April 5, 2019 7:01 pm
Updated: April 5, 2019 8:52 pm

Trapped in plane bathroom, Okanagan woman calls incident “traumatic”


It’s a flight Margaret McCormack won’t forget anytime soon.

On Monday, the Vernon woman was flying home to the Okanagan from Calgary on a WestJet flight. It should have been a run-of-the-mill journey, but then she got temporarily trapped in the plane’s bathroom.

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“I don’t want to be a crybaby, but when someone is scared of small spaces and you’re confined in a place you think you would never be confined in, it’s terribly traumatic,” she told Global News.

McCormack said she was stuck in the bathroom for about 10 minutes, trying her hardest to open the door.

“I thought that it was me, that I just did not know how to open the door. I looked for stickers, maybe it was complicated, I did the switch unlock, lock, unlock,” McCormack said.

“I’m trying to get out there, thinking ‘OK, do I have to kick the door down?’ It’s a solid door.”

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After a few minutes, McCormack said she pressed the service button.

“I pressed it thinking ‘OK, well they don’t get bathroom emergencies often, someone should come.’ No one came,” she said.

McCormack did eventually manage to get the door open, but she’s now raising concerns about what she calls a lack of safety features in the bathroom.

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“There’s no speaker in that bathroom, no extra emergency button,” she said. “There’s no way to respond to anyone on speaker or anything.

“Thank God it was me and not someone having a heart attack.”

McCormack is also frustrated at how the situation is being handled.

She said she wrote WestJet an e-mail the same day, but, after not hearing back for three days, she decided to call customer service. A representative told her it would take up to 20 days for her to get a response.

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Global News contacted Westjet. A company spokesperson said the grounding of Boeing’s 737 Max 8 jets has created a backlog in customer replies.

The representative also said the incident will be investigated to try and determine what exactly happened.

And while she apologized to McCormack, WestJet media and public relations advisor Morgan Bell told Global News said in an e-mail:

“There are many different timelines presented from the guest, so I can’t confirm how long she may have been in the lavatory or the timing between her pushing the FA button and being able to open the door herself.”

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In the meantime, McCormack, who regularly flies with WestJet, is hoping something like that doesn’t happen again.

“I would hope that in the future, there are safety precautions so that a real medical emergency would be solved,” she said.

© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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