Browsing Tag: Lavatories

Lavatory on a Boeing 787 for ANA.

Lavatory on an ANA Boeing 787

The last thing I wanted to do was break my wife’s arm, but that’s what happened as I tried to get her through the narrow door of the plane’s lavatory. It wasn’t intentional of course, but there is not enough room inside for a helper and a disabled person to be in the  lavatory at the same time. So rather than stepping in first and safely pulling her in, I tried to move her in backwards. That turned out to be a big mistake.

We learned the hard way. The lavatory door had the “wheelchair accessible” symbol. One would have thought it would at least be safe, albeit inconveniently narrow. However, the little on-board wheelchair (a.k.a. aisle chair) wouldn’t fit through the lavatory door. What was to be a relaxing and fun vacation with friends in San Antonio became instead a five-day stay at a Texas hospital for my wife. We have learned that life with a disability means we continually make adjustments. Sometimes the best laid plans can go astray.

Oh noes! Will AvGeeks be save taking Laviator photos in the future? Taken on Air New Zealands Boeing 777-300ER

Oh noes! Will AvGeeks be safe taking Laviator photos in the future? Taken on Air New Zealands Boeing 777-300ER

The Federal Aviation Administration ordered airlines to remove the oxygen tanks located in lavatories in 6000 aircraft across the United States. The FAA determined that someone could use the oxygen tanks to start a fire or to create a bomb. The Air Worthiness Directive 2011-04-09 stated that airlines had to comply over a 21-day period, ending on March 4th. The entire process was kept a secret to the general public, since the FAA did not want someone to use the information for evil doing.

This means that if cabin pressure is lost mid-flight, there would be no oxygen mask for a passenger in the bathroom. This has some people very upset (and afraid), but really flight attendants are trained to take care of you and although some people think depressurization happens all the time it is a very rare situation — especially when you think about how many flight hours are completed in the US on a daily basis. I would rather take the risk of being in the bathroom during decompression versus someone using the oxygen container for something bad.

So why have the bathroom oxygen tanks been removed, but not the others in the main cabin? I suspect the ones in the lavatories were targeted since passengers have a pretty high level of privacy and could barricade themselves in. The airlines and aircraft manufactures are working on a better solution (I am thinking an alarm to access the oxygen tank?), but there is no word when oxygen will be re-activated in the lavatories.

To learn more, check out my story on AOL Travel News (