Though an essential part of everyone’s journey, aircraft toilets are also the subject of urban myth and misinformation. Here's a few of the best ones...
A woman once got stuck to an aircraft seat for hours after flushing while still sitting down.
We’ve heard this one a lot. The short answer is that as far as we know, nobody, in the whole history of aviation, has ever become stuck to an aircraft seat after hitting the flush button while sitting down. It simply wouldn’t happen: you’d have to form a perfect seal – almost impossible given the horseshoe shape of the seat. The rumour was given weight by a BBC report which quoted an airline as confirming it had happened to one of their passengers. It later turned out to be a miscommunication; the event never happened. The subject was also reported by Adam Savage of Mythbusters – you can watch him putting this one to bed here.
What about ‘blue ice’ falling from the sky?
Is this even technically possible in a modern aircraft? It was known to occasionally happen over 30 years ago when older generation planes used a different electric system and flushed their toilet using a blue chemical disinfectant. Unfortunately this system wasn’t perfect and in some very rare circumstances the waste could escape via faulty valves, freeze onto the outside of the aircraft and thaw enough to fall off as the aircraft descended to warmer air. Authorities do still receive the odd complaint about waste falling on houses but the culprits nearly always turn out to be birds not planes. So blue ice in 2017? We are going to say it doesn’t happen.
Crew can open the toilet doors from the outside
True! This is for our customers safety. Faye one of our cabin crew explains: “We use this often to lock empty toilets for take-off, landing and in turbulence. It’s very rare that we have to open the door when a customer is in the toilet and then only if we are concerned for their safety or wellbeing. If the smoke alarm is triggered or if the customer has been in there a long time and is not responding to knocks on the door we would intervene. There is a call bell in the toilets if you need assistance”.