Woman Spent Independence Day Trapped in an Airplane Bathroom

Jul 6, 2018

This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

On Independence Day, one unlucky traveler found herself locked inside the tiny bathroom of a Bombardier CRJ-700 during a SkyWest-operated American flight from Chicago (ORD) to Aspen (ASE).

As these things so often are, the crisis was live-tweeted by a fellow passenger, Kent Lassman. “Pilot just announced after an hour on the tarmac that we are headed back to gate,” Lassman tweeted. “The lady from the seat in front of me locked herself in the toilet…”

Lassman described how a “hipster kid from the back row” attempted to break the woman free with a credit card, to no avail. (Turns out, credit cards really are better for earning points and miles than for cavalier rescues.)

Another passenger, according to Lassman’s play-by-play, attempted to save the woman from the crappy situation but was also unsuccessful.

Ultimately, the plane returned to the gate, and ground crew came aboard with a “special tool” to rescue the trapped passenger.

Layne Watson, a SkyWest spokesperson, told TPG that the bathroom door “became inoperable…prior to departure.”

“The aircraft returned to the gate where mechanics were able to open the door within 10 minutes,” Watson said. “We apologize to our customers for the inconvenience.”

Watson added that “standard tools” were used to open the lav door, and that the passenger was in “good spirits” when she was freed — impressive, considering she was in there for about 30 minutes, according to the time stamps on Lassman’s tweets. (Probably a good thing it wasn’t the abhorred 737 MAX bathroom.)

“She says the crew told her that if it had happened while airborne, it would have meant an emergency landing,” Lassman said.

In addition to the original delay caused by the bathroom door, the plane was taken out of service. And SkyWest flight 3018, operating as American Eagle, was ultimately canceled because of Colorado’s worsening wildfires, according to Watson.

Watson confirmed that American Airlines has reached out directly to all passengers involved with the AA3018 and is arranging compensation.

H/T View From the Wing.

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

WELCOME OFFER: 80,000 Points


CARD HIGHLIGHTS: 2X points on all travel and dining, points transferrable to over a dozen travel partners

*Bonus value is an estimated value calculated by TPG and not the card issuer. View our latest valuations here.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,000 when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. Plus earn up to $50 in statement credits towards grocery store purchases within your first year of account opening.
  • Earn 2X points on dining including eligible delivery services, takeout and dining out and travel. Plus, earn 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 80,000 points are worth $1,000 toward travel.
  • With Pay Yourself Back℠, your points are worth 25% more during the current offer when you redeem them for statement credits against existing purchases in select, rotating categories.
  • Get unlimited deliveries with a $0 delivery fee and reduced service fees on eligible orders over $12 for a minimum of one year with DashPass, DoorDash's subscription service. Activate by 12/31/21.
  • Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more.
  • Get up to $60 back on an eligible Peloton Digital or All-Access Membership through 12/31/2021, and get full access to their workout library through the Peloton app, including cardio, running, strength, yoga, and more. Take classes using a phone, tablet, or TV. No fitness equipment is required.
Regular APR
15.99%-22.99% Variable
Annual Fee
Balance Transfer Fee
Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
Recommended Credit

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.