This made the news few days ago:

British Airways flight to Dubai forced to return to Heathrow due to 'smelly poo in toilet'

As can be seen at The Telegraph and The Independent.

Made me wonder: isn't it possible to recycle the air from the cabin and perhaps isolate the toilet? This could lead to a whole new series of chemical attacks on long flights.

  • $\begingroup$ Did you read this question? It shows that any airflow through the toilet just goes into the waste tank and then to the outside. $\endgroup$ Mar 18 '15 at 15:30
  • $\begingroup$ Yes, but I'm more interested in a quick change of all the available air inside the airplane, since it seems that the smeel was so bad... why wasn't that done, since a small part of the solution to the problem would be that. $\endgroup$ Mar 18 '15 at 15:47
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    $\begingroup$ Couldn't the pilot have deployed emergency oxygen masks...and continued with the journey... $\endgroup$
    – Firee
    Mar 19 '15 at 11:45
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    $\begingroup$ @Jamiec : No. The oxygen masks would have given the crew some more time to fix the situation. Spray some air freshner etc, or as a last resort, pilot could have dumped the poo mid-air over sea, like dumping fuel. $\endgroup$
    – Firee
    Mar 20 '15 at 7:37
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    $\begingroup$ there is a latch only controllable on the outside to prevent pilots accidentally dumping poop. At those altitudes, it will freeze mid air and become very dangerous to people and property below when it falls at high velocity $\endgroup$ Feb 15 '18 at 16:16
  1. If someone can get chemicals on board a flight, they can also get a bomb on. Bombs are easier to make and more effective. Better air-conditioning won't help here, better security will.

  2. It is possible to isolate the toilet... but the problem apparently wasn't just inside the toilet. The toilet isn't pressure sealed, so some smell will escape regardless. It's impossible to completely seal the toilet from the rest of the aircraft, and could be potentially dangerous if it was

  3. The aircraft does introduce fresh air into the cabin, but the compressors to do so only have a fixed capacity. The capacity of these could be increased, but at the price of extra weight, fuel consumption and cost, it's not worthwhile for the 1 time in 100 million that a flight has to turn around for this reason. Even with higher capacities, it's not possible to just constantly flush the cabin air - and remember that all that air needs to be compressed (to maintain pressure) heated, and filtered. All of that costs more money, and adds more complexity, weight etc.


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