Man Tries to Open Plane Door at 30,000 Feet: Thought It Was Toilet

I’m genuinely not sure how this happens on an intra-Europe flight.

Frankly it’s the kind of thing you’d expect to happen after being in Amsterdam, not before even getting there.

A passenger who was banned for trying to open a jet door at 30,000ft claims he mistook it for the toilet.

James Gray was fined 600 euros by KLM after the incident on an Edinburgh to Amsterdam to flight, and was told he can’t fly with them for five years.

He says airline staff accused him of trying to open the door of the plane, but he insists he only touched the handle after confusing it for the door to the toilet.

KLM’s punishment for attempting to open an aircraft door midflight is, apparently, a five year ban from the airline.

A 600 euro fine for something like that may not seem like much, and indeed it strikes me that it isn’t:

  • He only had 750 euros, so it wiped out his vacation. Except he apparently borrowed money from friends so he’d be able to enjoy his trip.

  • He had to buy another ticket to fly a different airline, which a friend paid for. Presumably KLM had to refund his return flight when refusing to transport him, and there’s no indication he paid the friend back, so it sounds like he actually comes out ahead financially on the event.

(HT: Phil M.)

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

More articles by Gary Leff »


  1. The really dumb thing about this is that it’s physically impossible to open an aircraft door while the cabin is pressurized unless you’re the Incredible Hulk. KLM know this, so why the 5-year ban?

  2. @Gary, your funny comment reminds me of a slow train trip I took from Amsterdam to Brussels. The chatty but incoherent young man seated in front of me absolutely reeked of weed. He twice attempted to disembark through the window while arriving at small stations. After the second attempt the conductor was called and at the next station forced the pax to exit through the doorway, with a stern warning to not board another train until the following day. [Oddly enough, this particular pax was also from Edinburgh]. Wonder if this type of behavior is common in Amsterdam?

  3. if it was as inadvertent as he suggests then why didn’t he contest the fine?
    Recently I was sitting next to an exit door on UA and one of the small panels (held on by Velcro) kept on falling off onto me so I tried to make a temporary repair – no problem from anyone; but I guess if someone made a fuss I could have lost my global entry? (which apparently you can loose for lots of silly reasons)

  4. @ Mason I don’t really care if it is not possible to open the door. If someone is trying to open the door on a plane in mid-flight I don’t want them on my plane at all ever. Five years seems light to me for someone who (if they were not mistaken which seems like a hard mistake to make) was seemingly trying to kill everyone on board.

  5. If his name had been Ali or Ahmed, this would been 25 years jail sentence in Guantanamo bay, instead of slap on the wrists.

Leave a Reply

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