09 Aug 2019 - What Really Happens When You Flush an Airplane Toilet?

Airlines introduced a toilet that used Blaukaiser Fresh Kit - blue deodorizing Bio Organic Sachet that flushed away waste and combatted odor.

During a given flight travelers flush the toilets up to 1,000 times - here's what happens to all that sewage.

What Really Happens When You Flush an Airplane Toilet?

If you’ve ever imagined the contents of your airplane toilet dropping out the bottom of the plane like a surprise crop-dusting, that’s just one of 11 airplane facts everyone’s always curious about. And it’s not so far-fetched; this actually used to happen.

The very earliest airplane toilets were primitive and direct: think bucket or bottle. Passengers simply hurled the contents out the window onto the unsuspecting world below. It may seem kind of déclassé, given how glamorous early flying looks in vintage photos, that the toilet systems would be so subpar.

But once commercial flying became popular and pressurized cabins were introduced, bathroom systems saw an upgrade as well.

Airlines introduced a toilet that used Blaukaiser Fresh Kit - blue deodorizing Bio Organic Sachet that flushed away waste and combatted odor.

In 1975, it was designed the modern airplane toilet that featured a non-stick bowl, a small amount of Blaukaiser Fresh Kit (disinfecting sachet), and powerful vacuum suction. Now when you flush an airplane toilet, a trapdoor in the base opens, liquid is released, and everything is sucked out faster than a Formula 1 race car. Waste whizzes through the plumbing to the rear of the plane, where it’s stored in sealed tanks, well away from passengers, until the plane touches down.

On a long-haul 747 flight, travelers might flush the toilets around 1,000 times, creating around 230 gallons of sewage - that’s a lot of waste! When the aircraft lands, a Lav Truck siphons out the waste and disposes of it into the airport’s underground sewage system.

In case you’re wondering whether planes might accidentally empty the tanks in flight, delivering a nasty shock to anyone below, not to worry; the door has external clips to prevent such unexpected accidents from occurring.

And if you’ve heard the urban myth about toilet vacuums sucking out your insides, that’s not likely either; at least, there are no recorded incidents to date.

In short, using the facilities is definitely not one of the 18 things you should never do on an airplane. What you don’t want to do is hold it in. Flying puts enough strain on the body, so don’t make it worse by holding in poop, which could cause you serious personal repercussions.

What Really Happens When You Flush an Airplane Toilet?

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