Sitting in the Mile-High John

Scott Simon reviews the plight of a man who is suing JetBlue because he claims the airline made him sit on the toilet for a portion of his flight across the country.

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SCOTT SIMON, host:

This is Weekend Edition from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon

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SIMON: So what do you expect when you fly standby, your own cabana? A New York man named Gokhan Mutlu is suing JetBlue for $2 million because he says they made him spend most of a flight in the bathroom. Mr. Mutlu was flying from San Diego to New York last February on a standby voucher that JetBlue employees can give friends. He says he was told that an off-duty flight attendant also traveling to New York would sit on a jump seat so he could have the last seat on the aircraft. But the flight attendant found the jump seat uncomfortable. Mr. Mutlu says in court papers that about 90 minutes into the flight, a pilot told him he'd have to relinquish his seat to the flight attendant. Because only airline employees can sit in the jump seat, the one place left for Mr. Mutlu to sit was on the toilet. When Mr. Mutlu resisted according to the suit, the pilot said, quote, "This was his plane, under his command, and that Mr. Mutlu should be grateful for being on board." At some point later he was permitted to return to his original seat. The lawsuit contends that Mr. Mutlu was endangered because the toilet does not have a seatbelt and of course, in a bathroom, the possibilities of in-flight entertainment are limited.

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