Best adult diaper for long plane ride
March 14, 2024 12:07 PM   Subscribe

I currently have a medical condition which is causing me to pee frequently, about every 30 - 60 minutes. My doctor assures me this is temporary, but with no specific time limit. It's not difficult to manage in general, but the most annoying thing about it is that there is not much time between knowing that I need to pee and feeling that I MUST pee RIGHT AWAY.

In April I will be taking several airplane trips, two for 4 hours, and two more for 9 hours. Rather than assume that I will always be able to get over my seat mates, navigate the aisle quickly and find the lav free, I am considering getting some adult male diapers. I have no experience with them, so any advice will be appreciated - types, brands, usage, whatever. Thanks in advance.
posted by ubiquity to Health & Fitness (13 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
I don't have a specific brand recommendation, but I'd recommend poking around some sites for those with spinal cord injuries or disabilities as this is a common issue.

Another option, if you have a penis, you can also use a condom catheter, which connects to a bag that can be affixed to your leg under your pants.
posted by hydra77 at 12:12 PM on March 14 [2 favorites]

I’m a lady and really have only worn adult diapers post-childbirth, but I want to assure you that diaper tech has come a LONG way. My few weeks of wearing adult diapers were comfortable, clean, and surprisingly felt inconspicuous under my clothing.

In your shoes, assuming I had a little cash to spend, I’d buy two different packs and try them on at home for a few hours before traveling. See how your clothes and skin fit with them. Your skin may react to the ingredients in one brand vs another, and that’s something that’s better to identify sooner rather than later.
posted by samthemander at 12:31 PM on March 14 [9 favorites]

Adult Depends have been quite useful to me. They hold quite a good amount, but probably not a full on typical urination. But it will hold enough to get you to the planes bathroom. They also mask any urine smell rather well. Pack enough to get you thru the trip...unless you can buy them in wherever you are going. I have also lined mine with those blue shop paper towel, folded in half as an additional absorption. Works quite well.
posted by Czjewel at 12:34 PM on March 14

I think for your limited needs I would go with one of the name brands - Depends or Tena, maybe Always. Try Depends flex-fit or real-fit this week (check the sizing info on both to see which one might be better for your shape) and figure out if you need adjustment on sizing or try the other fit.
posted by Lyn Never at 12:35 PM on March 14

Additionally, try to get aisle seats...And learn where bathrooms are in any setting you will be in.
posted by Czjewel at 12:40 PM on March 14

Response by poster: > Additionally, try to get aisle seats...And learn where bathrooms are in any setting you will be in.

Those are givens. But unfortunately, I was unable to score an aisle seat on the first of the long trips. The extra time to navigate over a possibly sleeping seat mate is one of my considerations.
posted by ubiquity at 12:45 PM on March 14

[Adult] diaper tech has come on enormously. They come in different ranges: daytime, normal, nighttime etc. Their absorbance is of the order of 1:20 weight for weight. A nighttime diaper weighs 90g and is ~ the size of an airport novel. That's capacity 2 quarts US. They last my aged, almost bed-limited rellie _most_ nights - ie longer than your two longest flights. The care regime there doesn't stint on fluid intake, for reasons. The tech seems to wick the fluids away from the skin really effectively, so it doesn't appear to be uncomfortable. I empathize.
posted by BobTheScientist at 1:11 PM on March 14 [1 favorite]

Check with the airline prior to arrival and ask for accommodations. This may not solve all problems, but it puts them on notice that you have a medical issue.
Ask about priority in the security and boarding lines, standby for a better seat, etc.
The onboard staff may suggest ways to make your trip more comfortable. For example, placing items in the overhead storage may be a problem.
You merit reasonable accommodations. The airline staff should be able to assist you.

On a personal note, I've used Depends after a medical procedure. Do bring spares, and include changes of clothes in your hand luggage. Powder or balm for chaffing and wet wipes are helpful.
posted by TrishaU at 1:44 PM on March 14 [13 favorites]

Just echoing the recommendation to notify the airline and request accommodation. We were able to get my Aunt an aisle seat on United for this very issue. We called their accessibility desk and they facilitated a seat change.
posted by fies at 2:00 PM on March 14 [9 favorites]

If you haven't, you might speak with your doctor about the upcoming travel schedule and your eligibility for any urinary-control medications.
posted by Iris Gambol at 2:46 PM on March 14 [1 favorite]

Airplane bathroom trashcans often fill up in the course of a flight, and so it might also help to carry on some gallon Ziploc-style bags and a light cloth tote for trips to/from the lav. (If you do talk to the airline about accommodation, they might have info about disposal in the event of a full trashcan - I’ve never been airsick or next to someone who got airsick, but I imagine the crew has procedures for airsick bags, and it could be a big relief to not have to stow used diapers under your seat for the remainder of the flight.)
posted by rrrrrrrrrt at 2:48 PM on March 14 [5 favorites]

Hello, fellow traveler on the frequent- and urgent-peeing journey!

I use a cane and so my troubles are perhaps more obvious, but I will put out there that the last time we flew, the flight attendant saw that I was using a cane and invited me to use the lavatory in business class because it was closer.

Not the kind of thing that can be guaranteed pre-trip and certainly not official policy, but I just thought I'd put it on your radar.
posted by fruitslinger at 3:09 PM on March 14 [3 favorites]

I would definitely call the airlines involved and ask for bulkhead or exit row seating as an accomodation, providing a letter from your doctor.

My other suggestion is multiple lightweight Depends for the longer flights. Even on long overnight flights I wouldn't be surprised to be awakened every couple hours for someone to go to the bathroom. This is basic bodily needs, don't be shy. The multiple sets allow you to go to the bathroom, pull them all down, tear off the innermost one (which is the only wet one), and pull the dry ones back up. No having to take your pants and shoes off and on. Learned that trick from a memory care facility to speed up the multiple nightly changes.
posted by wnissen at 3:28 PM on March 14 [14 favorites]

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