Delta Airlines doesn’t have the best reputation these days, and things aren’t likely to get any better after the airline’s latest mishap. A Delta flight traveling from New York to Seattle had to make an emergency stop in Billings, Montana so that passengers could go to the bathroom.
The lavatories onboard the Boeing 757 were not working properly and several passengers were unable to hold it in until the plane could reach Seattle, forcing the plane to divert a couple hundred miles south toward Billings. In defense of the passengers, the average flight time from New York to Seattle is around six hours. No one should have to hold it that long if they don’t have to.
According to the Delta incident report, the plane’s toilets “ceased functioning, with passengers queuing up and indicating they needed to visit the toilet,” adding that “all toilets were full and passengers needed to ‘go really bad.'”
Unfortunately, the airport in Billings wasn’t expecting the plane, so they didn’t have a gate available. The Delta flight had to taxi to a cargo area of the airport in order to accommodate “passengers that needed to find a lavatory very urgently.”
Finally, ground crews were able to escort passengers into the airport terminal so they could use a proper restroom. The plane’s toilets then received servicing before the flight continued on to Seattle. However, passengers were grounded in Billings for about three hours before the plane was ready to take off again.
Emergency bathroom stops are rare but not unheard of in the airline industry. In fact, the whole ordeal could have been a lot worse.
“I’ve heard of flights getting diverted, not here, because toilets overflowed and that blue water was rolling down the aisle,” said Kevin Ploehn, the director of aviation and transit at the Billings airport. “That can’t be very pleasant.”