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How to Use Changing Tables on Airplanes

How to Use Changing Tables on Airplanes

You’ve taken numerous international flights and been forced to wait in the long line to pee after one too many free cocktails. But, if you’ve never been a new mom flying with a little baby, then wondering if there are changing tables in air plane bathrooms has never crossed your mind.

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Changing Diapers on a Plane

Welcome aboard, to every family member brave enough to hop on a plane with a baby! If you’re reading this, your next flight is probably at 30,000 feet with a little one in tow and a nagging question: Are there changing tables in air plane bathrooms?

Fear not, because in this guide, we’ve got you covered with all the essential information you need for a smooth diaper-changing experience while cruising the skies. You won’t need good luck because you’ll have your carry-on bag fully stocked for that cross-country flight.

are there changing tables in air plane bathrooms

The In-flight Diaper Dilemma

Changing a baby’s poopy diaper mid-flight can be a daunting task, especially if you’re a first time parent or haven’t done it in a public restroom before. 

The tight quarters, tiny bathrooms, and the fasten seat belt sign can make it seem like an impossible mission. 

But, fret not, for we’re here to share our best way to get your baby out of their old diaper and into a fresh new diaper.

Taking the Stress out of Air Travel with Little Ones

Air travel with small children can lead to a rewarding adventure, but that first flight figuring out how to use airplane lavatories in a whole new way is daunting. 

Our mission today is to ensure that you walk into that cramped bathroom ready to tackle diaper changes like a pro.

So, un-fasten your seatbelt and bring that diaper bag down the tiny aisle to the small bathroom with the hidden changing table. 

You got this mama!

changing diapers on changing tables in air plane bathrooms

The Basics of Changing Diapers on a Plane

Are There Changing Tables in Air plane Bathrooms?

You’ve just boarded your flight, settled into your own seat, and now it’s time to address the elephant in the cabin: diaper duty. 

Before you start searching for the elusive diaper-changing tables, let’s address the burning question: Are there changing tables in air plane bathrooms?

Knowing the Rules of the Skies

Remember, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) sets regulations for in-flight safety, including rules about changing diapers. 

Understanding these rules can help you plan your diaper-changing strategy.

Choosing the Right Time to Change

When it comes to changing diapers on a plane, timing is everything. 

Let’s explore when and how to time those essential diaper changes.

Always Change Your Child’s Diaper Before Boarding a Flight

The first rule of diaper-changing on a plane: start with a fresh slate. 

Changing your kid’s diaper before boarding is a smart move. If you can avoid changing a diaper on a short flight, that should always be your first choice.

Using a public bathroom at the airport gives you so much space compared to the tight fit of airplane lavatories.

Consider Using Overnight Diapers on Airplanes

For longer flight, consider using overnight diapers. 

A overnight disposable diaper is designed to be more absorbent and can handle a multihour flight, giving you peace of mind during your journey.

diaper changes on a plane in the bathroom on a changing table

Check with the Flight Attendant to Find Hidden Changing Tables

Flight attendants are your allies in the skies. They will know the location of the changing table on the particular aircraft you are flying.

They are the ones who know the answer to question – are there changing tables in air plane bathrooms?

Don’t hesitate to ask for their assistance.

Have a Small “To-Go” Diaper Kit Ready

Think of it as your diaper-changing survival kit. Make the entire thing disposable so that you don’t have to separate clean and dirty items during the standing diaper change.

Having a compact “to-go” diaper kit means you don’t have to lug your whole diaper bag into the cramped airplane lavatory.

A ziplock bag with an extra diaper and several wipes in a separate smaller bag is all your need. I suggest having 2-5 of those on the go diaper change bags ready depending on how long your travel day is.

Wearing the Right Outfit

Simplicity is key when it comes to changing clothes in tiny airplane bathrooms. Have a  change of clothes in a back pack just in case your kid ends up with a poop explosion mid-flight.

Choose outfits that can be easily removed and put back on without wrestling with them. Put your baby in outfits that don’t need to go over their head.

Bring a Small Toy to Keep Baby’s Hands Busy

A small distraction can go a long way in keeping your baby content during diaper changes. 

A favorite toy can be a lifesaver when it comes to keeping those little hands occupied for a quick diaper change.

airplane bathrooms for changing diapers on a changing table

Getting to the Bathroom

When you’ve got a lap infant or baby still in diapers you should always try to have access to the aisle seats. The first thing you should do is step into the aisle and strap on a baby carrier.

Putting the baby in a carrier at least on the way to the bathroom gives you free hands to carry the necessary supplies.

No Changing Table?

In some cases, you might find that there’s no dedicated changing table in the airplane bathroom. 

Your second option is to do a diaper quick change on top of the closed toilet seat. If you have sanitizing wipes or paper towels to lay on top, defiantly use those.

Floor of the Airplane Galley

If the aircraft lavatories are too gross or small you might need to get creative.

Changing your baby’s dirty diaper on the floor at the back of the plane can be a viable option.

The galley floor is a high traffic area that airplane staff might need access to. Be sure to ask a flight attendant if they prefer you to use their jump seat so you can do a standing change.

Change Your Baby’s Diaper in Your Lap

Sometimes, the only changing table is our own laps. It’s super difficult to do a lap change with an older kid so exhaust all other options before you attempt this.

Absolutely never attempt to use your tray table as even infants can cause damage to the plane. Furthermore, do not be that mom who changes their baby in an airplane seat directly next to a stranger. Only use this last resort if your family occupies the whole row.

Consider Booking an Extra Seat for More Space

If circumstances allow, consider booking an extra seat for your child. 

This additional seat provides enough space for diaper changes and ensures a more comfortable journey for both you and your little one.

disposing of a diaper after using a changing table on a plane

Dispose of Dirty Diapers Properly

Proper dirty and wet diapers disposal is a must. It’s a good idea to seal all wet diapers in a ziplock bag before putting them in the garbage.

Poopy diapers you should seal a second time so that an potential crack in the seal has a second chance to lock in the smell.

Never put dirty diapers in the seat back pocket even for a minute as that’s extremely un-hygienic. 

Expert Mom Guides for Airplane Diaper Changes

Packing Your Diaper-Changing Kit

To handle in-flight diaper changes like a pro, having the right tools at your disposal is essential. 

Let’s explore the items you should include in your diaper-changing kit.

Essential Items for Your Diaper-Changing Kit

Your diaper-changing kit should be well-prepared for any situation. Here’s a checklist of essential items to include:

  1. Diapers (enough for the duration of the flight)
  2. Baby wipes
  3. Changing mat or blanket
  4. Disposable changing pads
  5. Disposal bags
  6. Hand sanitizer
  7. Extra baby clothing
  8. Plastic bag or ziploc bags for soiled diaper and other items

Read: Nomad Family Packing Tips

Disposable Changing Pads and Disposal Bags

Disposable changing pads and disposal bags are invaluable additions to your kit. 

They make in-flight diaper changes smoother, more hygienic, and efficient.

Now, let’s tackle the challenge of handling dirty diapers responsibly.

in-lap diaper changes instead of using a changing table on the plane

Pack a Folding Diaper-Changing Mat

For those flights without changing tables, a folding diaper-changing mat can be a lifesaver. 

It provides a clean and comfortable surface for diaper changes on changing tables, on top of toilet lids, on airplane seats, or even on the galley floor.

Step by Step: Changing Diapers with a Folding Mat

  1. Lay out the folding mat on your lap or a clean surface.
  2. Gently place your baby on the mat, ensuring they are secure.
  3. Complete the diaper change as usual, using wipes and any necessary products.
  4. Fold the mat back up, ensuring any mess is contained.
  5. Dispose of any soiled items in a disposal bag.

In-Lap Diaper Changes

Changing diapers on your lap may seem daunting, but with the right technique, it can be a breeze. 

Let’s break down the process step by step.

Step by Step: Changing Diapers on Your Lap

  1. Secure your seatbelt and ensure it remains fastened during the diaper changing.
  2. Place a changing mat or a folded blanket on your lap for added comfort and hygiene.
  3. Position your baby on the mat, keeping them safe and stable.
  4. Proceed with the diaper change, using wipes and any necessary products.
  5. Be extra cautious while handling your baby to ensure their safety.
  6. Fold the used diaper and any soiled items into a disposal bag.
  7. Dispose of the waste in the airplane lavatory’s designated bin.

Final Thoughts for Traveling Moms

traveling with a baby in a diaper are there changing tables in air plane bathrooms

Maintaining a Positive Attitude

As you’ve learned throughout this guide, navigating in-flight diaper changes can be a breeze with the right preparation and mindset. 

I always like to remind myself that there are hundreds of thousands of moms who have flown with babies in the last year so I was not alone.

Embrace the Journey

Traveling with a baby is an adventure, and adventures often come with unexpected challenges. 

The good news is that every recent flight is a chance for moms to learn something new and share their best tips below.

Stay Calm and Confident

Your baby can sense your emotions, so staying calm and confident during diaper changes is crucial. 

Approach each change with the assurance that you’ve got the skills to handle it.

Consider Your Fellow Passengers

Remember that your fellow passengers are on their journey too. 

Being considerate and courteous goes a long way in creating a harmonious in-flight atmosphere.

FAQ: Changing Tables in Airplanes


  • Veronica Hanson

    Veronica Hanson blogs from whatever country she happens to be in at the time, currently she's hanging out in Japan. She's been living as a nomad remote entrepreneur with her family since 2020.

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  1. Ashley Luoma says:

    When using changing tables on airplanes, ensure safety by securing your baby, keeping essentials within reach, and swiftly completing the task to minimize disturbance to other passengers.