Blocked Toilets Lead An American Airlines A321 To Divert To Salt Lake City

Passengers on an American Airlines Airbus A321 were treated to an unfortunate diversion on September 26, 2019. En route from Charlotte, North Carolina to San Francisco the crew diverted to Salt Lake City due to a problem onboard. The culprit? Blocked toilets.

American Airlines
An American Airlines Airbus A321 diverted to Salt Lake City due to blocked toilets. Photo: Airbus

Blocked toilets on the A321

Aircraft N183UW suffered the unfortunate incident per reporting from the Aviation Herald. AA2061 was en route from Charlotte, North Carolina to San Francisco, California when the incident occurred. This is the second diversion this week of a San Francisco-bound flight due to issues with the lavatory.

Although it may not seem significant, lavatory issues on aircraft are considered serious and could be unpleasant. Luckily the aircraft was not performing a long-haul overwater flight which could lead to a long flight to nowhere. Instead, after about 70 minutes on the ground, the aircraft took off from Salt Lake City and arrived in San Francisco about 100 minutes after scheduled arrival.

This A321 incident was the second San Francisco-bound flight to experience lavatory issues this week. Photo: Airbus

Are blocked toilets a major issue?

In short, yes. For one, the incident could lead to unpleasant events in the cabin. This can cause damage to the aircraft or even negatively impact passengers. Not to mention, out-of-service toilets can be an issue in the case where a passenger is sick or someone has an emergency.

It is important for an aircraft’s lavatories to remain functional during flight.  Photo: Jo Bailey – Simple Flying

In the past, aircraft have diverted due to issues with non-working toilets onboard. For some instances, this makes sense since an out-of-service lavatory could not easily be repaired at the destination. In other cases, it could be easier for an airline to handle passengers and the maintenance from the departure airport, especially from hubs.

On the other hand, out of service sinks do not necessarily pull an aircraft from the schedule.

Blocked Toilets Lead An American Airlines A321 To Divert To Salt Lake City
An inoperable sink in an aircraft lavatory. Photo: Jay Singh – Simple Flying

What can cause blocked toilets on an aircraft?

One of the more common causes of blocked toilets is due to passenger misuse. In other words, passengers flushing things that should not be flushed. Diapers, motion sickness bags, among other things should be disposed of in the aircraft’s trash bins or else in a manner that flight attendants describe.

If you are unsure of how to dispose of waste, it is always a good idea to ask a crew member for advice or assistance. Better safe than sorry is a good motto to follow with air travel.

What do you make of this situation? Were you on board this flight? Let us know in the comments.