The first time the doctor tried to use the toilet on the Southwest flight, it was occupied by the captain, so he went back to his seat. When he saw the captain come out, he got up to go again when he was pushed back into his seat by airline staff. Apparently this was because it looked like he was trying to get near the cockpit, which is against the law if the cockpit is not secure.
This was explained to the doctor, however, when the plane landed there were police waiting there for him. He was handcuffed and taken to a detention center where they took his mugshots and fingerprints. Post a night in the detention center alongside 43 other accused people, the doctor was taken to court and asked to plead guilty to misdemeanor assault and pay a fine of $2,500.
Not knowing what to do and to avoid costly court proceedings, the doctor decided to plead guilty.
How crazy and paranoiac is this whole situation!? To me it looks like an old man on his way to a medical conference in Las Vegas attempts to use the bathroom on a flight and the next thing you know he’s been marked a criminal and is in court pleading guilty to an assault accusation.
Why couldn’t the airline staff just request him to use another bathroom on the plane? Why all this drama? Even if it was a case of racial discrimination post 9/11, it went far beyond reason. The poor guy must be traumatized and I don’t blame him.
Southwest Airlines defends how it handled the situation; they saw the old man as a potential threat because he wanted to get close to the cockpit. Excuse me, but that’s where the toilet was! The airline customer service sent him a compensatory letter with a $100 voucher for the next flight he takes on Southwest.
He is suing the airline for humiliation and arrest.