You press the illuminated flush button hidden behind the toilet seat and it starts.
From somewhere below, a gurgling noise rises, bouncing off the walls of a coffin-sized plane’s toilet, increasing in volume as if the toilet itself is about to take off.
When it reaches its peak, a valve opens and it goes away. Gone, but not forgotten for some people.
The burning question: What happens to your trash if you flush the toilet on an airplane mid-flight? Now TikTok pilot @flywithgarrrett (pictured) has revealed the answer
He gave the answer to the mystery of the airplane toilet (pictured) in a video that has been viewed a whopping 4.4 million times on TikTok
Now, an airline pilot has solved the mystery that has puzzled airline passengers for decades. What happens when you flush the toilet at 30,000 feet in the air?
It can’t just be dumped in mid-flight to splash on the ground below, can it? Some people believe so.
In a video that has been viewed a whopping 4.4 million times, TikTok pilot @flywithgarrrett told his 506,000 followers, “If you’re on a plane and you have to go, where does it go?”
He continued, “Did you know that when you flush the toilet on the plane, it doesn’t actually end up in the population below?
“It goes through pipes to the back of the plane and the seal compartments where the ground crew at the destination will remove all that waste.
“On a 747 – on a long-haul flight – the toilets can be flushed more than a thousand times, creating more than 320 liters of waste. That’s a lot.’
The sky expert’s revelation left some social media users reeling.
An honest viewer admitted, “From childhood I always thought the pilot washed it out over a sea. OMG.’
Another added: “Thanks for clearing it up. Hopefully we can put the matter to rest now.’
“I thought they dumped it in the ocean,” said a third.
Other people, however, were genuinely surprised that anyone could believe that their company would fly off the plane after every flush.
The waste continues to the rear of the aircraft, where it is stored in a special container that can only be accessed by ground crew from the outside of the aircraft after landing.
Jet toilets can be flushed more than a thousand times, creating more than 320 liters of waste, Garrett said in his TikTok video (pictured)
One TikTok user commented, “Wait, do you really think it’s getting dumped below?”
Another added: “Basically people who believe it would be expelled from the plane to the population below? And if so, are these people going to vote?’
“It still baffles me that people think it’s just dumped out of the plane,” said a third.
“Who would have thought it would drop straight down?” said another.
According to Gizmondo: ‘Pressing the flush button opens a valve in the bottom of the bowl, exposing the contents to a pneumatic vacuum.
“That vacuum cleaner sucks the load through the airplane’s sewage system into a 200-gallon holding tank.”
Toilets in jets have a kind of non-stick Teflon coating to help pull the waste into the holding tanks.
But there have been cases where toilet waste has leaked from jets mid-flight.
In January 2018, Indian officials were forced to admit that an icy ball that fell on a village in the northern state of Haryana was frozen human waste leaking from an overhead plane.
The piece of brownish white ice weighing 10 to 12 kg fell with a ‘big thud’ on the village of Fazilpur Badli, startling the residents.
Vivek Kalia, a senior Gurgaon district official, claimed villagers thought it was an “alien” object.
Mr Kalia told the BBC a sample of the projectile had been sent for chemical analysis but “we strongly suspect” it is frozen aircraft excrement.
“It was a very heavy icy ball of ice that fell from the sky early Saturday morning. There was a big thud and people from the village came running out of their houses to find out what had happened,” he told the BBC.
“Some villagers thought it was an alien object. Others thought it was a celestial rock and I heard they brought samples home,” he said.
The Times of India newspaper reported that people “sneaked a few pieces of clothing in their clothes” and kept them in the refrigerator at home.
India previously said it would fine airlines that empty their planes’ toilet tanks into the air in 2016, following previous reports of human waste being dropped on people’s homes.
The National Green Tribunal, the country’s environmental court, has imposed a fine of 50,000 rupees (£600) on any airline that does not store the waste on board so that it can be properly disposed of.