Until these sorts of customer service stores stop springing up, I will continue to cover them. A man was thrown off a Delta flight for having the audacity to use the lavatory…during an extended ground delay.
I’ll boil it down–
- Delta flight from Atlanta to Milwaukee on 04/18
- Passenger: Kima Hamilton, 39
- 30 minute tarmac delay
- While waiting for takeoff, Hamilton approached FA and said he had to use lavatory
- FA directed him back to seat because the flight would “lose their place in line”
- Delay grew longer, Hamilton could not hold it any longer, and darted to the rear lavatory
- He was back in his seat in under 60-seconds
- The aircraft was cleared to takeoff while he was in the lavatory
- As a result, the landing slot was lost
- Pilot message on PA: “Ladies and gentlemen, I’m sorry for the inconvenience but we have to return to the gate and remove a passenger”
- A clam exchange occurs at gate between Delta ground staff and Hamilton (videos below)
- Hamilton appears to have no understanding why he is being removed
- A second Delta agent boards the plane
- Hamilton eventually agrees to leave
Here are two key passenger videos–
I feel very bad for Hamilton. I suspect the ground delay was just routine afternoon traffic leaving Atlanta. I wish he had gone to the lavatory prior to boarding. But I won’t judge him for failing to do so. We have all had times when we are running late or making a connection in which there simply was not time. I know that we can only hold it for so long.
While I understand why Delta would want to remove Hamilton, it seemed unnecessary at that point. The plane was already delayed, he was calm, and he actually had a good reason to get up and use the lavatory. He was not a threat to the flight and therefore his removal smacks of retribution rather than as a means for fact gathering. The facts were clear: he had to use the loo and did.
A few weeks back I wrote about an 87-year-old on British Airways who ran into a similar problem. Instead of getting up and using the lavatory (she was allegedly blocked from doing so), she just soiled her clothing and sat for 10 hours.
I think Hamilton made the right choice in getting up to go.
I understand that Hamilton’s actions inconvenienced every passenger on the plane and may have even had a great ripple effect. Furthermore, I realize “order” breaks down if everyone does his own thing. But 30 minutes sure seems like an eternity when you really have to go…
What do you think?
(top image ©Kay GLR / YouTube)