Now Reading
Plane With Up To 318 Passengers Onboard Has to Turn Back Three Hours into Transatlantic Flight After All The Lavatories Stop Working

Plane With Up To 318 Passengers Onboard Has to Turn Back Three Hours into Transatlantic Flight After All The Lavatories Stop Working

a blue and white airplane on a runway

Up to 318 passengers on a KLM Royal Dutch Airlines flight from Amsterdam to Los Angeles experienced a frustrating and uncomfortable flight to nowhere on Monday after all of the onboard lavatories unexpectedly stopped working.

With a scheduled flight time of nearly 11 hours, the pilots initially made the decision to immediately turn back to Amsterdam Schiphol Airport only for one of the lavatories to start working again.

At that point, the pilots flirted with the possibility of managing to get to Los Angeles with just one working toilet onboard and resumed the transatlantic crossing before eventually deciding that they should return to Amsterdam more than three hours into the flight.

KLM flight 601 departed Amsterdam Schiphol late at around 10:30 am on Monday and made its initial climb out over the North Sea. Just under an hour into the flight, however, flight tracking data shows the Boeing 787-10 Dreamliner suddenly performed a U-turn off the coast of Scotland as if it were planning to return to Amsterdam.

That decision was, though, shortlived and within minutes, the aircraft, which has 38 World Business Class seats, 28 Premium Comfort, and a massive 252 Economy and Economy Comfort seats, was back on its way towards Los Angeles.

The four-year-old aircraft got as far as Greenland until the pilots eventually gave up and decided to divert back to Amsterdam where the lavatories could be fixed and the passengers allowed to relieve themselves.

As to what caused all the lavatories to suddenly stop working, that part remains the mystery. In the past, a common reason behind inoperative lavatories has been ground staff forgetting to empty the waste tanks after the last flight.

There are, of course, lots of different pumps and electronics involved in an airplane waste system, so this might also be the cause.

In the end, flight 601 was flying around for six hours and the passengers ended up in the exact same place they started their journey.

View Comment (1)
  • I was on that flight. The pilots had difficultly starting the airplane at AMS. During the 3 restarts I counted, the bathrooms went offline but did not show up as a fault. Just past the UK is when the pilots were informed that no working bathrooms were available and we made the turn back to AMS. Shortly afterwards, one bathroom came on line. That is when the the pilots decided to try to make it to LAX. That is when a passenger revolt almost started. One bathroom can only handle 20 passengers per hour and we had at least 300 passengers aboard. It would have taken over 15 hours for every passengers to be able to use the bathroom once. As the situation got worse, and a huge line for the remain bathroom formed because the crew delayed to use of the working forward toilet until dining service was completed in business class, the crew opened up the closed bathrooms for #1 and the working bathroom was for #2. We were over Greenland at the time and the captain diverted back to AMS for a second time.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

© 2023 All Rights Reserved.

Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to with appropriate and specific directions to the original content.