Passenger on Toilet Leads to Aborted Landing of British Airways Plane

A British Airways plane has aborted its landing at the last minute and made a go-around when they discovered a passenger was still seated on the toilet.

Passenger on toilet

The incident happened last Wednesday on board British Airways flight BA438 from London Heathrow to Amsterdam.

The British Airways plane – an Airbus A319 – was on final approach towards the Polderbaan runway at Amsterdam Schiphol Airport when the crew discovered that something was wrong.

According to Dutch daily Telegraaf, a crew member discovered that one of the passengers was not in his or her seat but still on the toilet.

british airways cabin
The cabin of a British Airways plane. ©Paliparan

Aborted landing

As the pilots were just seconds away from touching down on the runway, they decided that the safest course of action was to make a go-around.

Once the passenger was safely out of the toilet, the pilots made a circle in the skies above North Holland and lined up for a second attempt to land the plane, touching down 11 minutes after the scheduled arrival time.

british airways go-around aborted landing
The flight path of BA438, clearly showing the go-around and the 2nd landing attempt. ©Flightradar24


It is unclear how the passenger ended up in the lavatory during landing in the first place.

For safety reasons, passengers are not allowed to visit the toilet during landing and have to remain in their seats at all time.

Normally, flight attendants check before landing if the toilet is unoccupied and will then lock it from the outside until the plane has safely come to a halt at the gate.

british airways airbus a321 lonodon heathrow
A British Airways plane at London Heathrow. ©Paliparan


British Airways flight BA438 aborted its landing and made a go-around at Amsterdam Airport when the crew found out that a passenger was still using the lavatory.

Although the problem was professionally solved by the pilots, the unusual incident does raise questions how the passenger managed to end up on the toilet during landing in the first place.

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Koen works as a freelance journalist covering south-eastern Europe and is the founding father and editor-in-chief of Paliparan. As a contributor to some major Fleet Street newspapers and some lesser known publications in the Balkans, he travels thousands of miles each year for work as well as on his personal holidays. Whether it is horse riding in Kyrgyzstan’s Tian Shan mountains, exploring the backstreets of Bogotá, or sipping a glass of moschofilero in a Greek beachside taverna, Koen loves to immerse himself into the local culture, explore new places and eat and drink himself around the world.

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2 thoughts on “Passenger on Toilet Leads to Aborted Landing of British Airways Plane

  • August 6, 2022 at 9:21 pm

    So, an eleven minute go around and then a forty minute taxi from the Polderbaan 😉

    • Avatar photo
      August 6, 2022 at 9:35 pm

      Ha yeah the good old Polderbaan – plenty of time for toilet breaks for an entire A319 planeload during that taxi ride!


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