New Aircraft Lavatory Offers Urinals

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.

To be sure I’ve flown Virgin Australia where they had a ‘women only’ lavatory in business class, with the second lav for men or women. And of course some lavatories are nicer than others.

Qatar Airways Airbus A380 First Class Lavatory

Some lavatories are really small.

American 737 MAX Lavatory

Occasionally though there’s real innovation in lavatory design. One such effort is Zodiac Aerospace’s proposed airplane urinals.

As the name (sort of) indicates, this innovation would replace one standard lavatory with two urinals. Because in an age where flying is more misery than miracle, anything that can make the experience better—like shortening bathrooms lines—is worth a shot.

“The innovation will benefit female passengers too, at least indirectly: when the men have their own urinal facility, the queue for the rest of the cabin will be reduced,” the press release announcing the award finalists read. “Things may be a little cleaner too.”

Credit: Zodiac Aerospace

I’m skeptical that this will solve queues in a domestic narrowbody. I find that much of the time in the bathroom on a plane isn’t spent lifting up the toilet seat and putting it back down, but getting in the small lav using foldable doors and washing hands — getting the water to stay on long enough, getting just the right number of paper towels out — and using the paper towel to open the door on the way out and tossing it into the trash without touching anything.

The other lavatory may be cleaner at the end of the flight, but how much deep cleaning will the urinal get throughout the day?

Mostly though I’d be concerned about passengers figuring out how the setup works, since they’re used to lavatories pretty much all operating the same way. Given the behavior and intellect of some of your fellow passengers, airlines would probably need to hang a sign inside that says “don’t eat the big white mint.”

(HT: Ryan Boyd)

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. Probably save some weight too? No toilet, none of that blue whatever the f to flush your poos…

  2. Waiting for the first dimwit to plant their fat ass on the urinal and make a deposit.

  3. I was once in an actual honkytonk that only had a urinal in the one and only bathroom. Those good old boys had no problem with it. My guess is that the liberal boy/men who voted for Hillary would freak out if they couldn’t squat to pee.

  4. I’m surprised American didn’t think of it
    They could get rid of toilet bowls shrink the rest room to the size of a flea
    and let ladies hold it in until they arrive to their destination
    I’m sure that’s a Doug Parker next even if he leaves one toilet on board for those that complain
    Shareholders will toast him as he squeezes in some more cramped seating from H###

  5. @DWondermeant – “I’m surprised American didn’t think of it”

    You mean Ryanair?

  6. Lufthansa hasn’t urinals in their a380 first class bathrooms. I thought they were great, but of course they aren’t a urinal-only bathroom.

  7. Correction: Lufthansa HAS urinals in their a380 first class bathrooms. I thought they were great, but of course they aren’t a urinal-only bathroom.

  8. I highly doubt lavatories will be cleaner.

    Guys already have a problem with their aim on the ground; then give them a tiny target in the sky combined with sudden mild turbulence or altitude shifts, and that’s a recipe for a VERY messy lavatory floor.

  9. “this innovation would replace one standard lavatory with two urinals. ”
    I’m surprised they are not trying to place both urinals in the same lavatory. They could use the space they save to add a couple of extra seats and increase revenue. It would make Doug Parker really happy.

  10. The lack of a sink is concerning.

    And this may be innovation in the airplane lav segment but it’s hardly a new idea…go use any port-o-john anywhere and you’ll find a urinal there already.

  11. besides, it’s a euro thing to have a little urinal shack…just put one on the plane already

  12. This must be a joke? The urinal is much too small and much too low. Precision aim would be required from each and every user. And that’s impossible because even with a large toilet bowl some people miss and quite often there is a river of pee sloshing around on the floor. I’d hate to see this airplane lav after a long flight with turbulence.

  13. @doug,

    I am intrigued by your suggestion. Please send me a suggested seat configuration

  14. Just when you think you have read the best reply ever, there is now the best reply winner. I can’t stop laughing at @CoolHandLuke’s comment. And only because you know it will happen. Well done!

Comments are closed.