Most people who have flown on a plane think the following facts are true, but they are not.

They are, in fact, myths that have grown and are so widespread many people believe them to be true.

Fact 1 –

Toilet waste is dropped out of the plane while it is flying.


When you use the loo on the plane and flush, your waste does not slip through pipes and end up floating away.

Imagine all that human waste floating about up there, frozen solid? Yuck!

Then imagine it plummeting to Earth! Yikes!

Toilets on planes work very differently from those on the ground.

When you flush at home, gravity takes over and the water rushes into the bowl and pushes the waste through the sewerage system.

Gravity doesn’t work that way thousands of feet up in the air.

Instead, there is a vacuum system that takes your waste away. If you’ve ever used the toilet on a plane you would have heard that rather unnerving, sucking sound – that’s the vacuum!

If human waste was jettisoned it would form into sheets of ice. This would interfere with atmosphere and may result in damaging the plane.

The waste disposal unit cannot be opened even if the airlines wanted it to because the lever is on the outside of the plane and cannot be reached by anyone while the plane is in flight.

The waste is actually deposited and held in large tanks until the plane lands at the airport.

Then the tanks are emptied and the waste disposed of properly.

Fact 2 –

A person can become ill from the stale air inside an airplane because it is full of germs


Even on long flights the air inside the plane’s cabin is kept fresh and filtered.

Compressors are used to take about 50% of the air away and it is mixed with fresh air from outside. This is heated by the plane’s engines and then the air is pushed through highly refined filters which sterilize it.

When people complain about feeling unwell on a plane it could be down to a few reasons, but the quality of the air is not one of them.

When we travel we tend to change our habits and behaviours.

This might include drinking more alcohol and not moving around much.

As well, planes have a very low humidity which causes dehydration if travellers don’t drink a lot of water.

If you are unlucky enough to sit next to someone who is sick or you touch an item where germs are sitting, you might feel sick, but the germs are not in the air.

So, will you feel more confident next time you fly knowing your toilet waste is safely stowed on board and that you feel unwell because you partook in too many alcoholic beverages?

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