This story is produced in partnership with PaxEx.Areo - The Business of Passenger Experience
Sick and tired of tiny airplane toilets? The news out of Aircraft Interiors Expo this week in Boston (collocated with APEX EXPO) probably won’t improve that feeling. Diehl Aerospace showed off its 31″ lavatory for the A320 family of aircraft, delivering another slimmed lavatory for airlines to choose. First up to fly the model is American Airlines, with a retrofit program coming soon.
The 31″ lav still sits in front of the real galley rather than against the real bulkhead like the SpaceFlex options also available in the Airbus single aisle planes. Reducing the lav dimension just a few inches might not seem like a huge deal but that, combined with reducing pitch inch or so on the rest of the rows can be enough to fit an extra row of seats on board. CEO Doug Parker, speaking earlier in the week at the conference, suggested that the cabin refresh program, including the additional seats, is good news for passengers.
We’re clearing out the whole aircraft and delivering new, slimmer seats. They get the same legroom and we can serve more passengers. We think it is the right thing to do for our customers…Net promoter scores on new planes is higher than on old planes.
Parker also suggested during his interview that the company has not received significant passenger complaints about the small lavs; rather, the constant conversation about the small lavs is coming from the press. And undoubtedly the carrier catches more flak on the topic than other airlines with similarly small on-board toilets installed.
"We haven't had complaints about [the lavs]. We've had press about it." – Parker on the 737MAX lav sizing. Rightly points out same lavs fly on DL, WN. But that doesn't mean pax like them. #PaxEx #APEXEXPO pic.twitter.com/tSV9I5AODa
— Seth Miller (@WandrMe) September 24, 2018
United, Delta and Southwest fly the same lav on their newest 737 (MAX for United & Southwest, NG retrofits for Delta). JetBlue flies the tiny SpaceFlex v2 on its A321 Core config and is adding it to the A320 Core retrofit. Look around the world and even more carriers join the fray. The toilets are absolutely shrinking, just like seat pitch. And that trend is not slowing.
This Diehl model continues the progression. It is tight inside and will almost certainly not be comfortable for many, many passengers. It might be functional, but certainly not comfortable. Balancing these factors is a significant challenge for airlines and passengers and fares.
On the plus side, the Diehl 31″ lav does not sit in the galley area which means that it does not interfere with the cabin crew during the flight. That has been a concern around the SpaceFlex designs and forced changes in plans for some airlines.
To the company’s credit, Diehl’s representative at the conference did not attempt to spin the story. He acknowledged that it is a tighter space and that it won’t be great for the passengers. But it still meets the basic design definitions and space requirements. So it will fly.
More from APEX EXPO 2018
- Airconnect Go set to stream on Canadian North Airlines this winter
- Alaska Airlines adds SkyLights’ VR headsets to IFE lineup
- Aeromexico confirms Viasat connectivity on MAX fleet
- New livery, free wifi coming to Aer Lingus in 2019
- Air France Connect brings inflight wifi live on board
- Another tiny lavatory preps for flight on American Airlines
- Finnair ends free trial, rolls out wifi charges
- Now boarding: Bluetooth audio connections
- DLD 213: APEX EXPO – Next Year in Los Angeles
- Bringing IoT to flight: Sensors, alerts, payments and more from APEX EXPO 2018
- A LEO milestone for Global Eagle, Telesat
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