Delta, the US-based airline, is to become the first air carrier to reduce the size of its on board toilet facilities to make more cost effective use of the space.
Despite in-flight toilets already being so compact that larger passengers can experience difficulty in carrying out their mission once wedged inside, Delta’s new design brief for its aircraft will see a reduction on the current standard cubicle size of 3ft by 3ft. The further hemming-in of the one seat on the aircraft that does not require a ticket is to enable the addition of more seats that do need to be paid for, with a resultant increase in revenue for the airline.
In Delta’s case, it expects to be able to fit four more seats on each of its Boeing 737-900 aircraft in economy class, with the airline claiming that passengers will not be unduly inconvenienced as the encroachment will be into currently wasted space behind the sink units. This will enable the lavatory wall behind the four new seats to be rebated to allow the seats to recline. There are no current plans to decrease the size of toilet cubicles for passengers in premium class areas of the aircraft.
When Delta’s redesigned 737’s take to the air with their cooped-in closets later this year, it is a certainty that other airlines will soon be flushed out by the promise of increased profitability, and a chain reaction will see measuring tapes in evidence throughout the industry.
Speaking to the Wall Street Journal, Sebastien Weber, the chief executive of Zodiac Aerospace, a company in Los Angeles that builds toilets for aircraft, said, ‘on airplanes, it is all about how you use the real estate.’