Airlines Move To Shrink Bathrooms As FAA Refuses To Regulate Space On Airplanes

FAA logoLast week, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) declared that it would not regulate seat sizes — thereby leaving passengers to the mercy of airlines which have been continually reducing seat size and space.  Now airlines are moving to reduce those roomy bathrooms on airplanes.  Arlines are designing new bathrooms to make them ever narrower. Imagine that.

With travel rising, airlines are planning to squeeze passengers even further in the already painful airplane configurations.

American Airlines Group Inc. is already using a smaller design supplied by Airbus SE. United is moving forward with Rockwell lavatories while Delta has already shifted.  It is all an effort to squeeze one more row of seats into planes that are now little more than people kennels.

The airlines have decided that passengers have nowhere to go and that not only can they impose any deprivation but actually charge passengers more if they want the ability to move their legs or recline their seats.

34 thoughts on “Airlines Move To Shrink Bathrooms As FAA Refuses To Regulate Space On Airplanes”

  1. I hate flying anyway.. This is just one more reason why I won’t be flying the “friendly skies” . . .

  2. Last time I visited Colorado, I drove there from the Gulf Coast. I had plenty of time to ponder the relative merits of being compressed into a row of airliner seats and given a small cup of cola over ice and a tiny bag of stale snack food and seeing some of the last open space in America at ground level, and how other people live. I just have to design a route around Dallas, next time.

  3. The last roomy bathroom I saw in an airliner was in one of Continental’s 747s in the early 1990s. I chalk that up to it being more expensive for Continental to redesign and compress bathroom space in that model than it was to cram more passengers in less space by squishing seats together (which they did ruthlessly). Air service in Hell is run by Continental corporate managers.

  4. “People kennels.” Perfect description of the interior of commercial aircraft. Packages fly more comfortably.

  5. Personally, I like to drive where I am going. I hate TSA, hate standing in line, hate cramped seating, etc.

  6. Go with the truck drivers friend. Professional trucker explains makes & models in video. Don’t leave home without one.

  7. If I were in charge of the airlines, I would install optional larger pay toilets at $25 per visit and offer free beer on all flights.

    1. David Benson owes me eight citations (one from the OED) and the source of a quotation, after seven weeks and needs to cite all his work from now on. – Let’s suppose that passenger trains come to your town (they don’t to mine) and you, David Benson, want to take a trip to New Orleans. Work out that train schedule for us.

  8. If I remember correctly, one discount airline in Europe had floated (so to speak) the idea of having “standees” on short flights. Pack ’em in, like subway cars. I believe that didn’t get approved, though. Almost surprising it didn’t.
    Maybe airline “passengers” could get drugged and knocked out, then stacked like cordwood in the luggage hold.

  9. I’m sure that if the airlines downsized seats and bathrooms even more, so that only truly skinny people would fit, they would still fill every seat. Any trip up to 1000 miles, I drive. Over that, I don’t go.
    It’s painful to watch old video of air travel in the 1950s into the 1960s. Legroom, wonderful meals. Sigh ! I am in favor of re-regulating the airlines, and even of bringing back the Bell System.

    1. It’s painful to watch old video of air travel in the 1950s into the 1960s. Legroom, wonderful meals.

      Passenger-per person flown in 1960 in this affluent country were such that you could expect a skilled wage-earner to take one round-trip about once every 17 years. For most people, if they’d ever been in the air it was more often than not when they were in the service. A person of the professional-managerial class might get on a plane once a year unless he or she had a job which incorporated business travel. The term ‘jet set’ applied to the 1%.

      1. Prior to deregulation, airlines competed by offering “comfort”. the result was high prices. Now they compete by offering low prices and the result is less comfort. Airlines are not monopolies – let them compete any way they want – they can optimize their profit only by matching service style to customer preferences in relation to price.

        1. The ‘result’ wasn’t ‘high pries’. The Civil Aeronautics Board supervise what amounted to a cartel among service providers. With prices administered, competition shifted to other venues.

          We live in a much more productive country than was the case in 1960, so it’s not surprising that absent any effort to make it otherwise, air travel is much more affordable.

    2. The benefits of regulated airtravel came at a cost – litterally – high prices.
      Air Travel in the 60’s was expensive only businesses and the wealthy could afford it.

      Look at the name of the plane – Air”BUS” – you should expect what you get from a bus – low cost, and crowded and uncomfortable conditions.

  10. I flew on an 737-700 or 800 last week for a five and six hour flight. In using the bathroom I wondered then how a morbidly obese person could possibly fit inside.

    I read that for each seat per aircraft a large airline, probably it was American, could add $400,000 annually Adding an extra row adds $2.4M in revenue. Multiply that by a fleet and it amounts to serious incentive to acquire this row.

    I understand why those such as our host who travel much during the year become increasingly frustrated with each cattle call they must endure on the way to the stockade, Yet for me I can accept it considering the alternative of having to drive across country.

    Yet admittedly, the fact that the FAA chose not to regulate this eliminates a common floor that levels the playing field to prevent this downward spiral.

    1. Also, if an airline adopted a “no screaming baby” strategy and only permitted children over eight years I will gladly fork over a little extra airfare for the tranquility.

      1. I still don’t know why screaming babies and seat-kicking tykes can’t be stowed in the baggage hold.

    2. The last three times I’ve been on an airplane it occurred to me that the sardine packing had now generated a safety issue as well as a problem with comfort. Airlines are what economists call a ‘Bertrand oligopoly’ and unstable markets and slim profit margins promote this sort of behavior absent a regulatory floor. As a society, I’m guessing we could benefit from less affordable air travel in return for a tad more space.

      TSA employees take a great deal of abuse in for a like this, but the ones I’ve come across were civil and professional.

    3. What you read makes ZERO sense.

      An additional sear that is 100% occupied would have high marginal utility – it comes at little cost, and the revenue would be nearly all profit.

      Regardless, multiple the price of a plane ticket by the number of times you can sell a seat each day and the number of days in a year, and you will be lucky to get half what you quoted.

      I would further note that the long term effect is never higher profits – but lower prices.
      Since deregulation airlines go bankrupt on a regular basis, airlines are not very high return on investment.
      That means that the value is going to consumers.

      1. Maybe you could read the study if you have doubt.

        Gary Weissel, managing director of Tronos Aviation Consulting Inc., estimated that American could generate about $400,000 a year for each seat it adds to a plane, based on average fares and typical aircraft usage.

  11. Airlines have caught up with trains and busses. Poor dirty sloppy service is the norm for all. But there are some ways around it in some places. If you live near the southern border contact TUFESA or other buslines. Large spacious clean european style bus travel and especially on the Executivo runs Also less costly.TUFESA for example runs not only well down into the Pacific coast regions but up to San Francisco, Sacramento, and Nevada. Given the time it takes to even get on an aircraft then deplane and make inumerable changes I’ve found ways around the lacadasical lack of standards not to mention the rest stops are clean.and not as with US Bus system featuring stations only in the worst slums.

  12. I rarely see any wait to use the bathrooms. Why not eliminate some, but use the space to widen them?

    1. Instead they doing both, eliminate or widen. The one that kills me a laptop has to go in the baggage compartment because the overhead is either too small or th eone for your seat is shoved full of someone elses junk. One carryon per customer. Not true that’s for men. Women get to carry purses big enough to feed a horse and a carry on It’s not just TSA it’s also UAL that’s crappy.

      1. Then get yourself one of those “man purses” that European men carry. But please, don’t douse yourself with cologne like those gawdawful French guys. Lol.

Leave a Reply