Passenger Not Allowed to Pee

February 20, 2013

in Illness/Medical Stories

Not long after being hospitalized for a terrible kidney infection, my fiance and I decided to fly from Tokyo to the Middle East to visit my family. We flew with a large Middle Eastern airline, which is usually wonderful; I stocked up on all my medications and supplements, and we began our trip.

About two hours into our overnight flight, I had to pee. Part of my recovery process was NOT waiting to do so; I’d had to plan my life fairly carefully around this fact for the past few months. Almost dying (as in, they found my phone in my purse at the hospital and called my mother and informed her that they didn’t think I was going to make it) makes you a little bit nervous and paranoid. But the seatbelt sign was on, so I stayed seated.

Twenty minutes later. The flight was smooth. The sign was on. I was getting nervous.

Thirty-five minutes later and I’m sweating, partially from nerves and partially from anger. I don’t like to blatantly ignore the fasten seatbelt sign, but I was dying, so I stood up to go to the toilets.

Well, if you have ever lived in Japan, you know that you can’t get away with bending the rules. The flight attendant on our side appeared and started the fake-smile-gesture-to-sign routine. My fiance, who is fluent in Japanese, tried to explain to her that it was medically necessary, but she was having none of it, actually standing dead center in the aisle to block me from going to the restrooms and still pointing to the seatbelt sign! She also did that lovely thing of completely ignoring our spoken Japanese and repeating her practiced English phrase of, “The fasten seatbelt sign is on. Please return to your seats.” (I know she had memorized this by rote and wasn’t listening to us because I worked for the company that taught English to airline attendants working for large Middle Eastern airlines!)

Finally, she stopped ignoring us and actually listened, and forty minutes or so after I had needed to, I was allowed to go pee. Hurt like hell. We later sought her out and apologized for our urgency, explaining again about the doctor’s orders, but she wasn’t interested.

{ 14 comments… read them below or add one }

Impatient February 25, 2013 at 11:55 am

I'm sorry lady, you're an idiot. Anyone would have gone to the loo and give a big F U to the flight attendant, even if that meant to cross her in a very uneducated fashion. And even not being as sick as you were.


Pee Girl February 27, 2013 at 8:38 am

I'm sorry, Impatient, you're an idiot. If you try this crazy thing called "actually reading the entry" again, you'll see that I did exactly that.


Kate March 6, 2013 at 2:08 pm

I can imagine this was very painful for you, and it sounds like the flight attendant was a bit obstinate, but perhaps had you called the attendant over right away and explained your predicament before getting up, she might have been more understanding. Maybe not, and maybe the Japanese language would have gotten in the way of this, but I imagine a flight attendant might be more understanding if you explained before you broke the rules?


victoria m March 8, 2013 at 9:13 am

it says in the entry that her fiance is fluent in japanese…


Paul Buell March 25, 2013 at 6:14 am

I take a diuretic and, indeed, have to go frequently. I would, however, not have the slightest hesitation to pee on the floor if I encountered such a situation. You were do polite.


Valleyview March 25, 2013 at 1:01 pm

Next time, cover your mouth, make horrible retching sounds and run! past her to the bathroom. Since most people (especially people wearing their nicely pressed uniforms) know the universal sign of hurling, I'm sure she would have moved by reflex.


brad March 26, 2013 at 4:52 am

Just curious…why was Japanese the language on a large mid East carrier.


Dontcare March 29, 2013 at 6:21 pm

I frequently contract bladder infections from holding it in so to speak and I can sympathise on how painful something similar can be as well as the nerves that follow when you don't have access to a bathroom when the urge hits. You were very polite given your circumstances. I would've pushed past her and made a bee line to the toilets and then lodged an official complaint with the airline for their ignorance towards your medical condition.


Kiltie April 29, 2013 at 1:36 pm

It probably would have made sense for you to contact the airline ahead of time with documentation of your condition. Most people who have flown before know that you can experiece extended times with the seatbelt sign on where you aare expected to follow those rules not only for your safetly, but for those around you and the crew as well, so had you contacted them ahead of time, you might have avoided all of this.


Belafonte La Pootera May 1, 2013 at 5:27 pm

You have to make reservations to take a pee now? Shit.


1025 April 30, 2013 at 10:55 am

^^^ THIS!!!


Stories From The Air May 3, 2013 at 11:52 am

Some of these attendants are robots. You should just pee in front of her.


Niki October 6, 2014 at 10:24 am

I can’t imagine how painful that would be! So Sorry for you!


Bridget April 1, 2018 at 7:52 pm

I feel bad for her too, Niki, because when I was 9 I had a bladder infection and it was no fun! I learned never to hold your urine because you can cause damage to your bladder if you do that.


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