September 29, 2023

New rules planned: The United States wants to force larger planes’ toilets by law

Airplane toilets are getting narrower and narrower. For people with limited mobility, this can be a huge problem. Now the US government wants to issue new rules.

Airplane toilets are usually not a comfortable place to be. But sometimes it is much narrower than others. Today’s toilets are sometimes 20 cm narrower than they were ten years ago.

However, this cannot become a problem due to the lack of comfort. But when restrooms are no longer accessible to people with disabilities. So the US government is planning to do something about the toilets on the plane that are way too small.

There is a base for large aircraft

An accessible toilet is already a requirement for long-haul aircraft under the Air Carrier Access Act. However, this does not yet apply to aircraft of short and medium range. But this must change. “Most domestic flights do not have accessible toilets. This is totally unacceptable. Our administration will soon announce a solution to end this disparity,” Vice President Kamala Harris said these days.

The US government had already submitted a proposal to change the corresponding rules last year. This states that the toilet is wheelchair accessible. It should also be large enough so that the assistant can enter the toilet with the traveler to assist in transferring from the wheelchair to the toilet when in doubt.

Less seat space

If the law requires large lavatories, this applies only to newly built aircraft. Depending on the implementation, this may result in less seat space. A concrete decision seems imminent after Harris’ announcement.

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Last year, Austrian aviation supplier FACC introduced a toilet on board short- and medium-haul aircraft that people with reduced mobility can also use. Wheelchair users can use it without any assistance. Today, crews sometimes have to ensure privacy by carrying blankets. At 193 cm wide, the Lav 4 All is the same size as the previous Airbus A320 toilet rooms. “As a result, the number of seats has remained the same,” says FACC.