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The sounds of flushing an airplane's toilet can be quite intimidating. When going to the toilet on a plane, I am always a bit cautious of accidental flushing. If so, do you risk being sucked stuck to the toilet due to the suction?

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I hope we are not going now through all travel myths that have been debunked on the Mythbusters show... If we are, please tell me, cause then I have a bunch of new questions up my sleeve. –  uncovery Apr 23 at 21:37
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@uncovery if mythbusters provided an answer why not explain it here with proper reference. Not every one has access to Mythbusters. Then again, mythbusters isn't always that credible (travel.stackexchange.com/questions/9263/…), so I would see go ahead, I am looking forward to the brain children from your sleeve. –  andra Apr 24 at 6:12
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I cannot find it right now, but there was a question recently also appeared on the show. The test results are pretty much credible, even if the visuals might not be btw. I will check if I can find something to properly refer to that is not a torrent file :) –  uncovery Apr 24 at 8:08

5 Answers 5

up vote 30 down vote accepted

No, you can't. I know a lot about planes and their systems and I can tell you for sure, some tissues can block the toilet. I am sure your butt is a bit heavier and bigger than some tissues.

Also, some planes have a manual handle to control the flush in case it is stuck open. It happens sometime and the only bad side is not sucking people's butts, but the very loud sound. So do not worry, flying is safe for people, that includes their precious butts :)

For more details about butts being stuck in planes toilets, please DO NOT watch the Soul Plane movie ;)

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Great, an answer that contains no facts, references, or explanation whatsoever, except for "trust me on this one". Of course you can't get stuck on a plane toilet - but why? –  codesparkle Apr 27 at 15:10

As the Mythbusters tried it, there are several reasons why this will not happen:

  • You are not sitting (hopefully) on the bowl itself but on the ring above it. There is a space in between that lets air through and prevents you from being stuck in any sense
  • It's a real challenge to create a perfect seal between your buttocks and your knees. You have to be quite obese to even cover the bowl properly on all sides. closing the gaps created by your buttocks and your knees is even harder.
  • Even if you sit on the bowl directly, and be obese enough to cover the whole bowl AND manage to get a perfect seal, the suction is not strong enough to prevent you from getting up again.

So, as others said, it won't happen.

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If you're worried about the difference between cabin air pressure and the lower air pressure outside, don't. Airplane toilets go into a holding tank, which is not at outside pressure. I'd be more worried about some joker coating the seat with superglue...

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Great. Thanks for planting that fear into my head. –  Monk Apr 24 at 18:28
    
It's happened (not an airplane toilet, though, AFAIK). :) Always put some paper down first! –  Phil Perry Apr 24 at 18:47

Even if you assumed that the suction of the toilet continued indefinitely, you could only get stuck if your body formed a perfect seal against the toilet rim. The three-dimensional profile of a person's backside and thighs has enough indentations to prevent the body of a person of normal proportions from forming such a seal. Someone would have to be significantly overweight to possess sufficient loose flesh to seal all the gaps.

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According to mythbusters, season one: episode 2 the results were, busted. To give a straightforward answer, is it possible to get sucked tight on a plane's toilet? Yes, under the right conditions but considering "if they can even fit in the plane toilet at that size" ~jamie. As others have stated, you would have to cover the whole thing and allow no air to get in or out. Don't worry about it! "Even a hand doesn't get damaged by the pressure. Just gets wet" and "The pressure is for only 2 seconds... because it goes into a reservoir within the plane " according to the expert on the show. Don't even get me started on " can you get sucked out of the plane if a window breaks".

note: this is in season 3 episode 2 on netflix if you have it ;)

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The latter has happened, kind of. –  Relaxed Apr 26 at 7:59
    
@Annoyed lol i didn't even try... –  Link TheProgrammer Apr 27 at 17:06

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