Delta Airlines May Be Shrinking Their Bathrooms To Add More Seat - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Delta Airlines May Be Shrinking Their Bathrooms To Add More Seats

NBCNEWS.COM - We've heard of going to the little girls' (or little boys') room but this is ridiculous. In the near future, fliers who need to use the facilities may find themselves squeezing into spaces that make today's airline lavatories look downright large.

Case in point: Delta Air Lines, which, according to The Wall Street Journal, will unveil new onboard bathrooms on the 737-900s it expects to begin flying later this year. The new loos not only pack the same "amenities" into a smaller space but will also allow the carrier to squeeze four more seats into coach.

Known as a modular lavatory system (MLS), the new facilities are made by Wellington, Fla.-based B/E Aerospace. Neither the company nor Delta responded to inquiries as to how the dimensions would compare to a typical 3 x 3-foot coach lavatory.

Will passengers feel the squeeze in what already constitutes tight quarters for all but the smallest passengers? No, said Delta spokesman Morgan Durrant via e-mail, as the design utilizes previously unused space behind the sink and a sculpted exterior wall.

Yet, with planes flying fuller than ever, passengers are increasingly caught in a squeeze play from the moment they step on board. Last year, the U.S. airline industry posted its highest load factor since 1945 — 82.8 percent, according to the Department of Transportation — while fees for checked bags have made finding space in the overhead bins a lesson in frustration.

The result is a public predisposed to noticing even a small infringement in their personal space, says Tiffany Hawk, former flight attendant and author of "Love Me Anyway," a novel about airline culture.

"It's already so uncomfortable in your seat and then you get to the lavatory and it's cramped and you're in a bad mood…" she told NBC News. "Passengers are going to say they notice the difference and I guarantee they'll complain about it."

Likewise, any squeeze in available space will make it even harder to avoid touching the surfaces that make airline lavatories among the germiest restrooms the public is exposed to, says Charles Gerba, a microbiology professor at the University of Arizona.

According to Gerba, the average mainline jet has one lavatory for every 50 passengers — one for every 75 on Southwest — and their heavy use makes their surfaces prime vectors for the germs that cause colds, flus and diarrhea.

"It's already tough to maneuver in there," he told NBC News. "If it's any smaller at all, you're going to come into contact with more surfaces."

Even so, onboard bathroom technology marches on. Although currently grounded due to the ongoing battery issue, ANA's 787 Dreamliners feature high-tech toilets in which a touch of a button automatically closes the lid and initiates the flush.

The idea is "to reduce anxiety" and provide "a cleaner space where you're not as worried as much about germs," Kent Craver, a Boeing Commercial Airplane director of passenger satisfaction, told the Journal.

Alas, neither new designs nor better technology is likely to rectify what Hawk considers one of the most common and potentially most eww-inducing realities inherent in those exceedingly tight, heavily used and germ-laden discomfort stations: Turbulence and its effect on male passengers.

"You're standing there and moving at 500 m.p.h.," she said. "That's not water on the floor."

By Rob Lovitt, NBC News Contributor

  • Most Popular StoriesMost Popular StoriesMore>>

  • Coverage criticism leads to new conversation about homelessness in Spokane

    Coverage criticism leads to new conversation about homelessness in Spokane

    Thursday, July 20 2017 10:16 PM EDT2017-07-21 02:16:44 GMT

    SPOKANE, Wash. - This story originated as a post to KHQ, from a viewer, upset about this homeless camp below Kendall Yards. After the initial report on Facebook, I got a lot of comments -  many people were offended about how i described the camp. One person who was very vocal, was Ellie. I asked if she would meet with me - and she said yes. As upset as she is with our coverage - she welcomed the chance to make others understand that this is a conversation 

    >>

    SPOKANE, Wash. - This story originated as a post to KHQ, from a viewer, upset about this homeless camp below Kendall Yards. After the initial report on Facebook, I got a lot of comments -  many people were offended about how i described the camp. One person who was very vocal, was Ellie. I asked if she would meet with me - and she said yes. As upset as she is with our coverage - she welcomed the chance to make others understand that this is a conversation 

    >>
  • Washington's new DUI-E law takes effect Sunday

    Washington's new DUI-E law takes effect Sunday

    Tuesday, July 18 2017 10:02 PM EDT2017-07-19 02:02:25 GMT

    SPOKANE, Wash. - "He was my youngest, he was my baby bear," Tina Myer said about her son that was killed by a distracted driver. It was a distracted driver that killed Tina Myer's son Cody, hitting the 23-year-old as he was working as a flagger at a construction site in December 2015. He suffered severe injuries, and died several months later. Now Myer is joining Governor Inslee, praising a new DUI-E law.

    >>

    SPOKANE, Wash. - "He was my youngest, he was my baby bear," Tina Myer said about her son that was killed by a distracted driver. It was a distracted driver that killed Tina Myer's son Cody, hitting the 23-year-old as he was working as a flagger at a construction site in December 2015. He suffered severe injuries, and died several months later. Now Myer is joining Governor Inslee, praising a new DUI-E law.

    >>
  • N. Idaho Violent Crimes Task Force asks for public's help finding wanted fugitive

    N. Idaho Violent Crimes Task Force asks for public's help finding wanted fugitive

    Friday, July 21 2017 12:44 AM EDT2017-07-21 04:44:54 GMT

    KOOTENAI COUNTY, Idaho - The North Idaho Violent Crimes Task Force (NIVCTF) is seeking information leading to the arrest of 27-year-old Mallory Ann Helling. Helling is being sought based on a Kootenai County felony warrant for possession of meth with the intent to deliver. Helling is 5’3 tall, 135 lbs with brown eyes and brown hair. She was last known to be living in Post Falls, ID. Anyone with information regarding Helling should call the NIVCTF at 208-665-4455. 

    >>

    KOOTENAI COUNTY, Idaho - The North Idaho Violent Crimes Task Force (NIVCTF) is seeking information leading to the arrest of 27-year-old Mallory Ann Helling. Helling is being sought based on a Kootenai County felony warrant for possession of meth with the intent to deliver. Helling is 5’3 tall, 135 lbs with brown eyes and brown hair. She was last known to be living in Post Falls, ID. Anyone with information regarding Helling should call the NIVCTF at 208-665-4455. 

    >>
HD DOPPLER 6i
/
  • National NewsMore>>

  • Mad Minute stories from Thursday, July 20th

    Mad Minute stories from Thursday, July 20th

    Thursday, July 20 2017 5:58 PM EDT2017-07-20 21:58:05 GMT
    Mad Minute for 12/30/16Mad Minute for 12/30/16

    Here are the extended versions of the KHQ Local News 11 at 11 Mad Minute stories from Thursday, July 20th.

    >>

    Here are the extended versions of the KHQ Local News 11 at 11 Mad Minute stories from Thursday, July 20th.

    >>
  • NOAA locates wreckage of crab fishing vessel off St. George Island, Alaska

    NOAA locates wreckage of crab fishing vessel off St. George Island, Alaska

    Friday, July 21 2017 12:11 AM EDT2017-07-21 04:11:45 GMT
    (NOAA)(NOAA)

    ALASKA - Two NOAA ships, en route to scientific missions in Alaskan waters, helped locate the missing fishing vessel Destination at the request of the U.S. Coast Guard Marine Board of Investigation. The Destination and its six crew members were lost February 11, 2017, while fishing for snow crab northwest of St. George, Alaska. NOAA Ship Oscar Dyson, a fisheries survey vessel, conducted the first survey from April 30 through May 1. The 

    >>

    ALASKA - Two NOAA ships, en route to scientific missions in Alaskan waters, helped locate the missing fishing vessel Destination at the request of the U.S. Coast Guard Marine Board of Investigation. The Destination and its six crew members were lost February 11, 2017, while fishing for snow crab northwest of St. George, Alaska. NOAA Ship Oscar Dyson, a fisheries survey vessel, conducted the first survey from April 30 through May 1. The 

    >>
  • Alexa, turn up my Kenmore AC; Sears cuts a deal with Amazon

    Alexa, turn up my Kenmore AC; Sears cuts a deal with Amazon

    Thursday, July 20 2017 6:16 PM EDT2017-07-20 22:16:28 GMT
    (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)(AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)

    HOFFMAN ESTATES, Ill. (AP) - Sears will begin selling its appliances on Amazon.com, including smart appliances that can be synced with Amazon's voice assistant, Alexa. The announcement Thursday sent shares of Sears soaring almost 11 percent. The tie-up with the internet behemoth could give shares of the storied retailer one of its biggest one-day percentage gains ever. Sears, which also owns Kmart, said that its Kenmore Smart appliances will be fully integrated with Amazon's Alexa,

    >>

    HOFFMAN ESTATES, Ill. (AP) - Sears will begin selling its appliances on Amazon.com, including smart appliances that can be synced with Amazon's voice assistant, Alexa. The announcement Thursday sent shares of Sears soaring almost 11 percent. The tie-up with the internet behemoth could give shares of the storied retailer one of its biggest one-day percentage gains ever. Sears, which also owns Kmart, said that its Kenmore Smart appliances will be fully integrated with Amazon's Alexa,

    >>