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.

Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card

Earn 90,000 bonus miles and 10,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new card in the first three months of card membership. Offer ends 11/10/2021.

With Status Boost™, earn 10,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, up to two times per year getting you closer to Medallion Status. Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels, 2X Miles at restaurants and at U.S. supermarkets and earn 1X Mile on all other eligible purchases. Terms Apply.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Limited Time Offer: Earn 90,000 Bonus Miles and 10,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. Offer expires 11/10/2021.
  • Earn up to 20,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) with Status Boost® per year. After you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, you can earn 10,000 MQMs two times per year, getting you closer to Medallion® Status. MQMs are used to determine Medallion® Status and are different than miles you earn toward flights.
  • Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels.
  • Earn 2X Miles at restaurants worldwide, including takeout and delivery and at U.S. supermarkets.
  • Earn 1X Miles on all other eligible purchases.
  • Receive a Domestic Main Cabin round-trip companion certificate each year upon renewal of your Card. *Payment of the government imposed taxes and fees of no more than $75 for roundtrip domestic flights (for itineraries with up to four flight segments) is required. Baggage charges and other restrictions apply. See terms and conditions for details.
  • Enjoy your first checked bag free on Delta flights.
  • Fee Credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓®.
  • Enjoy an exclusive rate of $39 per person per visit to enter the Delta Sky Club® for you and up to two guests when traveling on a Delta flight.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • $250 Annual Fee.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
Regular APR
15.74%-24.74% Variable
Annual Fee
$250
Balance Transfer Fee
N/A
Recommended Credit
Excellent/Good
Terms and restrictions apply. See rates & fees.

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.