An airplane bathroom is a crude and scary place. There is a sink that dispenses water of questionable potability and the powerful vacuum toilet that has the potential to crush human bones. Therefore, its usage calls for some civility. From Smarter Travel, to make the experience better for everyone, easy-to-follow behavioral guidelines.

  1. Don’t Make a Mess – “Leave the world better than you found it,” said someone who spent time in a 3 x 3-foot aircraft lavatory sullied with puddles of questionable liquid and crumpled paper-towel balls. (Actually, it was Robert Baden-Powell.) Follow this motto in the plane loo: Wipe down the sink. Deposit used paper towels in the trash can. Courtesy flush (for more information, look it up on Urban Dictionary). And—if you only perform one act of consideration for fellow flyers, let it be this—please flush when you are finished with your business; though this seems like an obvious action, evidence suggests that a large number of travelers can’t bother with closing the lid and pushing the flush button. Humans flush toilets. This is what we do. I’ve known travelers to clean the bathroom before using it: They bring a Lysol wipe and get to work. When finished using the bathroom, do a quick wipe-down before you leave to earn bonus karma points.
  2. Don’t Object To Aisle-Seat Traffic –  Once, on a long-haul international flight during which I was stuck in the middle seat, the woman who occupied the adjacent aisle seat freely expressed her irritation by way of eye rolls and audible sighs when I needed to access the lavatory. I was not abusing my bathroom privileges. I politely said, “Excuse me,” and tried to become pancake-flat when shuffling by. I got out of my seat twice during the entire six-hour trip—but the soulless aisle fascist decided this was two times too many. With great power comes great responsibility. If you sit near the aisle, be prepared for your seatmates to walk all over you. It’s the trade-off you accept for the perk of sitting next to a heavenly pocket of empty space. One never knows if a seatmate suffers from a medical condition that necessitates frequent bathroom visits, or if he or she ate some contaminated street food. (We are talking about travel here.) Let’s hold the judgment.
  3. For The Love Of All Things Holy, Don’t Forget To Lock The Door – Barring illness or a plane crash, an aircraft-lavatory “surprise” is arguably the scariest thing that can happen in the sky. Is it worse to be the person who mistakenly opens the door of an occupied bathroom or the passenger caught with his or her pants down? This longstanding philosophical debate may never reach a conclusion. But all can agree that a simple turn of the lock will save untold innocents from crushing indignity

Check out the remainder of the list from Smarter Travel here.



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JohnB March 25, 2014 - 8:12 pm

Bette Davis would never use the lavs on an airplane, because she thought “whoever” might think that the mess that is usually in the lavs was made by her…..

Kalboz March 25, 2014 - 11:13 pm

Don’t drink the water … don’t even wash your teeth/mouth with it. Instead, take bottled water inside and use it.

DaninSTL March 26, 2014 - 5:46 am

So I’m guessing joining the “mile high club” is against the rules also.

The Isle Nazi. I agree. I am not a old person or would appear to be challenged but I have circulation problems and I have to get up about once per hour. I do my best to get on the Isle so I can get up easy AND so I get the excuse to get up when my seat mates need up. I actually enjoy the chance to stretch for a minute.

I second the water in the lav issue. I’m afraid to wash my hands in it, although I do. The worse is if I’m on an international overnight flight I usually take my contact lens out and need to wash my hands to do so, eeek.


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