When is The Best Time to Go to the Bathroom on a Plane? A Flight Attendant Tells All

by | Jan 15, 2018

Close up on airline stewardess on tarmac
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Last updated on April 21st, 2024

A flight attendant tells all…

Curated by Evelyn Hannon, Founder, JourneyWoman

Ruth Wilson is a Sydney-Australia-based Qantas flight attendant. She is also a member of the Journeywoman Network and was happy to answer our query regarding the easiest times to access the washroom on an aircraft.

Ruth writes…”Sick of standing in long queues for the bathroom on flights? The key to finding a free washroom is all in the timing. Usually, most passengers wait until after the meal trays are completely collected to clamber over their fellow travellers. Then they have to wait, wait, wait for interminable lengths in the loo-line-up.

Here are a few “hostie” (that’s what we call flight attendants in our part of the world) tips about the best times to “Go” on an aircraft.

Tips on when to ‘go’ on an aircraft

Next time you travel, check-in early and try to get an aisle seat. These are much better for the quick getaway to powder your nose, go to the galley for drinks or to exercise a little in mid-flight.

Once installed in your aisle seat, check out the nearest toilet location and “Go” before take-off (no you won’t do any damage to the ground crew underneath the aircraft). Remember, sometimes there can be a long wait for a takeoff slot and you won’t be allowed to leave your seat until the seatbelt sign is extinguished at the top of the ascent.

After the bar service and before the meal service, if you feel the urge, “Go”, as when the crew come through the cabin with the meal carts — it’s already too late — you’re blocked.

Finally, act quickly after you finish your meal and before the trays are collected from anywhere in Economy. Carefully holding your used meal tray, extricate yourself from your seat, replace the tray onto the tray table and “Go.” In most cases, you’ll find that the impenetrable barrier of the meal tray will have stopped most of your other fellow travellers and you’ll have free choice of the amenities.

All “hosties” know that to avoid dehydration you should be drinking copious litres of water and avoiding coffee, tea and alcohol. If you’re a savvy traveller, you’ll do the same. Happy and comfortable flying, ladies!

Tanzila Khan next to a Ryan Air plane

Women’s words on toilets…

Men have always got so many “good reasons” for keeping their privileges. If we had left it to the men “toilets” would have been the greatest obstacle to human progress. “Toilets” was always the reason women couldn’t become engineers, or pilots, or even members of parliament. They didn’t have women’s toilets.

(Hazel Hunkins Hallinan, 1983 Source: The New Beacon Book of Quotations by Women)

Women’s words on flying…

I don’t think airplanes have to go that high. That is not necessary, to be that high in the air. I think they’re showing off, those pilots. I think we could just go really fast just a few feet off the ground. Just high enough to miss the animals.

(Ellen DeGeneres, Mirabella, 1992 Source: The New Beacon Book of Quotations by Women)

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