Water System Inoperable On Plane

April 28, 2010

in Airplane Stories

We flew on United flight 862 from SGN/HKG/SFO on July 15, 2009 in FC. Upon re-boarding in HKG, the Captain announced pre-takeoff that the mechanical water system was not working and there would be no water available in the potable water taps or toilet water system. Therefore, the Captain stated the Flight Attendants had placed sanitizer spray bottles in the toilets for passenger use when washing hands.

UA 862 is at least 12.5 hrs flying time. The toilets smelled very foul on United 862 on July 15 and this was very obnoxious to passengers and crew, some of whom I noticed wore paper face masks when peering in the toilet area. Each time my wife and I used the toilets, which were shared with Business Class and various Economy passengers coming up to use the toilets, the smell became greater.

I have been traveling for 35+ years on international flights with United and previously Pan Am, and this is the first time I have ever been on a flight which announced at take-off that the on-board potable and toilet water system was not operating. I believe this reflects poor maintenance of United’s planes and is a poor image for a premium route such as HKG to SFO. I hope to never fly again on such a filthy type operation of United.

{ 24 comments… read them below or add one }

Sam April 28, 2010 at 6:55 pm

That is disgusting!!! I remember sitting through a 23 hr flight and the bathroom started leaking and soaked at least half the aisle…

How could they even take off with such an high priority issue since it was going to be a long flight…


Quizical July 23, 2014 at 10:23 am

23 hour flight?


Nitro April 28, 2010 at 7:38 pm

Flew on Olympic from Athens to New York back in the 70's. Just after takeoff, they announced that the lavatories were completely inoperable – all of them! It was a long, long, flight. Fortunately, we had to make an unscheduled fuel stop at Gander, Newfoundland, due to headwinds. Its amazing how fast an airplane can clear out when everybody has been holding it for 7 hours!


Jody April 29, 2010 at 12:36 am

This sounds fishy to me. In 2009 a plane would take off knowing there was no potable water? None of the airports the poster mentions are in third world undeveloped areas.


Chris April 29, 2010 at 1:39 am

Back in 2006 I was on a flight from PHL to BWI (15 to 20 Minutes in the air or so) and the plane didn't take off because of a broken toilet. So something is not adding up…


The logger April 29, 2010 at 2:45 am

Next time, shit on the floor.

That will get their attention.


madachode April 29, 2010 at 4:59 am

even better, next time don't travel to the third world, stay home.


Laura May 6, 2010 at 3:42 pm

You stupid troglodyte. Singapore and HK are developed business hubs, you cow.


david May 6, 2010 at 5:07 pm

laura- SGN is in Vietnam (Ho Chi Minh City) not Singapore (SIN)

but Hong Kong is very developed (more so then many US cities)


david April 29, 2010 at 7:03 am

FAA regulations state that there must be a working toilet and water system

if this isnt followed then there will be massive fines and lawsuits can start


ahole April 29, 2010 at 8:56 am


you are wrong. i have searched faa.gov and gone through the OPERATING REQUIREMENTS: DOMESTIC, FLAG, AND SUPPLEMENTAL OPERATIONS.

there is nothing regarding requiring working toilets and and water systems.

as a matter of fact, upon further review of other sites, i found the following:

Smaller commuter aircraft and regional aircraft designed for very short flights may not be equipped with lavatories. Recently, many regional airlines in North America have commenced the trend of eliminating the refilling of hand washing basin potable water tanks in order to reduce weight and reduce labor service costs, thus generating increased airline profits derived through added fuel savings due to reduction of aircraft weight and employee labor expenses. To facilitate sanitation, disinfectant hand-wipes are provided.

next time, don't be so quick to call someone out.

if you can point me to the regulation that requires running watter and working toilets, i would gladly apologize. until then, you are and continue to be a douche.




david April 29, 2010 at 11:31 am

considering that A) this flight was long haul and B) Due to health reason's the flight would not be allowed to fly due to this hazard

My friend who works inline with the FAA showed me this regulation a year ago when we were traveling from ewr to slc and the flight next to us was canceled due to this reason, he showed me the section number n such and showed me on his iPhone the regulation

I believe it may also be in the geneva convention

either way it is a regulation due to health hazards

short haul flights maybe different due to the time spent on the plane and relative health effects……believing that people can/should be able to hold it in until they land


david April 29, 2010 at 11:33 am

just to make sure you understand long haul = international flight of several hours (hong kong to san fran


xxx April 18, 2013 at 11:14 pm

ahh right we should believe you because your friend said so.

Well my friend beside me says your a douche, that must be true too


patsytp March 20, 2016 at 11:00 pm

Um the Geneva Convention generally deals with abducted children across international borders… not toilets without the cpacity to flush. Just saying…


Zombie March 22, 2016 at 9:48 am

The Geneva Conventions are a series of treaties that are considered the "rules of war." Among those are rules on the treatment of prisoners of war:

Prisoners of war shall have for their use, day and night, conveniences which conform to the rules of hygiene and are maintained in a constant state of cleanliness.

Article 29


The Alchemist April 29, 2010 at 7:26 am

Were all of the bathrooms out of order, or just first class? In the former case I would expect the flight to be held at the gate for repairs. The latter is merely an inconvenience, requiring the first class passengers to get in line with the passengers in coach.


The logger April 29, 2010 at 7:36 am

Would the opposite be true, if the only operating shithouse was in first class, and all the stinkers and fatties and riff-raff had to line up in the first class aisle?

Would the first class passengers put up with the farting and belching or would there be a class war?


Karl April 29, 2010 at 1:22 pm

Logger, you are an idiot! I heard and smelled a lot of first class doing just that. The only difference is, first class people have on top of it an ego problem like you. The name Loggerhead is more appropriate for you.


The logger April 30, 2010 at 1:58 am


Which one are you:

A) Stinker

B) Fattieboombalaty

C) Seat Kicker

D) Floor shitter

E) Mal-Wart dweller

By the way, I cut wood for a living, and do not lay eggs on the beach.


Karl April 30, 2010 at 8:42 am

Logger: It's Wal Mart, not Mal Wart! Now go back to your Wal Mart, you fit better in there because of your primitive language. Loggerhead is a stupid person but also means a type of sea turtle."Yo" mama should have laid an egg on the beach instead to have a two legged loggerhead. Now put your dumb looking lumber shirt back on and go back in your cave, missing link! I wrote this as simple as I can, so you are able to understand.


the logger May 3, 2010 at 12:55 am

Hello Karl, Its the logger.

Nice to hear from you. Just writing to address your concerns about the various issues that you have raised:

1) It is Mal- Wart, as this organization is a parasitic organism sucking the life out of America.

2) Attacking my mother is an immature way to indirectly attack me.

3) I do not wear "lumber shirts", and if it were not for people like me willing to sling a chain saw, you would be wiping your ass with your finger.

4) I do not live in a cave, but on 100 acres of mixed forest and pasture land

where I raise quarter horses and am able to distance myself from folks like you.

Thank you.

Best regards,

The Logger


crella May 14, 2010 at 9:50 am

United seems to have that problem, two toilets wouldn't flush on one of my parent's trips to Japan, the remaining toilets got pretty gross by the time they arrived.


Stories From The Air April 21, 2013 at 2:14 am

UA isn't the only airline with this problem. I had experienced this too on one of the world's most well known for its service airline.


Leave a Comment
Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Previous post:

Next post: