Chatauqua Airlines said the pilot, who was flying Wednesday from Asheville, N.C., to LaGuardia Airport, took a bathroom break shortly before the plane's scheduled landing and the latch on the door jammed, the New York Post reported Thursday.
The captain called for help, and a man sitting in the front row of the plane responded. The pilot asked the passenger, who had a foreign accent, to alert the crew in the cockpit to the situation.
However, the co-pilot was spooked when the man knocked on the door to the cockpit.
"The captain disappeared in the back, and, uh, I have someone with a thick foreign accent trying to access the cockpit," the co-pilot told air traffic controllers. "What I'm being told is he's stuck in the lav (lavatory), and, uh, someone with a thick foreign accent is giving me a password to access the cockpit."
"I'm not about to let him in," he said, apparently not believing the man.
Fighter planes were alerted, but not scrambled, before the pilot managed to free himself from the lavatory.
The pilot returned to the cockpit in time to respond to a message asking if there was "any level of disturbance on the airplane."
"Negative," the pilot said. "The captain, myself, went back to the lavatory and the door latch broke and I had to fight my way out of it with my body to get the door open."