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This Is Why You Don't Flush Diapers Down an Aircraft Toilet

Sept. 07, 2018
3 min read
This Is Why You Don't Flush Diapers Down an Aircraft Toilet
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An American Airlines flight to Hawaii turned into a dire situation with passengers being told to urinate in plastic bags and bottles after a someone flushed a diaper in the aircraft lavatory, breaking the toilet.

According to a video taken by a woman on board the flight, there was an announcement on the plane's PA system stating there was an issue with the aircraft lavatory. When the woman asked a flight attendant about using the restroom, the flight attendant told her she would have to go in a plastic bag.

“What do you mean I have to pee in a bag?” the woman can be heard asking on the video.

“[Inaudible] … they’re overflowing. This one has like this much left,” the flight attendant responded.

Reportedly, the flushed diaper broke two of the plane's lavatories. There was still a working toilet in the front of the aircraft, but that was about to overflow from overuse.

"You could see the passengers looking at each other in disbelief," the woman passenger told WUSA9 News. "And they also locked two of the lavatories, as far as I can remember, so there was no access to those whatsoever.”

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When you flush an aircraft toilet, a trapdoor in the base of the toilet opens, and a disinfectant called Skykem fills the bowl. The loud roar you hear when you flush is a vacuum sucking the contents out of the waterless bowl. Try to flush a diaper, though, and the whole mechanism gets stuck.

American Airlines said that when the Boeing 757 took off, all the lavatories were working. The toilet debacle occurred sometime mid-flight.

"We are very sorry for the trouble this caused the 187 passengers on flight 663," the airline told WUSA9 News. "Our customer relations team will be reaching out to all of the passengers on this flight to extend our apologies.

"If an American flight is in the air, and all lavatories become inoperative, the flight will divert to the nearest suitable airport in order for maintenance to rectify the situation," the statement continued. "Due to the location of the aircraft, the flight continued to its intended destination. The issue was subsequently rectified upon arrival in Kona, and our flight returned to Phoenix as scheduled."

AA offered the woman passenger $240 in vouchers and 17,500 miles, which she rejected, saying it wasn't enough compensation for her ordeal on the flight.

Featured image by Getty Images/iStockphoto