Fun fact: pilots + toilets

Did you know that nowadays (at least in lufthansa) there can’t be only one human in th cockpit? I spoke to a pilot in lufthansa today and he told me that before the Germanwings accident it was still allowed to have only one pilot in the cockpit at one time. After the accident though, lufthansa immediately changed their procedures.

Now when pilots go to the toilet they firstly have to call the head steward, get him or her into the cockpit, let the pilot walk out and once the pilot gets back into the cockpit the steward gets out.

I know this is a pretty basic fact and easily understandable but I am really surprised that the procedure was only put in place after the accident with the Germanwings.

What are your thoughts on this? Is there any more convenient way to do it?


This is now it is in the United States as well. I was flying down to St.Kitts and in the middle of the flight, one of the pilots had to go use the bathroom so they called the head flight steward so she/he can sit in the cockpit while the other pilot uses the bathroom

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This is pretty much the best way to do it in my thinking. I feel someone would try to attack the steward if they really insisted on bringing the plane down, but things will always go wrong because people who do that stuff are morons.

The head steward might not know how to unlock the door for the pilot if the co-pilot locked it for example, if they are trained properly then it’s a good way to attempt to prevent any accidents in the future, if they aren’t then it’s pointless to do this.


Switzerland federal aviation authorities, have decided to cancel this obligation, they’ve decided to recommand it but airline do as they want, by considering safety influence.

Pilots think that it’s a bit stressful for crew memebers and dangerous because the cockpit door is open more than two times and longer as usual so a potential terrorist can try to enter the cockpit.


It is a shame that it comes to this but I am ok with it. They also started to put the carts between them and the walkway as a bufffer. Some flights would have someone stand up at first class also to block it.


I’ve seen this before. They sometimes even put the food cart in the aisle to block and make it more difficult for intruders to enter the cockpit.

Knew it before, other airlines had this procedure earlier.
Turkish Airlines for example lock the way to the cockpit with a meal trolley as well.

Wish it wouldn’t have taken a tragedy for them to change their procedures but it always takes something drastic for humans to change how we think.

I noticed that when I flew Sunwing. The flight attendant stood in front of the cockpit door with the food cart blocking the cockpit so the co-pilot could use the restroom

Well the Germanwings incident was the first solid evidence of a commercial pilot suicide by intentionally crashing an aircraft. That’s how it works in aviation. The policies put into place after an accident are only there because of accidents that no one could predict could happen. Take 9/11 for example. American 77. The pilots were not killed but handed over control to the terrorists because the understanding was that hijackers only hijacked and flew an aircraft to an airport to makes demands and negotiate, not intentionally crash them.

thats actually good in a way but its not good in a way because your trying to that you dont trust your pilots. and its good because if that pilot does have any ideas then that flight attendant is there.

This down to airline specific policy in Europe. EASA has not made any regulation to this effect so individual airlines have responded as they see fit. LH, based on what the OP has said, requires someone to go in when a pilot comes out. However, many European airlines have not adopted that practice and do not require two people in the cockpit at all times.

As a passenger point of view it’s great! It’s just adds another level of safety, especially after the Germanwing crash.

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Shame that we need to do things like this, if only we had a safer world…

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I can understand the concern, but I think this is going a little too far. Just because of one tragic accident, doesn’t mean that every pilot who happens to be alone in the cockpit has the intentions of bringing down an airliner. I do understand why they put in this procedure though.

Nice thoughts. To further elaborate the pilot told me that of course it’s a very ineffecient process but after his colleague made that decision everything changed in the airline, lufthansa that is.