June 14, 2002 -- Airline officials are trying to figure out if there is anything to be done after a Georgia congressman urinated into a cup on a flight from Washington to Atlanta on Thursday night.
Democratic Rep. Sanford Bishop, flying from Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport to Hartsfield Airport on Delta Flight 1717, got up to go to the bathroom after the mandatory half-hour when passengers must stay seated, but found the lavatories on the airplane occupied, his office and aviation sources said.
Sanford then asked a flight attendant for a cup, and "may" have said he intended to relieve himself, his office said.
He went to a section of the plane between the cockpit and first-class, then urinated into the cup, said Bishop spokesman Selby McCash, who described the congressman as "a very gracious and courtly gentleman."
No one accused him of exposing himself to the flight attendants or crew.
Controversy Over Dire Straits
There is some disagreement, however, over how dire the congressman's straits were.
McCash said Bishop had drunk a large amount of coffee, the flight had been delayed, and by the time the half-hour in the air was up, long lines for the bathroom formed at either end of the plane.
Bishop was in the middle of the craft and "in distress," McCash said.
After he relieved himself, he waited for a lavatory to become available, and "disposed of the cup," the spokesman said.
Sources, however, insist there was no line, and said the congressman simply couldn't wait.
Authorities briefly detained and questioned Bishop after the plane landed because the spot he chose to relieve himself is a secure area.
Delta officially had no comment on the incident.