Aircraft lavatories decades old poor design and location

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  • Rferguson2

    Interesting take inquisitive. I think the main issue with this one (especially mandating seat size) is that the additional cost bore by the airlines will undoubtedly be passed on to the customer in higher fares.

    And ‘mandating’ is a tricky one. It would be unfair to say a european carrier if such a requirement is mandated by the EU yet that doesn’t apply to the foreign airlines they are competing on the same routes with. A worldwide mandate? Would never happen.

    And it opens quite the can of worms. What about very tall people? Should airlines be mandated to increase leg room also? Should these vertically gifted people be exempt of the additional fees airlines charge for extra legroom seats? And parents travelling with infants. Should airlines have to GUARANTEE that a bassinet seat is available (without charge of course). I often worked on flights with significantly more lap infants than available bassinet seats.

    In terms of horizontal size, this is indeed even further tricky. What I can say having worked on planes for a living for over 20 years is that the overwhelming majority of people fit nicely into an economy seat. Is it the most comfortable place to spend ten or twelve hours? Absolutely not. Would they rather pay another £200 for perhaps an inch or two of width? Probably not. But is the comfort of the ‘majority’ ok?

    In terms of loos, again, are they the type of place you’d like to hang out in for ages on a plane? No. Are 95% of the flying public able to get their ‘business’ done without being a contortionist. For sure. Would the flying public be willing to pay more to have a row or two of seats removed so another loo or two can be installed? Debateable!


    Agree with RF2 that creating a mandate worldwide will be difficult but not impossible. If both US and European regulators create rules that will force Boeing and Airbus to follow those in USA and Europe; and that will automatically push airlines from other parts of the world to follow.

    It is a question of will and intention. And when comes to safety, health and personal comfort, the world is moving towards better rules and procedures and I believe people will be willing (or force) to pay the “price “.

    There are many examples of safety and health issues that were ignored a few years ago and now become norms due to many legislations.

    Making flights nonsmoking is one of those. Providing free water is another.

    In the manufacturing industry wearing PPE like harness when working on height, using gloves are examples of rules that are mandated mainly by OSHA and followed worldwide.

    As RF2 pointed out that 95% passengers are happy with what they get in a flight, but I believe more competition among the airlines may result highlighting additional comfort as selling points.
    After all many airlines advertise extra leg room and a couple advertise their toilets!


    I am reasonably sure that 95% of passengers are not ‘happy’ in fact I very much doubt that is the case.

    That 95% possibly ‘tolerate’ what is currently offered is vastly different from any assumption that that they are ‘happy’.

    In fact I would suggest that most are not.


    cwoodward I guess my point is more this.

    For £1000 you can have ‘tolerable’ conditions for ten hours.

    For £2000 you can have ‘better/happy’ conditions for ten hours.

    The majority of leisure travellers would select the tolerable.

    Which is partly what gave birth to ‘premium economy’ as a product.

    You want more space, more leg room, wider seats….there is a price point for that.

    Health and safety are one category, personal comfort is another entirely.


    The heading is “Aircraft lavatories decades old poor design and location”. I suggest that the number of lavatories is also a factor, which should be added to the header. I believe this is a bigger factor than location, and that claiming that PAX are happy with the number of them (in even Premium cabins) in most planes means that 95% satisfaction is inevitably an inaccurate statement.

    I am not tall or fat, so I don’t find a problem with design, but if I was pregnant, obese and/or tall I would be totally dissatisfied witrh the current layouts (except in First Class). As to cost, I doubt that increasing the size and/or number would lose enough seats for the inevitable price rise could be measured by correlation by most people.


    ASK1945 -Rf2 Your points are I feel well made but possibly (as was my intention) the headline of my post does cover the number of lavatories i.e. the general inadequately of what is currently offered.
    It took the action of both European and US governments to force airlines to even offer free water for all passengers and then again to force the current smoking ban.

    The ‘battle of the bogs’ will not be easily won but I have no doubt that it will be. It is already happening with the US forcing (October 2023 bill) the airlines and manufacturers to offer larger facilities on narrow bodied aircraft.

    It is predictable that what will happen is that the airlines will hide behind offering one larger toilet for those that need a carrier (as they are already doing) until they are pushed.

    What I feel to be blinkered thinking is that by moving the facilities to the lower deck airlines would not only be able to gain more cabin space (seating) they would be in a position to offer decent sized facilities and even may be able to charge for extras -showers, massage, shaves beauty treatments etc . But no to drift from my point on the need for larger better designed facilities – for all.

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    Shocking. How can newer travellers join the Mile High Club with this desperate state of affairs.

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    ASK good point about number of lavs.

    I know some of BA’s A319’s were reconfigured to have just ONE lav in economy for 100+ pax which is just absurd.

    Having worked longhaul flights for many years I would say the situation is a little different. There are peaks and troughs (parden the pun) in lav use. As soon as the seat belt signs are switched off after take off you can be sure there will be a little toilet rush. Then again after the main meal service concludes and trays are taken away. Again when the lights are switched on for second service. And, finally when that ‘we will be landing in 60/40 minutes’ announcement comes.

    For much else of the flight, they remain empty. Crew conduct toilet checks every 30 minutes and I can honestly say that inflight between services I was often able to check the 4/5/6 Y lavs without having to wait on a single on to become unoccupied.

    1 user thanked author for this post.
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