ANA introduces women-only lavatories on long-haul flights

All Nippon Airways (ANA) has introduced women-only lavatories on its long-haul flights. One lavatory has been designated in the rear section of the passenger cabin and is available to female passengers from all classes. The bathroom will display a pink version of the universal sign for a ladies’ room as a way to let male travelers know to look for another option. Men are allowed to use the lavatory only in emergencies or when there were very few female passengers on the flight. Women can still use any other lavatory. 

ANA decided to designate a ladies-only lavatory based on a 2007 online survey in which 90 percent of the women polled said they favoured such a service. Demand for women-only toilets was especially high among passengers taking long flights. As to why women travellers want female-only toilets, ANA says they are tired of long queues for the lavatory. A handful of women also told the airline they won’t queue up for a toilet if there are men in the queue. Interestingly, ANA says 70 percent of male passengers surveyed say they don’t mind it, and some even welcomed the idea because it means less time queuing up after the ladies for the toilet.

Korean Air has been offering similar facilities since 2007, and Japan Airlines designates lavatories for priority use by women. Other airlines that offer a ladies-only bathroom include V Australia (although only available to women flying business class), and Brazilian low-cost airline GOL, which reserves 1 out of 3 toilets for women on its B737’s. 

Toilet etiquette appears to be an important part of ANA’s policy anyway. The airline has previously asked passengers to use the lavatories before they board flights so as to reduce the overall weight of the plane and save fuel. ANA’s new B787’s, which will enter service at the end of 2010, will also have lavatories featuring Toto ‘washlet’ bidets which can be found in many homes and hotels in Japan.

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