Broken Toilets are Keeping an Airline From Adding Seats to Their Planes

One of the ways airlines are squeezing more seats onto planes is by shrinking the lavatories. It’s part of American’s plan for 30 inch pitch coach on Boeing 737 MAX aircraft (and eventually retrofitting their existing 737s with more seats, too).

JetBlue is adding seats to their planes, though not quite as many, and they too are shrinking the lavs. They use Zodiac Aerospace’s Space Flex lavatories. And it turns out broken toilets are crimping their plans.

The airline will set a “formal review” in November with Airbus and Zodiac to evaluate repairs on the 21 A321 aircraft where the product has already been installed, and determine how to proceed on the A320s, Chief Financial Officer Steve Priest told analysts Tuesday on the carrier’s quarterly conference call.

Last month, JetBlue began fixing the “design challenge” posed by Zodiac’s Space Flex version 2 galley and lavatory product, which is located at the rear of the passenger cabin on the A321s, Priest said. “The last thing we want to do is put this product on our A320 aircraft and then have to bring them back for service,” he said.

Zodiac Aerospace had delivery problems with American Airlines business class seats, American terminated the contract and sued. Zodiac Aerospace has had delivery problems with United’s Polaris business class seats as well.

MagicFlush it ain’t.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. If I were planning to invest in the stock market right now, Zodiac Aerospace (ZC on the Euronext exchange) wouldn’t be a top pick.

  2. Why even one US carrier will not differentiate it’s product in a major way is beyond me.
    Everyone is cutting loyalty programs, Y seats etc… this will come back to bite US airlines in the future.

  3. How can they possibly make the lavs *smaller*? I’m a small guy (155lbs) and find modern economy lavs (and even business these days) difficult to accommodate normal use, let alone attempting to change clothing. I can’t even imagine how larger travelers are able to use them at all without being pressed against every surface. (Ew.)

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