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In-flight Issue
COMPLAINT: Flight attendant called TSA & cops for taking daughter to restroom

 
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  #1  
Old Aug 27, 2012, 4:48 PM
Nicolew3 Nicolew3 is offline
 
Join Date: Aug 2012
Posts: 1

Flight 1375 from Orlando to BWI; I sat on the runway due to weather which is fine, however, my 6 yr old had to use the bathroom. I told her she needed to wait a little longer. Once in the air, the FA's began beverage service and people starting to use the bathroom. The FA's made an announcement that we couldn't wait in line, that we needed to stay at our seat until the person came out of the bathroom. We were in the center of the plane so people kept beating us to the bathroom and my daughter had to go really bad. The seat belt sign was turned off and we began to walk to the front of the cabin to use the bathroom even though it was occupied, I couldn't wait any longer. The FA told us to return to the seat and I said that that system wasn't working, it was an emergency and the fasten seat belt sign was off. She repeated herself as if not hearing my plea at all. So I told her I wasnt going back to my seat until my daughter used the bathroom. She repeated herself again and I said "no, you can either tell all these people that my daughter is next or you can call the cops to meet me at the gate". She chose option #2. So, coming back from Disney, I was met by a cop and TSA at the gate in front of my kids. The cop said to the FA, that I didn't break the law or violate any FAA policies. There was nothing he could do to me and that Southwest should reevaluate "their" policy regarding bathroom use. This was a horrible experience; the whole thing could have been avoided if the FA was empathetic to our needs or offered another solution to get my daughter to the bathroom. Instead, she pulled a power trip, planted her heels in the ground like a mule, embarrassed me, scared my children and ruined the ending to a magical vacation. Furthermore, I complained on Southwests website and still have not heard any follow up from them. Disgusting!
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  #2  
Old Aug 27, 2012, 5:19 PM
Matt_FLL Matt_FLL is offline
 
Join Date: Nov 2011
Posts: 100

Hi Nicole,
Sorry to hear that the Disney vacation ended in anything far from magical.

Most of us reading your complaint are very familiar and grateful for the “bathroom rule” for the forward lavatory. We all know that this was implemented to protect passengers and stem from the terror attacks of 2011.

I read your story, and then I imagined that I was a fellow passenger. I imagine that I am sharing space (and one of two restrooms!) with you, your daughter, and the 130+ other passengers. It’s not easy sharing that space. This is especially true when you are unable to form a line in the front of the aircraft due to this FAA regulation. You sound like a reasonable mom. And a good mom, as you put the needs of your child before yourself. You wanted to fight for her and ensure that her needs were met. Based on your well-written complaint, I can only assume that you tried to find other arrangements such as using the rear lavatory and/or notified the flight attendant ahead of time that your daughter needed to use the restroom. Surely, the other passengers around have urgent biological needs too, and I can tell that you would understand that.

In any event, I would hate to witness the confrontation which you described. The flight attendant is not meeting her duties if she does not enforce the rule. She had to decide: let a little girl go to the restroom, or fail to follow a federal law and face those consequences. Granted she certainly could have said this much nicer. I would be very understanding of the mother, but a little less understanding if she said “no, you can either tell all these people that my daughter is next or you can call the cops”.

Regardless, I am disappointed to hear of the ending. No one really won in this situation. I hope that you returned to the Baltimore area and were able to remember the positive parts of your trip. I bet Southwest is investigating before they respond. When they do, please update us on the response.

Matt
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Old Aug 27, 2012, 8:26 PM
jimworcs jimworcs is offline
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Shropshire, England
Posts: 3,197

This is a perfect example of the abuse of power... the FA needed to listen to the passenger... SWA should look at this well written complaint and address the issue. People are placed in impossible positions and are rendered powerless by the belief of FA's that anything they say is the law and they can exercise power without responsibility.
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Old Aug 28, 2012, 2:43 PM
cortney cortney is offline
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Join Date: Sep 2009
Posts: 288

sure, the flight attendant should listen, but so should the passenger. everytime i fly they say "no waiting for the restrooms near the flight deck" the flight attendants say it, and most of the time, the captain. no lines may form in the forward part of the cabin! its a law since 9-11 happend. I understand, when you gotta go, you gotta go, but rules are rules.
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Old Aug 28, 2012, 9:39 PM
Gromit801 Gromit801 is offline
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Posts: 745

Complain to Congress, Homeland Security, and the FAA. They made the post 9/11 rules.
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Old Aug 29, 2012, 1:02 AM
jimworcs jimworcs is offline
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Shropshire, England
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This has got nothing to do with 911. The passenger explained the dilemma to the FA and it was welll within the powers of the FA to manage the situation appropriately so that the child can use the toilet.

It is more to do with ignorant and stupid FA's who shouldn't even has such powers, as they are mostly too stupid to exercise them appropriately. In days gone by, any decision to have passengers met at the gate by security or the police, or to ask someone to leave the flight, was made by the Captain. Often the Captain would come back and talk to the passenger and evaluate the situation themselves. Sadly, the demands of the post 911 cockpit make this less common and now power hungry morans exercise the powers and the Captains go along with it because of some dodgily applied rule.
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Old Aug 29, 2012, 3:06 PM
Gromit801 Gromit801 is offline
 
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The OP made no mention of trying to use the rear restroom, and was insistent on using the front. The OP was wrong, the FA was correct.
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Old Aug 29, 2012, 7:06 PM
cortney cortney is offline
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Join Date: Sep 2009
Posts: 288

come on!! everybody knows that since 9/11 there is NO waiting in the front of the cabin to use the restroom!! its mentioned a few times over the announcements! I notice flight attendants are less strick about forming lines in the aft (even though you cant do that either).
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