The irony was lost on no one.
A Norwegian Air flight turned around 20 minutes after departure because of a broken toilet onboard. The situation would be unremarkable if not for the fact that 85 of the passengers were plumbers.
The flight from Oslo to Munich was carrying a battalion of Norwegian plumbers, including 65 from the same company. But despite their professional expertise, the plumbers could not fix the faulty facilities.
“We would have liked to fix the restrooms, but unfortunately it had to be done from the outside and we did not take the opportunity to send a plumber [out] at 10,000 metres,” the CEO of the plumbing company, Frank Olsen, told Norwegian newspaper Dagbladet.
However, plumbers are good sports and “'there was a good atmosphere in the plane, what with the irony about the broken toilets,” Olsen said.
The plane circled around and landed back at Oslo Airport about 65 minutes after its departure. Once back on the ground, Norwegian engineers repaired the toilet while the plumbers waited with the rest of the passengers.
“Flight DY1156 from Oslo to Munich on Saturday January 27 returned to Oslo due to a technical fault with the toilet,” a spokesperson for Norwegian confirmed. “The aircraft was repaired and continued with the flight later that day. We would like to thank passengers for their patience and would like to apologise for the inconvenience.”
The flight arrived in Munich about 3.5 hours late.
This is at least the third time in two months that a plane has been forced to make an emergency stop due to a malfunctioning toilet onboard.
Onboard toilets are not a passenger right. The Federal Aviation Administration leaves the decision to operate a flight with a broken toilet up to individual airlines. However, with the increase of social media and video taping on flights, airlines may make the decision to delay flights in order to provide basics, like a working toilet.