Airline lavatories are usually pretty simple. To be sure some passengers fail to use them, sometimes they’re inoperative and sometimes other passengers stink them up, but for the most part they work the same way. The only thing that confuses passengers is which one are they allowed to use?
A flight attendant may tell you to stay in your ticketed cabin. In 2015 a coach passenger was even arrested for using a business class lavatory on a Vienna – Abu Dhabi flight.
But now this long-controversial question has been settled on United Airlines: to reduce bunching of passengers waiting in line for the loo, they may now use any lavatory on the plane. This is a coronavirus distancing measure.
Maybe this will stick around after the pandemic? @united says it is now OK to use any bathroom, including the one (gasp!!!) in first class. From the employee communications: pic.twitter.com/lPDIbd4sqw
— Brian Sumers (@BrianSumers) October 29, 2020
United Airlines has never blocked middle seats throughout the pandemic the way that Delta, Southwest, JetBlue and Alaska Airlines have. They apparently believe social distancing is important waiting for the lavatory but not when you’re in your seat.
American Airlines for its part already doesn’t have a policy against coach passengers using the first class lavatory on domestic flights or flights departing the U.S.
The correct approach that airlines should have been taking to the lavatory all along is,
- Passengers should use the lavatory in their ticketed cabin first
- First class passengers should have priority for the forward lavatory
- However during drink service on a single aisle aircraft passengers blocked from walking back to the lavatory should be able to use the closest lav.
- And in an emergency you use whatever is available.
Don’t just use the first class lavatory because you’re at the front of coach and it’s closer. And if you’re in coach, can’t easily get to a lav in your own cabin but it’snot an emergency, give priority to those in the cabin in front of you who may be trying to use the bathroom. But when you’ve got to go, you’ve got to go.