83% of all passengers hurry more on a toilet in the air than on the ground. This is how the narrow space that houses airplane toilets works.
An airplane toilet is often less pleasant. It’s narrow, bumpy and sometimes busy. How many toilets a passenger airplane should have is not regulated, but low-fare airlines usually count on one toilet per 50 passengers.
Chemical or vacuum flushing?
Previously, a closed system of chemicals was used to flush the toilet and prevent bacterial growth. The chemical liquid was circulated and reused throughout the flight.
Now, vacuum flush is used which reduces weight, removes odors and is considered safer.
When flushing a modern airplane toilet, a vacuum will transport the waste to a tank. Any water is not needed and you cannot be sucked down as a human. The waste goes to a tank that is emptied from the outside when the plane has landed.
What should be on an airplane toilet?
When designing an airplane toilet there are some details that must be available.
- Ashtray – Although smoking is prohibited on board
- Flush button
- Emergency button to call for assistance
- Power outlet – For shavers
- Trashcan – For things that not belong in the toilet
- Handles for persons with reduced mobility
- Paper towels
- Soap dispenser
- Holder for plastic cups
- Signs that show if the toilet is available/occupied
- Various toiletries
- Changing table – Foldable above the toilet seat
Airplane toilets are usually built as ready-made units and mounted directly on the planet as a module.
For those who want to do a career in the airline toilet industry, the drainer of airline toilets in the United States has the title “lav agent”.