The Surprising Reason Older People Use The Bathrooms More In Airports

It’s not the reason you think,

There are amusing anecdotes, such as when Myerson recounts how research conducted for the design of Heathrow Airport’s Terminal 5 in London led to the revelation that older travellers use the toilet much more often than younger ones. “Tell us something we don’t know,” airport officials responded.

“Well, I said, do you want to know why they go so often? They go to the loo to hear flight announcements.” It turned out that the small, ceramic-tiled environment of the toilets was the perfect place to clearly hear announcements that tended to be muffled in the rest of the terminal, so designers came up with the concept of ceramic “acoustic arches” that serve as information pods scattered throughout the airport.

Little details matter. When designers get something wrong, people respond, and sometimes in ways you wouldn’t expect.

(HT: Rapid Travel Chai)

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 »

More articles by Gary Leff »


  1. I find the restrooms cleaner in airports than most other public places.

  2. We go more often in the airport because we are experienced enough to know whatever condition of the airport restroom it is certainly better than the cracker box-sized flying porta-potty onboard the aircraft.

    I’m hard of hearing but I’m not going to the airport restroom to hear flight announcements!

  3. Controller 1 is right on. Bathrooms onboard most commercial aircraft are small and usually dirty. Exception is on some of the Intl carriers when you fly J or F class.

  4. Controller 1 is spot on – In over 34 + years of flying commercial I can recall using an aircraft toilet for a #2 twice…and those were emergencies – horrid venue & experience. I cant imagine what its like for women in those tiny cells.

  5. If only the airplanes themselves offered a decent audio system – I can’t hear a word said over their public address system.
    Seems they’d offer closed captions when they pause the entertainment center.

  6. Am I the only one concerned that people know how much toilet paper we use at the airport, Did they video or do a toilet sheet inventory after each user?

  7. If only the airport announcers spoke more slowly and the same goes for cabin staff. The latter at times seem to have a competition as to who can speak the fastest (Qantas and Virgin Australia experience.)

Comments are closed.