Passenger Trapped In Toilet Causes United Airlines Boeing 737 Diversion

All seemed well on a United Airlines flight from Washington’s Reagan National Airport (DCA) to San Francisco International Airport (SFO). However, midway through the flight, a passenger had an unfortunate incident. The door to the lavatory would not open, leaving the passenger trapped inside. Thus, the crew made the decision to divert to Denver International Airport and free the United passenger trapped in the lavatory.

United 737
A United Airlines flight made an unscheduled landing after a passenger got stuck in the lavatory. Photo: United Airlines

A United passenger got trapped in the lavatory

United Airlines flight 1554 took off from Washington National a few minutes after 5:30 PM local time. A few hours into the flight, a female passenger became trapped inside the lavatory according to CNN. Crew onboard the Boeing 737 then decided to divert to Denver.

SFO Airport
The flight was enroute to San Francisco from Washington- National. Photo: United Airlines

Unlike an unfortunate American Airlines diversion to Denver, this passenger does not seem to be at fault for the incident. According to a statement from United obtained by CNN, the “lavatory door became inoperative.” It is unclear what led to the jammed door. Nevertheless, becoming trapped in a small confined space during flight and subsequent landing could be an incredibly terrifying situation for some.

Continued journey to San Francisco

The flight continued on from Denver to San Francisco with the same flight number after maintenance personnel boarded the aircraft and opened the door for the passenger to exit. As per data from FlightAware, the aircraft took off from Denver just before 10:00 PM local time and landed in San Francisco at 11:15 PM.

Denver Airport
The Boeing 737 took off from Denver just before 10 PM local time. Photo: United Airlines

Due to the incident, the flight landed in San Francisco almost two hours later. This is after the aircraft spent just over two hours on the ground in Denver. The aircraft was originally scheduled to arrive in San Francisco at 8:38 PM local time. It does not seem that the passenger who was trapped in the lavatory was removed from the flight. However, United is working with the passenger involved in this situation.

United Airlines 737
United reached out to the passenger who was trapped in the lavatory. Photo: United Airlines


It is not common for a passenger to become trapped in a lavatory. There are ways to open the lavatory door from the outside, however, it seems that those methods failed due to the inoperative nature of the door. Thankfully, United has not reported any injuries to the passenger who became trapped. Hopefully, the passenger is doing quite well and will not hesitate to take to the skies again.

What would you have done in this situation? Were you onboard this flight? What happened? Let us know in the comments!