The pilot of a Canadian airliner who went to the washroom during a flight found himself locked out of the cockpit, forcing the crew to remove the door from its hinges to let him back in, the airline said Wednesday.
The incident occurred aboard a flight from Ottawa to Winnipeg Saturday. The regional jet, capable of carrying 50 people, was operated by Air Canada's Jazz subsidiary.
Jazz spokeswoman Manon Stewart said that with 30 minutes of the flight to go, the pilot went to the washroom, leaving the first officer in charge. But when he tried to get back into the cockpit, the door would not open.
"The door malfunctioned.... This is a very rare occurrence," Stewart said, adding that the crew's decision to remove the door had been in line with company policy.
A report in the Ottawa Citizen newspaper said that for about 10 minutes "passengers described seeing the pilot bang on the door and communicating with the cockpit though an internal telephone but being unable to open the door".
Stewart said the paper's report was "a bit dramatic" and stressed that at no time had the plane or passengers been in danger. She did not say how many people had been on board.
Air Canada is a unit of ACE Aviation Holdings Inc.