Flight Crew Wouldn’t Let Passengers Use Restroom

POSTED: 8:34 am EDT March 18, 2007WPBF-TV (Palm Beach, FL)

SALT LAKE CITY — SkyWest Airlines apologized to a passenger who said he wasn’t allowed to use the restroom during a one-hour flight and ended up urinating in an air-sickness bag.
James Whipple said he had two “really big beers” at the Boise, Idaho airport. While on a flight to Salt Lake City on March 7, he drank a soft drink. He then wanted to use the cabin restroom. The captain had declared it off-limits during the short flight because a light wasn’t working.
Whipple said he had used the cabin restroom before the plane departed but had to go again and finally reached for the air-sickness bag.

No other passengers noticed Whipple using the bag, but a flight attendant asked him about it and told the captain, who called airport police.

“It was like I had no choice,” Whipple told The Salt Lake Tribune, which posted the story on its Web site Friday. “I started to urinate on myself. So, thinking the way I thought, I grabbed one of those vomit bags.”

“I didn’t think I did anything wrong. I could have relieved myself all over my pants. It was almost like that was what she preferred me to do,” he said.

Whipple was questioned and took a taxi home to Sandy, a Salt Lake City suburb.
The airline sent him a letter of apology and a flight voucher, SkyWest spokeswoman Sabrena Suite-Mangum said Friday.

She said SkyWest decided to go ahead with the flight and get the light fixed in Salt Lake City, rather than delaying it or canceling it for repairs.

“For such a short flight, we really felt we were trying to inconvenience the least number of passengers possible by operating that flight,” Suite-Mangum said.
Whipple was not happy with the airline’s apology.

“I think it’s very wrong for them to put a commercial airliner in the air if it’s not in complete working order, regardless of whether [the problem] is a lavatory, or a tire, or anything. We are paying customers, and we put our lives in their hands to fly,” he told the Salt Lake Tribune.