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When you gotta go, you gotta go...

This afternoon, while enroute from Lille to Lausanne, a pilot on Basel Control asked to divert to Dijon, because of a sudden and urgent need to go to the… toilets…

I once had that kind of ‘problem’ after 1h30 of flight (and yet 1hr more to finish the flight)…
I ended with a full travel john and a sligthly wet trouser (I’’m not Rocco Siffredi ) but with a smile from an ear to the other for having onboard those little bags.

How about you ?


I had a similar problem when crossing the Alps in a Mooney. The low pressure at altitude wasn’t kind for my bladder. Only thing I had was a full bottle of water. So, in dire need I had to drink 1,5 L of water before I could get rid of the “other” water…


Yes, no doubt many of us (and passengers) have had to deal with this issue at one time or another. It depends on the aircraft type and the persons’ dexterity how much of an issue it is I suppose. Center stick Diamonds don’t make life easier here.. And of course you’ll be called up by ATC right in the middle!

If there was some sort of a device other than a diaper, something like what fighter pilots would use, I’d be very interested. Does anyone know?

Private field, Mallorca, Spain

Surely the absolutely trivial solution is a pee bottle… I have been using them for over 10 years.

They need to meet two requirements.

One is that the neck needs to be big enough so e.g. most “natural water” bottles are no good.

The other is that the thread should be such that it is possible for the empty bottle to have the lid securely screwed on so it doesn’t get lost, while there is a gap which equalises the pressure as you climb/descend. This makes the bottle last much longer, otherwise it will crack fairly soon. Obviously once you pee into it, you screw it on all the way.

There are not many which meet these requirements. I have found the M&S juice bottles very good

The other option is the expensive aviation dedicated thingy, which also had a “lady adaptor”

and this is stiff enough to not collapse during descent. But at the price you don’t want to ever throw it away, so it has to always be taken to the hotel etc, washed out, and allowed to dry. Whereas the juice bottles can be chucked out if necessary. Depending on how much juice you get through (the stuff is largely sugar so not actually very good for you) you can end up with a surplus of them…

Some women use the silica gel packs.

Fighter pilots, AFAIK, use silica gel packs, integrated into their suit. But most fighter pilots are young enough to hold at least a litre anyway

I cannot believe people still risk having to land due to this totally stupid situation, perhaps having to fly a zero-zero ILS or descend via CBs etc. It’s such a total no-brainer.

Some pilots worry about passengers not liking it. Well, the passenger can just look out of the window. If somebody refuses to co-operate with something so simple, they obviously have serious emotional issues and I would not fly with somebody like that anyway.

Shoreham EGKA, United Kingdom

My co-pilot – endorsed by royalty

Last Edited by Peter_Mundy at 14 Oct 17:03
EHLE / Lelystad, Netherlands, Netherlands

aart wrote:

If there was some sort of a device other than a diaper

External catheters are quite popular among sailplane pilots. One could use a bag with it but typically some sort of a relief system would be used that doesn’t impose performance penalty when not in use and prevents urine ending up on the sailplane. Advantage is it doesn’t require any handling while flying. If you’re using a relief system you might have to open the gear doors or whatever you have to do but that’s it. Some pilots went the diaper route (especially women) but the flights can be so long there is, as far as I heard, no diaper with enough capacity.

After an unpleasant incident some years ago with a passenger, whose urgent need I could only answer with the oil filler funnel, later resulting (when mixed with some turbulence) in urine throughout the cockpit, I always carry a gel bag. I also always carry a fabric-softener bottle, whose aperture should be big enough for anyone ;-) and its shape and tough plastic accommodates pressure changes. The need tends to arise not during the flight but immediately upon landing/parking, when dealing with refuellers and handlers, so this bottle is really useful, just go to the side of the aircraft out of sight of the tower and ……..

Sometimes I also bring a “Stadium Buddy”, a sort of external catheter and bag kit that straps to your leg, but I don’t think I have ever used it “in anger”.


travel johns are the best solution.

EGTK Oxford

Well, having an in-flight pee is a non -event.

Much worse: not being able to pee !

I was flying with a friend last Winter who had a sudden bout with a bladder stone in-flight. By the time we landed, he suffering so bad I had to call an ambulance.

I have another friend that has flown around the world in a Twin Comanche. He told me that he carried a long drainage needle that he would puncture his bladder with if he ever had an in-flight urological emergency in some remote place or over the ocean.


You guys have covered them all. I find the best solution for me and my passengers is Rest Stop and a surgical pad to be place under you and top of the seat in case of misdirection. Women have used them as well. And everyone ends the event with a smile.

I know Im going to get hammered for this by all the political correct nazis but…Its amazing how few times it happens that women have to go in the air as opposed having to pulling into a rest stop when driving. It must be due to lower atmospheric pressure in the plane.

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