Trapped in an airport toilet

Travel with kids sad boy if trapped in a toilet cubicle

My son Liam is a runner. You know those kid leads? They’re kinda like a dog lead but masked with a monkey backpack and tail. I always wanted to get one of those. I just couldn’t deal with the many judging eyes of strangers: “Can’t you control your son?”, “A child is not a dog”, “You shouldn’t have kids”, they’d be thinking when they saw the kid leash.

On our recent trip to New Zealand, we were boarding our very late flight,when my husband “really” had to go to the toilet. Before I could stop my son, he ran after him saying that he needed to go too. Can’t you wait!? I was thinking. Ok, the line to board was long and we had a bit of time. It was just a wee. No worries.

Apparently, Liam didn’t want to use the urinal, which is fair enough as I never use the urinal with him. Before my husband could stop him, however, he ran into the toilet cubicle and locked the door behind him, which is fair enough also. Bit of privacy to do your number ones. That’s cool.

The only thing is, he locked himself in the cubicle and somehow couldn’t turn the lock to open it again.

My husband was trying to open the lock from the outside. By this time he was frantic and Liam was screaming down the men’s toilet because he couldn’t get the door to unlock. Now, you would think that you could just ask him to crawl under the cubicle. For some reason, these toilet cubicles had all its walls and its door installed floor to ceiling. There was no opening to peer over or under the cubicle. Liam was completely trapped.

Meanwhile, I was with Layla in my harness, waiting to go onboard. There was nobody left in the line. The attendant at the gate is looking at me as if to say “Anytime, lady”. So before the attendant could stop me, I ran to check on the boys, leaving my bags unattended (tut-tut). I could hear Liam screaming and my husband simultaneously repeating, “Liam just turn the lock” while trying to kick down the door.

I’m not sure how long we were all in the gent’s toilet before the flight attendant came to check on us. He radioed airport maintenance and another bit of time passed. Liam was still sobbing in the cubicle. When the maintenance guy arrived, he responded as if this had happened before,which was good. I guess he knew what to do.

I was asked to go onboard with Layla and the bags. In hindsight, I should’ve just refused. What if the guy couldn’t have freed Liam in time. I could’ve been half-way to New Zealand with half the family! But I was assured that the pilot knew and they wouldn’t leave without us.

Have you ever boarded a plane and just waited for ages until the last annoying passenger boarded? Well, I have now been one of those annoying passengers. Cast not your judgement until you realise that they may have been trapped in a toilet cubicle!

My husband and a very rattled Liam all made it onboard. Liam was rewarded for all his strife with a gift of chocolates, presented to him by the pilot. How sweet!
Had I have had a monkey backpack, kid-type dog lead. It would’ve saved us all a lot of grief. Instead of running off with a “Mum, I need to go too…”. I would calmly pulled back on the lead and say, “Sit Liam”.

What do you think of those kids’ leads? Have you ever missed your flight or did the walk of shame onboard? Love to hear your comments below.

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