blocked off for most, if not all of the flight is a little frustrating.
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Old Mar 3, 2024, 8:30 am
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Iíve come to accept that the flights are actually for the convenience of the United employees.

Last edited by Roger Lococco; Mar 3, 2024 at 8:49 am
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Old Mar 3, 2024, 9:12 am
  #63  
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Originally Posted by ani90
I certainly said no such thing. Not sure where you got that from. Read my response again - I was only commenting on the advice to dare diversion of the aircraft.
I totally agree that diversion of the aircraft is not a good idea, especially if prompted by a passenger being disruptive. But if there are no lavatories available except for the one being kept closed for the benefit of the pilots and the passenger in distress, canít use self-help to open the lav, he or she has no alternative but to soil themselves, correct?
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Old Mar 3, 2024, 10:03 am
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Originally Posted by halls120
canít use self-help to open the lav, he or she has no alternative but to soil themselves, correct?
Not correct. I doubt the OP and most passengers in any of these flights soiled themselves. Yes may occasionally happen but by no means certain or even likely.
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Old Mar 3, 2024, 10:11 am
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I would like to believe that in the event of "unusual" GI issues - for whatever reason (in an adult or child), that the goodness of human nature might allow to "cutting in line" or using a bathroom that might have been taken out of use for whatever reason.

I had a recent 3+ domestic UA flight - sitting in 1B in which the pass in 1A was clearly having "issues" (unclear which end) and needed to make multiple trips to the bathroom, even before we took off (yes, why she was allowed to fly is another story) - but the FA went out of their way to help her......

and there have been more than enough times in which I really "needed" to go after they put the seatbelt sign on in prep for landing in which I was allowed to go quickly - never recall being told "no"... and I can usually hold it for a long time......

I am one who prefers to avoid any conflict - especially in a situation in which there might be a low threshold for consequences that involve little things like jail time, huge fines, banned from flying and me (and others) not getting to our destinations on time.....

-m
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Old Mar 3, 2024, 10:45 am
  #66  
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Originally Posted by ani90
Not correct. I doubt the OP and most passengers in any of these flights soiled themselves. Yes may occasionally happen but by no means certain or even likely.
I'm not saying "most" passengers would. Does that justify keeping a perfectly fine lav that is compliant with FAA requirements closed for the private use of the crew? Especially given the fact that UA reduced the number of lavs on many of their long haul aircraft.
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Old Mar 3, 2024, 11:23 am
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Originally Posted by halls120
I'm not saying "most" passengers would. Does that justify keeping a perfectly fine lav that is compliant with FAA requirements closed for the private use of the crew? Especially given the fact that UA reduced the number of lavs on many of their long haul aircraft.
I don't think anyone here feels that is justified or is defending the practice. No one in response has said it is acceptable practice to lock a functional lavatory and keep for exclusive use of the crew. I certainly did not suggest that by any means.

But if the airline crew does take such action then does that give a passenger a right to take action in their own hands and open a lavatory that was locked off by crew and dare the crew to divert the plane? That is where I diverge and is what I was questioning.
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Old Mar 3, 2024, 11:48 am
  #68  
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Originally Posted by WineCountryUA
And what if this an uncompliant lav?
I was referring to the described situation where you witness the pilot or FA using the lav and then locking it after use.

Originally Posted by uanj
I also prefer to be seen as a passenger who complies with FA and crew instructions. I think filing a complaint would be appropriate.
There is, legally, a difference between being compliant with valid crew member instructions and non enforceable instructions. The difference is based on instructions supported by federal regulations or company operating manuals. For example, remaining seated when the seatbelt sign is on is a legally enforceable instruction even if you might soil yourself, but a crew member instruction to finish your meal, take off your clothes and stand in the corner, or stop watching Curb Your Enthusiasm because they are traumatized by Larry David are examples of unenforceable instructions you can refuse or ignore.

With regard to the lavatory, unless United has a policy that states lavatories can be reserved for the convenience of crew members, if the lavatory is functional, then telling you it canít be used is not a valid instruction. Iím open to a United ďInsiderĒ coming to this thread to clarify the policy. In my case as a long ago patient of gall bladder surgery, when I need to go, I need to go - and unless that lavatory is being reserved due to it being inop or unsafe to use, if I need to go, and Iíve confirmed itís vacant, Iím unlocking it and going in.

I know many of our discussions here make their way to employee and industry message boards, so for those employees reading this discussion, the message weíre delivering here is ďknock it offĒ. You do not get to reserve your own lavatory for personal use. If you donít like it, tough, go to your management and ask for a policy and then with a written policy in hand, you can announce such a restriction.
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Old Mar 3, 2024, 12:10 pm
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Originally Posted by bocastephen
..
Originally Posted by WineCountryUA
And what if this an uncompliant lav?
I was referring to the described situation where you witness the pilot or FA using the lav and then locking it after use..
Use of a non-compliant lav is allowed by crew in some situations, such as non-working smoke alarm or other conditions. That's what make this a difficult issue to have certainty.
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Old Mar 3, 2024, 12:17 pm
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Originally Posted by ani90
Not correct. I doubt the OP and most passengers in any of these flights soiled themselves. Yes may occasionally happen but by no means certain or even likely.
Before you start pontificating about other passengers, get some experience of a kidney condition. Bladder control is often extremely difficult, and pressing needs occur with very little warning. There are far more people with this issue than you may think.

But in any case, as others have said, anyone who is hydrating regularly is going to need to go regularly, probably with some urgency.
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Old Mar 3, 2024, 12:29 pm
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Originally Posted by bocastephen
...when I need to go, I need to go - and unless that lavatory is being reserved due to it being inop or unsafe to use, if I need to go, and I’ve confirmed it’s vacant, I’m unlocking it and going in.

1) How to check if it's vacant? Is the procedure to knock on ANY lav door that is locked, and presume that if no reply is heard, it must be a lav that a pilot locked for themselves for future use?

2) What to do if all lavs are occupied by passengers who take their good ol' time?

Main issue is the insufficient amount of toilets on planes, IMO.
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Old Mar 3, 2024, 12:38 pm
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Originally Posted by narvik
1)Main issue is the insufficient amount of toilets on planes, IMO.
No argument there - plus consider the unusable (for most) lavatory size on most newer aircraft where anyone with a 31" girth or larger cannot comfortable turn, sit and do their business.

Either way, if I witness a lavatory locked, especially in business class by a crew member who is the only one going in or out, and I need to go, then I'm going. If the lav is 'inop', it's still obviously 'op' enough to be used by a pilot, and if it's 'op' enough for them, in an emergency it's 'op' enough for me.
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Old Mar 3, 2024, 1:34 pm
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I think there are a few basic assumptions in all of this that might be inherently flawed:
a) the lav was "blocked out" for the entire flight
b) the pilots maybe needed it blocked for a valid reason
c) maybe it was non-functional for pass use, but ok for crew to change or whatever
- it was brought up before that would pass take a canceled flight or frame swap over a "out of order" bathroom on a long flight?
I think we have all been in bathrooms at the end of long flights in which it looks like a bomb went off and wondered how it got so bad and felt sorry for whomever had to clean it

somehow, of all the possible answers to this mystery - "pilot power-trip" seems low on my list.

would be interesting to get an answer from UA?
(given how much interest there is regarding this topic)

-m
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Old Mar 3, 2024, 1:38 pm
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Originally Posted by bocastephen
Either way, if I witness a lavatory locked, especially in business class by a crew member who is the only one going in or out, and I need to go, then I'm going. If the lav is 'inop', it's still obviously 'op' enough to be used by a pilot, and if it's 'op' enough for them, in an emergency it's 'op' enough for me.
Pages 194 & 195 of this pdf are examples of when the MEL allows use by crew only. This is from a publicly available copy of the 737 Master MEL as that is the airplane with which I'm most familiar at the moment. There will be similar, if not identical, wording in the MELs from other airplanes.

https://www.faa.gov/sites/faa.gov/fi...v_62_Draft.pdf

You'll see that the affected lavatory must be placarded as inoperative so, barring it coming off or being inappropriately removed, you should see that in those cases.

I've never flown the 767-400, or any widebody for UAL, so I don't know how their procedures may be different from ours. In a configuration, such as what has been described in the thread, I wouldn't be surprised to find the door being locked in-between several pilots using the lav in succession, just as our front lav is blocked on the narrow-body when we take a break. I do not know why it would be locked for longer than that when it isn't required by an MEL.

For an airplane to be dispatched with inoperative lavatory(ies), approval must be received from Network Operational Control who takes into consideration the length of flight, number of passengers, etc. The Captain can also refuse to operate such an airplane if he thinks the inoperative equipment will affect the safety of the airplanes and passengers.
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Old Mar 3, 2024, 1:40 pm
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Originally Posted by bocastephen
..... If the lav is 'inop', it's still obviously 'op' enough to be used by a pilot, and if it's 'op' enough for them, in an emergency it's 'op' enough for me.
Would not that create a safety violation the UA would be obliged to report? (not report the passenger, but UA itself?)
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