Nfld. & Labrador

Man pees in bag on no-bathroom Air Canada Express flight

One man's relief triggered a woman's disgust during a recent flight from Deer Lake on the west coast of Newfoundland to Wabush, in western Labrador.

Mechanical problem forced operator to use aircraft without bathroom

A Labrador woman is appalled that a fellow passenger had to urinate on flight, reports Christopher Ensing 2:28

One man's relief triggered a woman's disgust during a recent flight from Deer Lake on the west coast of Newfoundland to Wabush, in western Labrador.

Karen Janes was flying home with her two children on April 30 following an Easter visit with relatives in Springdale, about an hour's drive from Deer Lake.

She was initially concerned when the agent at the airport announced there was no bathroom on the plane.

Others were equally surprised.

"I proceeded to get on the plane and we were only on there probably 10 minutes and I see this gentleman behind me kind of looking around and he says to me, "Is there a washroom on board? And I says, 'No, there's no washroom on board,'" Janes recalled.

What happened next left her dumbfounded.

"So a couple of moments later we started going up in the air and he tapped me on the shoulder and he said, 'Can you move your son? I need to pee.'"

Not once, but twice

With that, Janes said the man peed into a bag. Twice.

"I'm feeling really uncomfortable and disgusted," she said. "One for the fact that there's no bathroom on this plane, and two that this man is urinating behind me with my six-year-old son just ahead of me. The gentleman may very well have had a problem ... so, ya know, I don't blame the gentleman for that."

She does, however, blame the airline and operator.

The plane was a Beechcraft 1900 turbo prop operated by EVAS Air Charters for Air Canada Express. The flight was full with 19 passengers at the time, with a scheduled stop in Happy Valley-Goose Bay, and total flying time of about three hours.

A spokesperson for EVAS said a mechanical issue forced the company to use a substitute plane which had no bathroom.

"We do have a lavatory on the aircraft flying in Labrador," Florence White told CBC News in an email response. "However, we also have some aircraft which are reserved for very short routes that do not. On this particular day, due to a mechanical issue with our regular aircraft, we had to substitute an aircraft without a lav."

Passengers forewarned

White said an announcement was made at the gate before boarding, which was confirmed by Air Canada spokeswoman Isabelle Arthur.

"This was a very unfortunate experience and we will be responding directly to this customer," said Arthur, adding passengers were advised to use the bathroom before boarding.

Transport Canada, which is primarily responsible for safety, does not stipulate whether aircraft must have bathrooms or not.

But a spokeswoman said it usually depends on the size of the plane.

"Aircraft configured with 20 or more passenger seats generally have enough space within the fuselage to accommodate at least one washroom, while those with 19 or fewer seats do not."

Janes, meanwhile, said the operator should have been better prepared, insisting bathrooms are non-negotiable.

"For me, I was just very upset and shocked that there was no bathroom on this flight. There was no indication when I booked the ticket that there was no bathroom on board."

She also said other people have told her it's not the first time that flight has been lavatory-less.

Janes said she paid about $2,400 for three tickets but that will be the last time, if there's an alternative.

"We're not going to stand for these short-haul flights that have no bathrooms. We need bathrooms on this kind of public transportation. We pay good money for these flights."


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