Pilots Locking Lavatory Door In Polaris

Old Mar 1, 2024, 3:28 pm
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Pilots Locking Lavatory Door In Polaris

I fly United a lot (a whole lot...) and have never seen this. The idea of rotation at the start or end of the flight makes sense, but I've never seen a door locked throughout the flight.

Have any of you witnessed something like this?

You will not believe this. On a 767-400. There are two toilets in the rear. After dinner, I went to wait for the bathroom. Both were full. One of the pilots came out and locked the toilet. I asked what’s up as I was waiting for it. He said, “This is reserved for the pilots due to security.” I was speechless. I asked the flight attendant what he was possibly talking about as this leaves one toilet for the entire cabin and she said it’s a security thing because there is none in front. Huh? It was open at the start of the flight but they said it’s something to do with when the relief pilot is resting. This is unbelievable. What’s next? The entire business class cabin is blocked off for the pilots?

https://liveandletsfly.com/pilots-lock-lavatory/

(disclosure - link to my blog - I was sharing the account of a friend who texted me this stuff)

Was waiting for ten minutes for the one bathroom 30 minutes before landing to change out of PJs. Pilot came back and unlocked the bathroom. Still waiting when he came out. He locked it again seeing everyone standing there. So I asked innocently….”There’s a problem with this bathroom?” “No, this is blocked for pilot rotational duties.” I replied, “But there is one toilet for business class”. He said…” There are toilets in economy as well”. I said, “Yes, that you could use.” He was not happy and walked away.

Was on UA108 from IAD-MUC...
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Old Mar 1, 2024, 3:36 pm
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Originally Posted by MatthewLAX
I fly United a lot (a whole lot...) and have never seen this. The idea of rotation at the start or end of the flight makes sense, but I've never seen a door locked throughout the flight.

Have any of you witnessed something like this?


https://liveandletsfly.com/pilots-lock-lavatory/

(disclosure - link to my blog - I was sharing the account of a friend who texted me this stuff)


Was on UA108 from IAD-MUC...
It was the case on my last HND flight, on a 777.
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Old Mar 1, 2024, 3:44 pm
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The location and the number of lavatories on the 764 have never made sense to me.
The front two lavatories are located between Polaris and PP cabins, and often shared by passengers in both cabins. The waiting are already bad enough without having one being locked.
I don't quite understand how security issue is related locking one of the bathrooms.
I have never experienced the situation of locking for the entire flight as described by the OP on any of aircrafts UA have operated including the upper deck of the 747. I have seen flight crew locked the lavatory for other crew members to use but unlocked it after all the crews had finished using the lavatory..

Head scratching on this one..

Last edited by UA_Flyer; Mar 1, 2024 at 3:52 pm
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Old Mar 1, 2024, 3:46 pm
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Yep, I have seen that happen before. It stinks, but what can you do.
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Old Mar 1, 2024, 3:58 pm
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Originally Posted by cfischer
Yep, I have seen that happen before. It stinks, but what can you do.
Flip the cover up and unlock it once the pilot is out of sight?

What’s next? The entire business class cabin is blocked off for the pilots?
Just wait for the next contract during a period when the pilots have good leverage.
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Old Mar 1, 2024, 3:59 pm
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Originally Posted by cfischer
Yep, I have seen that happen before. It stinks, but what can you do.
+1 -- It's really not that uncommon -- but it is the exception...

I wish I knew the reasons for it as it seems random, but it does occur on my flights probably 5% of the time... I try to avoid that plane like the plague....

Last edited by bmwe92fan; Mar 1, 2024 at 4:05 pm
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Old Mar 1, 2024, 4:06 pm
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I think it's less apparent on other aircraft such as the 777 because I think there's a door parallel to the cockpit door that can be closed to conceal the presence of the forwardmost lav. (There's definitely one on the upper deck of some airlines' 744s.)

But yeah, if I see a pilot come out of a lav and lock the door from the outside, I would be tempted to unlock the door myself once the pilot and any FAs are out of sight.
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Old Mar 1, 2024, 4:14 pm
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That happens when there is a maintenance differal related to the lavatory, usually an inoperative smoke detector or something with the fire suppression system in the trash can.

The lavatory functions work normal, but without the fire/smoke related items the FAA has authorized it only for crew use only in those situations. We don’t like having that differed either and completely understand the inconvenience it causes.
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Old Mar 1, 2024, 4:15 pm
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Originally Posted by clubord
That happens when there is a maintenance differal related to the lavatory, usually an inoperative smoke detector or something with the fire suppression system in the trash can.

The lavatory functions work normal, but without the fire/smoke related items the FAA has authorized it only for crew use only in those situations. We don’t like having that differed either and completely understand the inconvenience it causes.
That makes 100% sense - thank you! I thought about asking why you don't just make an announcement -- and then I realized all of the downstream carnage from that -- i.e. "We are flying a plane that doesn't meet standards -- what else isn't right" lol... Sometimes TMI is really TMI...
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Old Mar 1, 2024, 4:48 pm
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Originally Posted by dkc192
I think it's less apparent on other aircraft such as the 777 because I think there's a door parallel to the cockpit door that can be closed to conceal the presence of the forwardmost lav. (There's definitely one on the upper deck of some airlines' 744s.)

But yeah, if I see a pilot come out of a lav and lock the door from the outside, I would be tempted to unlock the door myself once the pilot and any FAs are out of sight.
yeah, I tend to see this on the 777s. There are usually enough lavs so there isn’t an issue.
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Old Mar 1, 2024, 4:48 pm
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Originally Posted by bmwe92fan
That makes 100% sense - thank you! I thought about asking why you don't just make an announcement -- and then I realized all of the downstream carnage from that -- i.e. "We are flying a plane that doesn't meet standards -- what else isn't right" lol... Sometimes TMI is really TMI...
It does make sense, although the one time I was on a flight with an inoperative FC lav (domestic flight on a 738), they did announce that it was inoperative and that F passengers would have to go back to Y -- yet the crew still used it in-flight (which was a tad annoying but I get the logic).
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Old Mar 1, 2024, 4:53 pm
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Originally Posted by st530
It does make sense, although the one time I was on a flight with an inoperative FC lav (domestic flight on a 738), they did announce that it was inoperative and that F passengers would have to go back to Y -- yet the crew still used it in-flight (which was a tad annoying but I get the logic).
I have had this happen as well -- for some reason always on fights to Florida -- but we don't fly much domestically so thankfully it's never been a hassle.... Usually I'm just glad they didn't cancel the flight -- and living in NYC and flying from EWR -- we tend to prioritize..
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Old Mar 1, 2024, 4:59 pm
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As someone who attempts to stay hydrated one less working lavatory may be an accident waiting to happen as folks get older.
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Old Mar 1, 2024, 5:19 pm
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Pay attention and you can figure out how to open the door. I had a Delta pilot try this stunt and I was kind of OK with it but it turns out their spouses were on the plane and so they got to use the pilot restroom. Oh, no game up! I not only unlocked the door and let people use it. I filed a complaint with Delta got miles for this stupid move


The Delta pilot i later asked about this admitted that it is not any kind of security measure. They just don’t want to have to wait because they’re so special.😂
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Old Mar 1, 2024, 5:26 pm
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Originally Posted by cfischer
Yep, I have seen that happen before. It stinks, but what can you do.
It stinks because the pilot used the lav?
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