Travel Etiquette: Do you avoid using the lavatory?

Travel Etiquette: Do you avoid using the lavatory?

Last Updated on June 22, 2020 by Amanda Stancati

We asked, you answered! 

Do you lean on other people’s seats as you pass by? Do you create a lineup or wait at your seats? Do you chat loudly as people are sleeping and disrupt other passengers? Do you totally avoid the trip there at all costs? 

It always amazes me that as soon as the seatbelt light goes off, a dozen people head for the toilets. Can’t they use the airport ones while they are waiting in the departure lounge? There are no lineups there, there is plenty of room, you don’t have to brace yourself against the walls if there is turbulence, you can take your time especially if you have constipation and you don’t have to piss people off on your way there. Pardon the pun. – Charlie

If I don’t have an aisle seat, I’ll get up and go when my seat companion goes… IF I think I can’t last until the end of the flight. I try to avoid them at all costs. – Sue

Once again, I will usually last the 3 to 5 hours, Hopefully the airlines will someday figure out how to give us a little more room in the WC. I pity the larger people. Anyway, I try to not disturb other passengers, and will not get into a lineup if there is more than one person waiting. I would guess that some of the older passengers probably use depends.- Peter

Sometimes creating a line is inevitable isn’t it, though I try not to. However I will use the facilities just before boarding so I can avoid using the washroom on the plane, they are rather awkward. – Liz

Where do I start lol. Depending on the size of the plane, getting to the washroom is a battle in itself. Every flight that I have been on there is always a line at both ends of the plane. The larger airlines have 2 at either end and more room to walk down the aisles. But the 737s are so small just making your way there. And if the flight attendants are serving then the challenge begins as there is no way at all of getting through unless they back up for you. And when you do get there, always a line. Most of the people are generally very friendly and you can chit-chat while waiting. Some have even bought me a drink while I was waiting. And then there are the miserable ones who are yelling hurry up lol. But in the end everyone is there to do the same thing. – Darlene

After the second mini wine bottle I start to eyeball the lineup to the washroom. I’ve seen too many episodes of Mayday to know that I don’t want to be untethered in a lineup when we hit a severe down draft. When the line is down to 2 I throw off my seat belt while apologizing to the person next to me who has to slash their book, tuck their plastic cocktail glass under their arm and stash their tray table in 5 seconds flat. As etiquette demands, I apologize profusely. I’m now in line bracing myself on the seats on either side making sure not tangle my fingers into anyone’s hair (corn rows on the return flight). Once inside I grab the wall handles, frantically take care of business with visions of the that horrifying washroom scene from Snakes On A Plane in mind and exit in record time…much to the relief of the next in line. I try to ignore the eye roll of my seat mate, apologize again and then inadvertently rip out his ear buds on the way through. –  Marg

I avoid using the lu if at all possible but if I must, I try to pick a time when there is no line, I may chat quietly to others waiting but not if people are trying to sleep. I may steady myself by placing my hand on the back of a seat but only if necessary. – Nancy

I try to avoid their use as much as I can. I cannot remember the last time I needed one, although most of my flights now are 5 hours or less. I just board with my systems as empty as possible. However, I have no problem with those who hold on the aisle seatbacks as they move along to get to a washroom. Better that than a tumble onto someone. My observation has been if you wait for a vacant washroom while at your seat, you may not get to use one for quite a while. Not a problem for me, but for some it might be disastrous. Go ahead and line up – but if there are already 4 or 5 waiting, maybe look to another one or wait a bit if you can. – Wally

I don’t think you really want an answer to that question. I do what everyone would do in the lavatory no, I just go about my business I only speak to someone if they are waiting too, so if they have a greater need I would let them go first. I’m quiet. – Nora

Share your point of view in the comments below!


  1. I stand where the luggage enters the conveyor belt, then look for an area clear of people where I can grab it.

  2. I stand always slightly left of the exit luggage ramp because the majority of the people hover at the 1st possible luggage grab point. I can get my luggage stress and people free
    It’s one of the last spots prior to re- looping the circuit again

  3. I always stand nearest to the end of the belt its always far less crowded, I’m don’t have to fight over people and it is usually quicker.

  4. In the back, because mine never comes out first. I laugh at those right at the end of the belt or head of the line depending on perspective, They must think their will be first!! The process is not speeded up by waiting at the head of the line. How many seconds might one save?

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