Traveling and going to the bathroom

Hello everyone:

Sometimes folks like to travel but they are unfamiliar with how things work at an airport. I have been going between Florida and Maryland once a month for almost three years and there are somethings I have learned about bathroom breaks and flights. Here’s a real big hint: It’s better to go before you go because at least the toilet isn’t moving in the airport, whereas the airborne plane might hit an air pocket at a very inconvenient time.

First, it is easy to know when you ought to visit the restroom before a flight. Once the incoming plane lands, you have about five minutes before folks start coming out of the plane and heading for the nearest bathroom. You need to beat them to the bathroom, unless you enjoy standing in line.

Next, if your plane is already at the gate when you get there, you can figure out how long before you board by keeping an eye on whether or not the door to the hallway leading to the plane is open or closed. If it is open, then you will probably begin boarding pretty soon. You still have time to make it to a nearby restroom, unless you dilly dally.  If it is still closed, then you have a longer wait before you board.

Finally, when you land, please keep in mind that the nearest bathroom might not be the one to go to, especially if you are female.  If time is not of the essence (i.e. you are not in any discomfort), then you should wait until you get to the second bathroom because the line will be shorter than in the first restroom (unless a flight just landed near that one).

Have a nice trip!

Dr. Sheri


Get a free chapter on the first practical things you should do after losing your spouse.

We'll also email you when the book is available.


  1. Dr. Sherri,
    I recently shared a flight with you from Orlando to Baltimore. I was flying alone with my three year old. She spent the majority of the flight well-behaved and calm – for a three year old. If you fly once a month, I am positive that you have experienced much worse behavior. Since Southwest has open seating, I made sure that there was no one in the row immediately in front of me, beside me, or behind me when I selected my seat. You had a choice of where to sit, so you could have avoided a row near a young child. Apparently, you did not anticipate that a child would yell or scream at any point during a flight. You chose to correct my daughter by telling her to use an inside voice. I did not appreciate this, and I would expect that you would have more compassion for a person flying as a single with a child.

    1. Dear single mother:

      Thank you for sharing your thoughts on our recent flight from MCO to BWI. It was quite an experience, as you noted that your 3-year-old daughter was vocally active during the flight. I was returning from an exhausting week of caring for my elderly father and simply wanted to rest, after watching over his recovery from surgery and cleaning his condo while still maintaining an online graduate level teaching schedule and actively blogging for my readers.

      As is frequently the case, the flight from Orlando was filled with children, which would have made it difficult to find a seat anywhere without a child nearby. I was once the single mother of a 3-year-old child, so I know how difficult it can be to maintain control. However, I taught my son that there was a time for being loud and other times when we had to be quiet, in order to show respect for the people around us.

      I hope that, in your future flights, you can teach your daughter to respect the privacy of others who simply want a peaceful flight. I apologize for asking that your daughter keep down her conversation about her need to use the bathroom, but she really was screaming, at times.


      Dr. Sheri

      1. P.S. A couple reasons that most parents sit in the back of the plane when they have young children is because there are two bathrooms back there and because the rocking of the plane and the drone of its engine makes their kids fall asleep. This guarantees good behavior and gives the parents a break. Food for thought.

Leave a Reply!

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *