Sewage water from clogged Nashville International Airport toilet soaks hundreds of pieces of passenger luggage

Saturday, August 12, 2017 by

A number of Southwest Airlines passengers were treated to a foul-smelling surprise at Nashville International Airport in Tennessee on Friday, August 4. Roughly 380 pieces of luggage were removed from a baggage carousel after sewer water began trickling from the ceiling and onto the bags. Airport officials noticed the problem at 5 a.m. then traced the source of the leak back to the women’s restroom near Gate C-5, with the apparent cause of the overflow being a single toilet stuffed with paper towels.

According to, the sewer water gushed out of the toilet, into the restroom floor, then poured into a baggage-handling area being used by Southwest Airlines at the time, contaminating 200 bags belonging to passengers that had checked in for morning flights. Although airport officials acted quickly, they stated that few of the bags may have been more exposed than others. The bags were held and cleaned , while others had to be replaced. Moreover, an environmental team was called in to sanitize the affected area.

As a result of the incident, 10 flights were delayed for 10 to 20 minutes.

Speaking to, Southwest passenger Kate Riley stated that she had no idea her bag was among those affected until several hours later. “We were in Nashville, and they came on right before we boarded and said, ‘Oh, we’re having some issues with the luggage. Don’t worry. We’re getting all the bags on; there’s just an issue. But we’re just gonna load up and we’re gonna take off’,” said Riley. She added that she was only notified of the issue after landing in Florida and going to the baggage claim area.

“And the issue is, things happen. I mean, if a pipe bursts and our bags are covered in sewage, OK. But why did they board us and make us leave? People had issues that we could’ve dealt with in Nashville. They knew that getting us on the plane, letting us happily fly out of Nashville with no luggage,” said Riley.

In response to the incident, Riley stated that Southwest Airlines offered to pay her $100 per day as compensation. Moreover, she was informed that she could claim restitution if desired.

A representative for the Metropolitan Nashville Airport Authority commented in a statement: “The Airport Authority regrets the mishap with the plumbing and we apologize to all who may have been inconvenienced. We also salute all who responded so quickly to remedy the situation and return luggage to passengers.”

Far from being the first time a toilet has caused problems for the Nashville International Airport, a near-identical scene occurred on June 1 of this year but no baggage was contaminated.

Airport officials said that they intend on making structural changes to the drainage system of the airport in order to prevent similar incidents from happening in the future. (Related: Virgin flight rerouted after ‘toilet explodes,’ forcing passengers to vomit in aisle and sit ‘in crap for 6 hours wearing a face mask’)

Go to for more stories on the problems caused by people who should know better.

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