Another traveller in Labrador had to resort to extreme measures during a flight, this time using an empty Tim Hortons cup to urinate in because there were no available washroom facilities on the plane or at the airports.
Johanna Tuglavina was travelling on an Air Labrador flight from Hopedale to Nain on Monday on a plane without a toilet, and the washrooms at the two airstrips her flight stopped at were out of order.
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Tuglavina said she went outside to urinate before leaving Hopedale because the washroom wasn't working, and she asked to use the washroom during a stop in Natuashish, but it was also out of order.
"I said [to the pilot], 'Gee, boy, I'm going to have to use that empty Tim Hortons cup back there because I really gotta use the washroom,' and he had a little smile on his face and he said, 'Well, there's a little bag out there too if you need to use it,' so I used both of it," Tuglavina said.
Tuglavina's flight was unable to land in Nain, and had to circle back around to Happy Valley-Goose Bay. She said that was when she had to use the empty coffee cup and a plastic bag to urinate in.
"I had to wake up a passenger in order to hold on to my jacket while I used the washroom on the plane where there's other people sitting down, right, as cover to have a little bit of privacy, at least," she said.
Tuglavina said it was an embarrassing situation, but she had no other option.
"It was a choice between peeing in my pants, or peeing in a Tim Hortons cup."
Time for toilet solutions
Last week, CBC News reported about a man who had to pee in a plastic bag on board an Air Canada Express flight travelling to Labrador that left other passengers disgusted.
Shortly after the report, residents in small coastal communities said it isn't just the planes that have no washroom, but the airports, as well.
Liberal MHA Randy Edmunds says it's time for the province to figure out a way to keep toilets flushing in small Labrador airports to avoid the horror stories making the news.
Edmunds, who represents Torngat Mountains, said coastal Labrador airports still need access to adequate washroom facilities, even though they're relatively small.
"This winter we've had cases of 40, 45 C below where passengers have to duck out behind the building to use the bathroom [outside]. In this day and age, it's not necessary and I don't think it's that hard with the technology these days to go and assess the situation and install a system," he said.
According to Edmunds, this is a problem that should be familiar to government.
"I know this winter, the past minister of Works, Services and Transportation with some of his people passed through, and one of his staff actually wanted to use the bathroom and couldn't do it, so they know about it," he said.
Edmunds said these out-of-order washrooms have been the status quo for a while, but it's time to make a change.
"I think it takes a story like the one about the passenger on the plane … a lot of people just take it for granted the toilets are going to freeze up, it's a common thing, but people are just starting to realize that, 'Hey, this is not good enough,'" he said. "We should be able to have the same as everyone else in the province in their airports."
He added that portable toilets may be a simple solution to the problem, allowing people the necessary facilities without having to urinate in a snowbank.
Edmunds said the issue hadn't been brought up in the House of Assembly before, but it's something he'll be bringing up in future.