I’m undecided as to whether this innovation is awesome or unnecessary and overly complicated.
ANA’s coronavirus lavatory innovation
Japan’s All Nippon Airways is trialing an airplane lavatory add-on at one of its Tokyo Haneda Airport lounges. The Star Alliance airline is soliciting feedback on the concept through the end of the month, and it’s doing so by setting up a sample lavatory door in an airport lounge (as one does, hah).
All Nippon Airways 777
While airlines have stepped up cleaning protocols, lavatories continue to be one of the tougher areas to disinfect, given how many people use them, and also given that they’re typically not refreshed between each use.
ANA is trying to at least eliminate one potential issue associated with airplane lavatories, which is the touch required to open and close doors. Essentially ANA is testing a concept whereby you can use your elbow to open or close the lavatory door, making it a hands-free experience.
All Nippon Airways has put a toilet with the new doorknob for trial in a lounge at Tokyo's Haneda Airport and is asking passengers to try it out. pic.twitter.com/NOasz6l7ql
— NHK WORLD News (@NHKWORLD_News) August 21, 2020
Is this really necessary?
Long-term I feel like we’re all going to be more aware of “germy” spaces, even if/when coronavirus stops being the focus of the world. So I think we’ll naturally see more innovations like this, including more ways to enter and exit public spaces hands-free.
However, maybe it’s just me, but this concept seems unnecessary and kind of complicated.
When I use an airplane lavatory I always wash my hands. Then after drying my hands with a paper towel, I use the other side of the paper towel to unlatch the door, then I open the door, and then I throw the paper towel into the trash bin, which is always right by the door.
Am I the only person who does that? I guess I optimistically may have assumed that this is what everyone does, because washing your hands and then immediately touching the latch seems… not ideal.
Along those lines, my other issue with this innovation is that it doesn’t look particularly intuitive or easy to use. It’s possible I’m just viewing it wrong, but the area where your elbow goes isn’t huge, and it also looks like it takes quite a bit of force to open the door this way.
Personally I think there’s already a lot to love about ANA lavatories, in particular the bidets!
All Nippon Airways’ bidet in lavatory
It’s cool to see what concepts airlines are working on to make the lavatory experience a bit more pleasant. While there’s no doubt merit to trying to figure out more ways to avoid touching things in the lavatory, this is one innovation I personally don’t value much.
And that leads me to my question — am I the only person using paper towels to open lavatory doors, and who doesn’t view that as an issue?