Air Travel and bathroom useage on long flights

My partner uses a wheelchair and is unable to walk except for a few steps
At home he uses an urinal or transfers to the toilet with assistance
Any suggestions for how to manage a 14 hour flight to Australia?
One stewardess told me to put a catheter in!!! Obviously she had no
concept of the potential for infection

Perhaps an external catheter with a leg bag could do the trick. The plane should also be equipped with an onboard wheelchair and since you mentioned he can take a few steps it sounds like using that would be an option that would allow onboard bathroom use

If you let the airlines know they will insure there is an aisle chair available. It’s a really thin WC. They bring my hubby and I help him get in and seated and I wait him there to help him out. Jet Blue United and Delta have them. And they are very pleasant and helpful. They never get annoyed. Also call the airline for your seats. They try to place us as close to the front after first class of course. May God watch over you and him during this trip. God bless. :sunglasses:

1 Like

Travel John is a disposable urinal bag made of disposable diaper type material attached to a cup. Use and throw away. My son uses it under a fleece blanket we bring along on the plane and then I seal and throw the bag away.It will noiselessly absorb up to a quart! Truely a lifesaver on a plane. He will usually take Imodium before a flight as well so he doesn’t have to go #2
Good luck!


Wow, I don’t know anything about on board wheelchairs

1 Like

My husband has used a condom catheter but I suggest also wearing diapers or pull-ups with it in case of leakage…it works well.

The aisle wheelchairs are great on and off the plane. I’ve never had to use one in-flight, and the bathrooms are tiny and hard to navigate. I would also recommend using some kind of external catheter with depends. It can take a while for the attendants to assist you, especially during drink or meal service.

I have same problem! My wife has perfected putting on a condom catheter for me at bedtime and when traveling. I’ve successfully been able to wear one for over 20 hours starting with a leg bag and then switching to a bedside bag for sleeping…The condom catheter will only stay secure on dry non oily skin so proper washing before application is required! Happy travels!

1 Like

Gormleywi and others, thank you for the condom catheter idea for overnight use, especially for when we travel. For us, our travel is mostly by car for all the extra and disposable paraphernalia we bring with us, like the brand of diapers he likes, the dozens of overnight bed pads, wipes and so much more. We could pack far less if we didn’t have the fear and embarrassment of bedwetting to contend with. I will investigate this for our upcoming travel. Thank you!

1 Like

Do a condom catheter

I am paraplegic confined to a powered wheelchair.
I have travelled extensively on international flights and never had a real problem with accessing a toilet.
I am able to transfer independently but usually walk down the aisle hanging onto the top of the seats.
I always ask for a seat as close to the toilet as possible and regularly am accommodated by the airline.
The toilet closets are a tight fit but manageable.
I am aware that most airlines have aisle size wheelchairs for incapacitated passengers and airline staff are always willing to help.
I have flown QANTAS, Singapore Airlines Garuda, Emirates, et al internationally.
Any further questions feel free to contact me at

Are you guys traveling business class? Is there a layover from your departing point to Australia airlines have a wheelchair that goes up and down the aisle that they don’t want you to know about. What airline are you traveling on? Did you call the airlines directly and speak with a supervisor impatient relations for handicap folks. I know American, Delta, British air, JetBlue. Or have handicap service department that you can speak with them directly they set up everything on the Plainfield etc. you want to hopefully sit closest to the bathroom where he can be helped out and brought to the bathroom. Once in the bathroom can the individual utilize the toilet on his own or does he or she need help?


On widebody planes used on longer flights, most airlines have an aisle wheelchair that passes in the corridor and with which the staff can accompany the person to the toilet.
At least one of the toilets is slightly more spacious and identified by the wheelchair logo.
The staff accompanies the person to the door of the toilet does not help him to enter or inside.

I wish you a good flight

He is lucky to go into a bottle, etc. When you book your flight tell them he is handicapped, and they will give you a bulk head seat. At no additional cost. You have all the room to stretch out your legs. They did that for me to Hawaii. They will waive the in person booking fee.

I had a friend who had to use a catheter from high school until his late 40’s when he died of cancer. Proper techniques he hardly had an infection. I believe planes can h3elp to the bathrooms with a narrow wheelchair they keep on the plane. I use pull-ups from Amazon and their guards and can get 10 hours offI do go to t5he bathroom in between times but that is possibe on a planed one set. I experimented with many brands and they were the best for me. Ask the stewardess when you get on the plane.

what about for a woman that can not stand or walk any steps? how do you use bathroom on a couch long flight? Not first class? Also, if the airport is small and they only have the stairs they bring to the airplane, how do you get out of the plane? do they have some sort of lift?
thank you

The recommendations above about “aisle chairs” are very relevant and my wife who uses a wheelchair and can’t walk even a few steps has had to use them often.
On the “stairs to the plane”, you can request that a ramp be brought up. They will usually board you first and then swap out the ramp for the stairs. Coming off the plane the process is reversed. If they don’t have an a ramp, the airline is responsible for safely getting you off the plane. I can’t guarantee that it won’t induce anxiety but they will have practice (and people to help) in lifting you in your chair down the stairs. Hope this helps.