Pilots Locking Lavatory Door In Polaris

Old Mar 11, 2024, 12:08 pm
  #121  
 
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Originally Posted by bocastephen
Very interesting and good to know!
I agree, and thanks to LarryJ!
Maybe veering a little off topic. So mods feel free to move/delete. But Im wondering now if this automatic fire suppression would have always been part of the 737-800? I ask because this seems like a fairly recently retro'd plane. Didn't catch the tail number, but curious if it was a recently added safety feature, could it be a contributing factor to why people are seeing this forward lav situation more frequently.
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Old Mar 11, 2024, 1:49 pm
  #122  
 
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Originally Posted by Sie625
but curious if it was a recently added safety feature
It has been a requirement for at least a couple of decades.

It may have been one of the changes that resulted from the Air Canada 797 accident in 1983.

The threat is a passenger trying to sneak a smoke in the lav then throwing the butt into the trash. This is why all lavs still have an ash tray even though smoking has been banned for many years.

A failed lav smoke detector can also render the lav unusable for passengers.
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Old Mar 11, 2024, 10:41 pm
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Originally Posted by LarryJ
The trash receptable in the lav must have an automatic fire suppression system. When that system is inoperative, the lav can not be used by passengers.
One item with this that used to inop lavs on the Airbus at my airline was the spring-loaded trash door. If the spring broke or was missing and the flap didn't automatically close, thus the fire suppression system wouldn't work properly, so lav was INOP. We required a MX logbook entry to clear it as "crew only." One of the many reasons I was so happy when my airline opened up a line MX station at my location and they could just replace the springs. Is the B737 similarly constrained?
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Old Mar 12, 2024, 7:52 am
  #124  
 
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Originally Posted by JAXPax
Is the B737 similarly constrained?
Probably, for exactly the reason you mention. I don't have access to the maintenance manual to see the procedure. That's where the requirements for "crew only" vs. "no use" would be listed.
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Old Apr 1, 2024, 10:19 pm
  #125  
 
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I flew UA1007 DEN-SFO on a 739 tonight. After reaching 10,000 feet, the purser announces over the PA: "There is no lavatory in the front of the plane. There's one near row 8 and two in the rear." Of course that is a lie – there is indeed a lav at the front of the 739. I also flew two transpac flights in Polaris in the last two months, and both times, the lavs at the front of the plane were guarded by FAs pointing people to the lavs near door 2.

I can't help but think this is some kind of funny business from the pilots and their union. Sure, I get the safety argument, but blocking all front lavs for the duration of flights? Come on.
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Last edited by char777; Apr 1, 2024 at 11:12 pm
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Old Apr 2, 2024, 9:06 am
  #126  
 
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Originally Posted by char777
I flew UA1007 DEN-SFO on a 739 tonight. After reaching 10,000 feet, the purser announces over the PA: "There is no lavatory in the front of the plane. There's one near row 8 and two in the rear." Of course that is a lie – there is indeed a lav at the front of the 739
The majority of people, who aren't as pedantic and you and I, might not see a significant differences between "no lavatory" and "no usable lavatory". Obviously, a forward lavatory exists. It just couldn't be used.

The aircraft on your flight had an MEL'd forward lav trash door which limited its use to crewmembers only, as was detailed earlier in this thread. It was found during aircraft cleaning prior to your flight in Denver and was repaired overnight in LAS.

I have no specific information about about the transpacific flights but the FAs only guard the lavs when the cockpit door is going to be opened. If the lav wasn't available to passengers at all during the flight then it also had something inoperative which prevented its use. None of us would tolerate blocking a working lav for the entire flight.
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Old Apr 2, 2024, 9:35 am
  #127  
 
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The trash can is part of the MEL for the lavatory? I didn't scan the entire MEL document linked way above, but certainly they could have hung a plastic trash bag somewhere beside the sink?
Almost seven decades of passenger flying and I am still amazed at the depth of design, technical, and anthropological factors that are the modern miracle of safe passenger flight. Who would have thought to MEL a spring loaded trash door?

Answer - a six sigma safety program.
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Old Apr 2, 2024, 10:14 am
  #128  
 
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Originally Posted by LaserSailor
Who would have thought to MEL a spring loaded trash door?
That one is all about fire detection and protection. Each lav has a smoke detector and each lav trash receptacle has a fire bottle which discharges automatically if a fire is detected in the trash. This is also why every lav still has an ash tray even though smoking hasn't been allowed onboard for many years. The threat is someone trying to sneak a cigarette in the lav then throwing the butt into the trash.
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Old Apr 2, 2024, 10:41 am
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Amazing - something like this

Ban smoking on flights, PAX are 99% compliant
Smoke detector catches 99% of non-compliants
Ashtray catches fire from 99% of non-detected.
Trash bin fire suppression catches fire from 99% of non-ash tray users

..and we are down to 10 part per billion chance of a trash receptacle fire.
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Old Apr 2, 2024, 11:44 am
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Originally Posted by LaserSailor
Amazing - something like this

Ban smoking on flights, PAX are 99% compliant
Smoke detector catches 99% of non-compliants
Ashtray catches fire from 99% of non-detected.
Trash bin fire suppression catches fire from 99% of non-ash tray users

..and we are down to 10 part per billion chance of a trash receptacle fire.
And this is why I have no real fears about letting United lock me in a metal tube and launch me at a few hundred miles per hour tens of thousands of feet above the earth.
(Virtually) Every aviation accident is a chain of failures -- break any one link in the chain and the accident doesn't happen. The more links the less likely something is to go unbroken and lead to an accident.

Some people view it as paranoia... and sure it on any given flight it may be an overly conservative approach (what are the chances of someone pulling out a cigarette in a lav while that same lav has MELed fire protection?) but it makes it that much harder for the chain to go unbroken.
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Old Apr 2, 2024, 12:51 pm
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Originally Posted by lincolnjkc
Some people view it as paranoia... and sure it on any given flight it may be an overly conservative approach (what are the chances of someone pulling out a cigarette in a lav while that same lav has MELed fire protection?) but it makes it that much harder for the chain to go unbroken.
They are low, but that has to be weighed against the consequences of a fire in the lavatory in flight. They have happened before and they don't tend to end well.
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Old Apr 2, 2024, 9:21 pm
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Originally Posted by char777
I flew UA1007 DEN-SFO on a 739 tonight. After reaching 10,000 feet, the purser announces over the PA: "There is no lavatory in the front of the plane. There's one near row 8 and two in the rear." .
Originally Posted by LarryJ
The aircraft on your flight had an MEL'd forward lav trash door which limited its use to crewmembers only, as was detailed earlier in this thread. It was found during aircraft cleaning prior to your flight in Denver .
But why could the flight crew not have just said this? Is it that United feels they owe the customer no explanation as to why the lavatory in their cabin is not accessible? It is this increasing lack of accountability or responsibility to its paying customers that concerns many.
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Last edited by ani90; Apr 2, 2024 at 9:26 pm
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Old Apr 3, 2024, 7:25 am
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Because 90-95% of the pax load are infrequent flyers and TMI occupies crew time and attention away from their tasks. You contracted to fly from A to B and not the complete visibility on all aspects of operations. I dont care if Donald Duck is the FO if they get me there safely and in the same time zone. I measure accountability as on time arrivals, not pandering to my sense of 'need to be in the know' on everything.

Lavatory on starboard side is unavailable, please use ..... is all I need.
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Old Apr 3, 2024, 8:13 am
  #134  
 
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Originally Posted by ani90
But why could the flight crew not have just said this?
It's always difficult making announcements about technical issues because you don't want to confuse, or worse, scare nervous passengers. I would make an announcement that the first class lavatory is unusable for this flight but wouldn't go into the details as to why. I'd be happy to have a more detailed one-on-one discussion with any passenger who was interested.

In this case, we know that an F/A made a very non-specific PA but don't know if the Captain made one of his own that was missed by the OP or if one was made at the gate.

The most important point was that the passengers could not use that specific lavatory but the mid-cabin and aft lavs were available. That info was in the PA.
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Old Apr 3, 2024, 9:41 am
  #135  
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Originally Posted by LarryJ
It's always difficult making announcements about technical issues because you don't want to confuse, or worse, scare nervous passengers. I would make an announcement that the first class lavatory is unusable for this flight but wouldn't go into the details as to why. I'd be happy to have a more detailed one-on-one discussion with any passenger who was interested.

In this case, we know that an F/A made a very non-specific PA but don't know if the Captain made one of his own that was missed by the OP or if one was made at the gate.

The most important point was that the passengers could not use that specific lavatory but the mid-cabin and aft lavs were available. That info was in the PA.
The crew can easily make an announcement the forward lavatory is out of service for maintenance, apologize for the inconvenience and direct customers to the other lavatories. Ideally the mid cabin lav would be prioritized for first class customers, but I know this is United not ANA.

We don’t need to know about springs and trash receptacles, but saying something doesn’t exist when it clearly does is just another hallmark of cabin crew not really caring about their performance.
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