American Airlines has a new standard domestic product. It debuted in their 737 MAX a year ago, but they have been retrofitting aircraft to offer a similar interior. And they’re going to do something similar not just with over 300 Boeing 737s but with their Airbus A321s as well.
- Less distance between seats and less comfortable seats in first class. Less distance between seats and thinner seats in coach.
- No seat back video.
- No ovens in the back galley so coach can’t have hot meals even on flights of 7 hours or more.
They are also putting in bigger overhead bins, which means we shouldn’t have to gate check bags anymore. This should also help American get flights out on time.
And part of squeezing in more seats means taking space back from the lavatories.
American isn’t the only one putting in these lavatories. Southwest has them in their 737 MAX aircraft but they aren’t retrofitting their entire fleet with them, and customers get more legroom too. The lavatories are a striking symbol of the terrible new domestic product American Airlines is rolling out, even as they make investments in becoming a better business class airline internationally.
The biggest challenge, I think, with the lavatories isn’t the blade doors banging into each other when passengers in the back of the plane open them at the same time or the water that initially sprayed back at passengers because the sink was too shallow (solution: less water pressure).
Instead since I can barely turn around in the lavatory, and my shoulders press up against the lavatory wall, how is a parent supposed to change a baby inside of one of these?
A Google executive (Head of Google Home and Nest Product Planning), though, called out American Airlines lavatories not because they’re too small for baby changing, but because their baby changing sign is sexist.
This is the icon on the changing table of a *brand* new @AmericanAir flight.
— Matt Stuart (@MattMStuart) December 29, 2018
This seems to me to miss the elephant in the room. American could put a gender neutral sign in their lavatory, but the new lavatories they’re installing on hundreds of domestic planes will still be too small to change a baby in.
Their widebody lavatories, on the other hand, are subject to accessibility requirements. As a result new widebodies have a larger lav, and we can worry about the signage around baby changing.
(HT: Chris Matyszczyk)