Here are a few things you should avoid doing in an airplane bathroom to make your trip — and your fellow passengers’ trip — go a little smoother.
10. Don’t Go in There Barefoot
We know that you want to kick off your shoes on a long flight, and that’s perfectly fine. Just don’t forget to put them back on before heading to the bathroom. That’s because there are a number of hazardous things on the bathroom floor and on the floor on the way to the bathroom, including water (or some other disgusting liquid), blood, vomit, glass, and bacteria. And, don’t even think about going to the bathroom in just your socks either.
9. Don’t Make a Mess
This goes without saying — at least it should anyway — but make sure you don’t make a mess when going to the bathroom on an airplane. And, if you do make a mess, clean it up. Bring along some anti-bacterial wipes with you to wipe down the sink and toilet seat/lid, throw your tissues and paper towels in the trash, flush the toilet, and put the lid back down after you’re done. And, if you happen to use the last of the toilet paper, let a flight attendant know so they can restock before the next person uses the bathroom.
8. Don’t Squat
Like any other public toilet, airplane toilets can be so nasty. And, while you may be tempted to squat over one, it’s best to actually sit down on it. ‘Airplane bathrooms are most likely cleaned regularly by the crew. Add any turbulence to squatting while you do your business, and you will have a particularly precarious situation on your hands (or pants or…I won’t go on),” Kalev Rudolph, health, travel, and lifestyle writer for ExpertInsuranceReviews.com told Reader’s Digest. Since it will only be your butt touching the seat, as opposed to your hands, which is where most germ transmission comes from, the risk of picking up germs will be minimal, Rudolph added.
TIP: You can always line the toilet seat with paper towels for added protection.
7. Don’t Forget the Coffee Grounds
When you’re at home and have to do number two, you more than likely reach for the Glade or Lysol air freshener. But, you can’t bring those things with you on the plane. There is something you can bring, however, to help keep the smell down, and it’s an old flight attendant trick. Grab some coffee grounds from the coffee maker in your hotel room or buy pre-made coffee packets at the grocery store, wrap them in napkins, and take them into the bathroom with you.
6. Don’t Pick the Wrong Time to Go
When it comes to using the lavatory on an airplane, timing is everything. In all honesty, it’s best to go before you even get on board. But, if you find you need to make a bathroom visit in-flight, the best time to go is just after the flight attendants bring out the beverage cart. That’s because no one else will bother to get up and go to the bathroom at that time since they don’t want to risk getting stuck behind the cart. As a result, you won’t have to wait in a long line.
TIP: Don’t try to use the bathroom right before takeoff or landing. According to an article published by Business Insider, pilots cannot legally take off with a passenger in the bathroom, and all passengers must remain seated with a clear, unobstructed escape route during both takeoff and landing.
5. Don’t Vape
It’s been illegal to light up cigarettes mid-air since 2000. And, the use of electronic cigarettes has been prohibited in-flight since October 2015. Unfortunately, that hasn’t stopped some e-cigarette and vape users from sneaking a puff or two in the airplane bathroom. Beware, though: if you get caught smoking or get caught tampering with the smoke detector, you could get hit with severe fines or even be arrested! Perhaps you should invest in a nicotine patch and or some nicotine gum. Or, you could just avoid flying until you can kick your habit altogether.
4. Don’t Dilly Dally
Remember, you’re not the only one on the plane, and chances are you won’t be the only one who needs to use the bathroom. That being said, don’t take all day long. Get in there, do what you’ve got to do, and get out. If someone knocks on the door, that’s a sign you’ve been in there way too long. “With limited facilities on many planes, long lav lines can form in a matter of minutes, most notably after meal trays are taken away,” Airfarewatchdog.com said on its website. “So be courteous to your fellow flyers and make your reign on the throne a short one.”
3. Don’t Forget to Lock the Door
Do yourself and your fellow passengers a favor and lock the door after going into the bathroom. The last thing you or they want is for you to get caught with your pants down. You most likely won’t have this problem anyway since nowadays, airplane bathrooms come with a lock and light switch that prevents the light from coming on until the door is locked. Still, it’s best to double-check, especially if you’re on one of those new planes that offer a bathroom with a view. If it’s still daytime, you won’t even notice that the light didn’t come on, and that could cause you to forget to lock the door, and before you know it, someone will have barged in on you.
2. Don’t Drink the Water
If you’ve ever been on an airplane, chances are you’ve seen the sign above the bathroom sink that says the water is non-potable — in other words, it’s not of drinking quality. But why is that? According to a test conducted by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), airplane bathroom taps contain a ton of bacteria, including some strains of the particularly dangerous bacteria known as E. coli. So, take a tip from the experts and don’t drink the water in the airplane bathroom. There’s no need to drink it anyway since you could just ask the flight attendant for a bottle of water.
1. Don’t Forget to Have an Exit Strategy
As we just mentioned, airplane bathrooms are crawling with bacteria. As a result, you need to avoid making physical contact with anything in the bathroom, especially the one thing that is the most commonly touched: the doorknob. Golden Rules Gal Lisa Grotts recommends using a tissue to open the door when you leave. “When I exit, I do not stop until I reach the closest trash to dump the tissue without touching any surfaces,” Grotts told Reader’s Digest. Also, make sure you have some hand sanitizer with you to use once you get back to your seat.
Need more air travel tips? Here are ten things you should never do at an airport.