Stealing inches out of the lavatory helps airlines cram another row of seats into the plane. The new smaller lavatories some airlines have been using on narrowbody aircraft have been called “the most miserable experience in the world.”
But what if there was a lavatory that was easier to get into and that was even expandable? That’s not only great for passengers of size, but even better for passengers with mobility challenges. Larger aircraft have to have bigger lavatories to accommodate these special needs, and the U.S. government is considering making this mandatory for single aisle planes as well.
Will Horton highlights the new “Access lavatory” from Acumen which debuted this week at the Singapore Airshow.
Credit: ST Engineering/Acument Design
As Horton explains, the configuration of the cabin has to be tightest at takeoff and landing where aisles and exits have clearance requirements, but that a lavatory can expand inflight. As a result it expands 13 inches into the galley area, which is also where passengers enter. This gives “40% more floorspace and allows for a 24-inch diagonal entrance” which is great for accessibility.
Cabin crew may push back against this. It takes up galley space and according to the press release they’ll have to expand and close the extender. However the manufacturer claims to be in discussion with two airlines in the U.S., “experience airlines that have inclusiveness as part of their model.”
Expect to see the new lavatory certified this year because the manufacturer believes you could see this on a plane in 12 months.