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A typical airliner lavatory

An aircraft lavatory is an onboard bathroom with a toilet and sink.

Contents

Minimum standards

Lavatories per passenger provided aboard aircraft vary considerably from airline to airline and aircraft to aircraft. On board North American aircraft, including low-cost, charter, and scheduled service airline carriers, the normally accepted minimum ratio of lavatories to passengers is approximately one lavatory for every 50 passengers. However, in premium cabin and business cabins, passengers may have access to multiple lavatories reserved primarily for their use. These ratios of lavatories to passengers vary considerably, depending upon which airline is being used with some first class passengers having one lavatory for every 12 passengers. Additionally, many of the larger long-haul airlines elect to equip their aircraft with larger lavatories for this particular group of passengers willing to pay higher fares.

Smaller commuter aircraft and regional aircraft designed for very short flights may not be equipped with lavatories. Recently, many regional airlines in North America have commenced the trend of eliminating the refilling of hand washing basin potable water tanks in order to reduce weight and reduce labor service costs, thus generating increased airline profits derived through added fuel savings due to reduction of aircraft weight and employee labor expenses[citation needed]. To facilitate sanitation, disinfectant hand-wipes are provided.

Fixtures

  • Built in waterless Toilets with push button flush
  • Small Handwash faucet and sink (i.e., taps or push button)
  • Soap dispenser
  • Toilet paper dispenser or linens
  • paper towels
  • Garbage can - small push door to discourage use of toilet to dispose of non-human waste items
  • Mirror
  • Toiletries - handcream, facial tissue, sanitary napkins
  • Call button - for assistance
  • Sign on door to indicate lavatory in use or non in use
  • Handle bars to assist elderly or disabled passengers to get up from toilet
  • electrical outlet
  • paper cup dispenser

Cabinets contain additional toilet paper and other toiletries, but they are locked.

The toilet and sink are often moulded plastic or a stainless steel sink. Floor is usually a non-slip surface.

In newer aircraft the executive or first class lavatories are roomier and offer more toiletries and other comforts.

Types of aircraft lavatories

An airplane lavatory viewed from the outside

Lavatories on modern aircraft are very expensive, and include features that have required substantial upfront and long term investments by the world's airlines to design and develop. Airlines and aircraft manufacturers continue to investigate ways to improve lavatory design technology to increase functionality and reduce costs of production, while maintaining adequate levels of safety, hygene and amenity.

For this reason many modern lavatories are now no longer of the "chemical toilet blue water recirculated electric flush" variety. Instead lavatory manufacturers have progressed to "vacuum flush" technology to eliminate solid and liquid residue from the basin. Some of the advantages of "vacuum flush technology" systems, from aircraft designers perspective, is the increased safety attributes through less risk of corrosive waste "spill over" into recesses around the lavatories which can be difficult to protect. Additionally, "vacuum flush systems" are considered to be less odor-inducing and substantially lighter which bear substantial fuel savings by way of reducing the need to carry excessive "blue recirculating water" as in the past.

Other characteristics of the modern aircraft lavatories' safety features include smoke detectors, waste receptacle portable fire containment halon extinguishing bottles and "oxygen-smothering" "flapper lids" fitted to the hand towel waste disposal receptacles. Over time these protective devices have been incorporated into aircraft lavatory designs due to fires that have started when the careless cigarette smoker of the past or the clandestine cigarette smoker of the present has incorrectly disposed of their smoking material.

Lavatory Agents

Each aircraft equipped with a bathroom or lavatory needs to expend its waste somehow. This is where the Lavatory or "lav" agent comes in. After an inbound aircraft arrives it is the lav agent's job to flush the lavatory system. In stations with higher volumes of passenger traffic, lavatory agents will usually utilize trucks adapted with large tanks on board that do not need to be emptied as often. These are also configured to facilitate access to the waste ports of the aircraft, which can be out of reach by other means. In places where fewer or smaller aircraft are being serviced a "lav cart" (essentially a small lav truck pulled behind a tug) is used to service the lavatories.

External links

References

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