When most people think of airplane bathrooms, it’s probably not a nice image that comes to mind. Airlines have largely shrunk bathrooms on newer aircraft significantly, and at times they’re also not very well maintained.
That’s not true across the board, though. In premium cabins, we’ve seen airlines introduce some pretty amazing amenities in recent years, and that even includes awesome bathrooms.
In this post I wanted to share what I consider to be the airlines with the best first class bathrooms (somewhat overlapping with my list of the world’s best first class airlines). Unsurprisingly, several options on this list involve the Airbus A380, which is the aircraft that has ushered in the most bathroom innovation. That’s because the front of the upper deck has a bit of extra space that can’t be utilized for seats, making room for some cool amenities.
With that in mind, below are my six favorite airplane bathrooms, roughly ranked…
1. Emirates A380 first class
Emirates’ A380s have two first class shower suites at the front of the upper deck, equipped with heated floors, enough amenities to start a toiletry resale business, and most importantly, a shower. As a first class passenger you can schedule a shower at the beginning of your flight, and while there’s no time limit to how long you can use the shower spa, you’re limited to five minutes of water. Fortunately you can turn the water on and off without the clock “running,” so that’s more than enough water for a nice shower.
Of all the excitement I’ve experienced in the air, I don’t think anything compares to the first time I took a shower on Emirates. The airline even has shower spa attendants, who make sure the shower spas are well maintained throughout the flight.
2. Etihad A380 first class
Etihad A380 first class recently made a comeback, after the aircraft was grounded for a few years. Those traveling in one of the carrier’s nine “First Class Apartments” have access to the shower suite at the front of the cabin. Much like on Emirates, each passenger gets five minutes of water, and the shower suite is refreshed between each use.
While this is a great and refreshing feature, the shower suite definitely isn’t as spacious as on Emirates. So if you’re used to showering on Emirates, you might find that it’s a bit tight, but otherwise you’ll no doubt be delighted. Also keep in mind that there’s still The Residence on Etihad, which is a three room suite that can be reserved as an upgrade over the standard first class. This comes with a private bathroom, including shower.
3. Singapore Airlines A380 Suites
Singapore Airlines A380 Suites is an incredible first class product, with only six seats in the cabin. While you won’t find a shower on Singapore Airlines’ A380s, you will find some of the most spacious bathrooms in the sky. One of the lavatories has a huge vanity, and is probably the size of 10 typical Boeing 737 MAX bathrooms. Airplane bathrooms don’t get much more luxurious than this!
4. Qatar Airways A380 first class
Qatar Airways A380 first class has two very nice lavatories at the front of the upper deck. While there aren’t any special amenities, you’ll find that they’re incredibly spacious, and nicely decorated.
5. Lufthansa A380 first class
Lufthansa A380 first class also recently made a comeback, after the aircraft was grounded for a few years. These planes have two huge lavatories at the front of the upper deck, each equipped with a bench, and most excitingly, a urinal! Lufthansa is the only airline to offer urinals on planes, so that’s pretty special… or something.
While we’re speaking of Lufthansa, I have a soft spot for Lufthansa 747-8 first class, probably at least partly because the Boeing 747-8 is my favorite plane as an avgeek. While not quite as over the top as some of the other options, Lufthansa’s 747-8 lavatories are spacious, have a bench you can extend out over the toilet, and most importantly, have a window. It’s so nice to be able to look out the window while in the lavatory.
Lastly on the topic of Lufthansa, while I can’t in good conscience call this one of the best lavatories, I do love the economy lavatories on Lufthansa’s A340-600s. They’re located on the “lower deck” (in a cargo compartment), so they’re probably the most unusual lavatories you’ll find on commercial service.
6. All Nippon Airways 777 first class
As you can see, so far all of the lavatories on the list are on Airbus A380s, so let’s take a look at a different aircraft type. I’m a huge fan of All Nippon Airways 777 first class.
While the first class lavatory at first might not appear to be so special, many will appreciate that ANA has a bidet function for its toilets, which you won’t find on many airlines. I also appreciate how there’s a “plank” of sorts that you can extend on the ground, for situations where you want to change into pajamas without touching the regular floor of the bathroom.
On top of that, ANA does an amazing job with keeping its lavatories clean between each use, down to folding the toilet paper into perfect triangles.
There are some pretty incredible airplane bathrooms out there. While nothing can compete with Emirates’ amazing shower suites, there are plenty of other impressive ones out there as well, including everything from vanities, to bidets, to urinals.
What’s your favorite bathroom on a commercial aircraft?