It’s not popular to be on the side of airline employees these days, but Delta’s reasoning for removal of a passenger who had to pee is a good one.
There isn’t any room for nuance in the laws surrounding flying, not since 19 men hijacked airliners and flew them into buildings.
And the law says anyone who fails to follow the instructions of an airline crew is a security threat and must be removed for questioning.
If you’ve flown, you know that you can’t get up while a plane is taxiing, even if you have to pee.
Kima Hamilton had to go, so he ran to the rest room against orders while his plane was waiting to depart Atlanta for Milwaukee. Better than to have an “accident” in your seat, he says. And he’s right. But that doesn’t mean he didn’t break the law.
So the pilot taxied back to the gate where Hamilton was invited off for a discussion with the FBI.
“I don’t normally pee right before I get on the plane, and I’ve never had a problem like this before. I don’t remember drinking an abnormal amount of water,” he tells the Jim Stingl of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
Stingl sides with the passenger:
All of that because he had to pee, and because airline rules sometimes miss the point of common sense. A passenger from a different Delta flight told Krista Rosolino two passengers needed to use the restroom while the plane prepared to taxi, and in that case the flight attendant simply told the pilots to wait until they were done.
The two situations aren’t the same. The pilot on the other flight had not yet started to taxi the plane. And FAA regulations do not require passengers to stay seated before the door is closed.
Once an airplane moves, even if it stopped waiting to take off, federal law considers the airplane to be in motion.
Bottom line: Visit the rest room just before getting on your plane.