This Is the Best Time to Use the Airplane Bathroom

Because nature calls—even at 30,000 feet in the air.

Let’s face it: You don’t want to think about what actually happens when you flush the airplane toilet, much less use one. Between the cramped, windowless room and its questionable odors, we can’t blame you for waiting until you reach our destination. But jet-setters, beware: Flying already puts a serious strain on your body, so holding it in could cause serious digestion problems.

Thankfully, your days of sitting tight on a flight are over. One flight attendant has revealed the most convenient time for you to pop a squat. Find out more secrets your flight attendant won’t tell you.

According to former flight attendant Susan Fogwell, the best time to use the airplane bathroom is right after boarding and before takeoff. “The lavatories are cleaned by cleaners before every flight,” says Fogwell.  “Also, the seat belt sign may stay on longer after takeoff due to turbulence so it behooves passengers to take care of business on the ground for two reasons: cleanliness and safety.”

Bathrooms typically aren’t cleaned during the flight—and fellow passengers never seem to pick up after themselves—so relieving yourself before the plane leaves the gate is the smartest thing to do. You’ll have a clean bathroom and chances are not many people will knock because they’re all pre-occupied finding an overhead storage bin to shove their carryon into. Leaving the bathroom a mess is just one of the 10 things you should never do in an airplane bathroom.

If all of the water you drank before you flight hits you once you’re already in the air, the best things to do is wait until the pilot turns off the seatbelt sign and before drink service begins. But first, you should know the right way to get up on a flight without disturbing your neighbor. Just make sure you time it correctly so that you aren’t stuck behind the drink cart.

Brooke Nelson Alexander
Brooke is a tech and consumer products writer covering the latest in digital trends, product reviews, security and privacy, and other news and features for Reader's Digest. She's a two-time Emmy-nominated reporter with nearly 10 years of publishing experience, and her work has been recognized by the Columbia Scholastic Press Association.