Delta Airlines May Be Shrinking Their Bathrooms To Add More Seats
NBCNEWS.COM - We've heard of going to the little girls' (or little boys') room but
this is ridiculous. In the near future, fliers who need to use the
facilities may find themselves squeezing into spaces that make today's
airline lavatories look downright large.
Case in point: Delta Air Lines, which, according to The Wall Street Journal,
will unveil new onboard bathrooms on the 737-900s it expects to begin
flying later this year. The new loos not only pack the same "amenities"
into a smaller space but will also allow the carrier to squeeze four
more seats into coach.
Known as a modular lavatory system (MLS),
the new facilities are made by Wellington, Fla.-based B/E Aerospace.
Neither the company nor Delta responded to inquiries as to how the
dimensions would compare to a typical 3 x 3-foot coach lavatory.
passengers feel the squeeze in what already constitutes tight quarters
for all but the smallest passengers? No, said Delta spokesman Morgan
Durrant via e-mail, as the design utilizes previously unused space
behind the sink and a sculpted exterior wall.
Yet, with planes
flying fuller than ever, passengers are increasingly caught in a squeeze
play from the moment they step on board. Last year, the U.S. airline
industry posted its highest load factor since 1945 — 82.8 percent,
according to the Department of Transportation — while fees for checked
bags have made finding space in the overhead bins a lesson in
The result is a public predisposed to noticing even a
small infringement in their personal space, says Tiffany Hawk, former
flight attendant and author of "Love Me Anyway," a novel about airline
"It's already so uncomfortable in your seat and then you
get to the lavatory and it's cramped and you're in a bad mood…" she told
NBC News. "Passengers are going to say they notice the difference and I
guarantee they'll complain about it."
Likewise, any squeeze in
available space will make it even harder to avoid touching the surfaces
that make airline lavatories among the germiest restrooms the public is
exposed to, says Charles Gerba, a microbiology professor at the
University of Arizona.
According to Gerba, the average mainline
jet has one lavatory for every 50 passengers — one for every 75 on
Southwest — and their heavy use makes their surfaces prime vectors for
the germs that cause colds, flus and diarrhea.
tough to maneuver in there," he told NBC News. "If it's any smaller at
all, you're going to come into contact with more surfaces."
so, onboard bathroom technology marches on. Although currently grounded
due to the ongoing battery issue, ANA's 787 Dreamliners feature
high-tech toilets in which a touch of a button automatically closes the
lid and initiates the flush.
The idea is "to reduce anxiety" and
provide "a cleaner space where you're not as worried as much about
germs," Kent Craver, a Boeing Commercial Airplane director of passenger
satisfaction, told the Journal.
Alas, neither new designs nor
better technology is likely to rectify what Hawk considers one of the
most common and potentially most eww-inducing realities inherent in
those exceedingly tight, heavily used and germ-laden discomfort
stations: Turbulence and its effect on male passengers.
"You're standing there and moving at 500 m.p.h.," she said. "That's not water on the floor."
Wednesday, December 11 2013 1:05 AM EST2013-12-11 06:05:12 GMT
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