This article in the Travel & Leisure talks about the best times to use airplane restrooms and a neat trick to fight odors on flights. It was an interesting point to read, and I offer you, the reader, a different perspective.
Erika Roth, a former flight attendant, recommends toilet usage as soon as the pilot turns off the seatbelt sign, as well as immediately before drink service. According to Erika, passengers can expect roughly ten minutes of peace, and perhaps up to twenty before a flight attendant checks in.
A Different Perspective on Restrooms Timing
While this makes sense, I immediately thought – wouldn’t everyone have the same thought process? Those who need to go during the boarding and take off phase may have more luck waiting until after that initial rush of desperation.
And again, most guests will need to go after the drink service, so during or before the service will make more sense. I usually approach it from a logical point of view – do not go during high-demand situations, but rather when there is a lull in the flight. One of the worst experiences is to get up to use the restroom and see a huge line.
I’d approach it from another stand point – to avoid any chance of emergency (or emergency landing!) – be sure to use the facilities before boarding. Go in the airport, or airport lounges, and perhaps stock up on medicines if you need them to tide you over. If you are unwell, do not fly.
“Ask an attendant for packets of coffee grounds, then hang them up in the lavatory,” she said. “The grounds will soak up the odor.”
Spare those around you and around the bathroom. Or, let them think the worst of you for the remainder of the flight. Your choice.
To recap, use the bathroom before flying, if possible. If necessary, avoid the lines by going during lull periods – before drink or meal service, and right after achieving the cruising altitude. Check both fore and aft bathrooms (if available), as some may be busier than others. May you never have an airplane bathroom emergency!
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