The five nicest airplane bathrooms

As first class products continue to evolve, one of the coolest areas where airlines seem to be innovating is with their onboard bathrooms. Yes, this is quite possibly the most “first world” post I’ll ever write, because I’m not just comparing first class products, but comparing their bathrooms.

Actually, if anything the A380 has probably resulted in the most bathroom innovation, given that the front of the upper deck has a bit of extra room, which either seems to result in some crazy awesome bathrooms or a lounge area.

Having flown ANA and Thai in the past few days, both of which have amazing bathrooms on some of their planes, I figured I’d compile a list of what I consider to be the top five first class bathrooms.

1. Emirates A380 first class

Emirates is hands down the winner on the bathroom front. On their A380s they have two first class shower suites, 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. They even have two full time shower spa attendants, and their only job is to make sure the shower spas are well maintained throughout the flight.




2. Lufthansa A380 first class

While there might not be a shower, Lufthansa has two huge lavatories at the front of the upper deck of their A380s, each equipped with a bench, and most excitingly, a urinal! As far as bathrooms (and not shower spas) go, it doesn’t really get nicer than this.



3. Thai A380 first class

Thai also has a really nice lavatory at the top of the upper deck of the A380. The slight downside is that they only have one, so there tends to be a bit of a queue unless you want to use it in the middle of the flight. Not only is there a toilet and sink, but there’s even a love seat of sorts with a vanity mirror, which is pretty awesome.




4. ANA 777-300ER first class

ANA’s premium cabin lavatories on the refurbished 777-300ERs have bidet style toilets. Seriously, bidet style toilets on a plane — does it get any cooler than that?

There’s also a practical fold down “plank” of sorts, which you can put down if you want to change clothes without stepping on the otherwise dirty bathroom floor.




5. Cathay Pacific 747 first class

While perhaps not as extravagant as the other toilets, Cathay Pacific’s two first class lavatories on the 747 are spacious and feature a “real” sink. Even some of the above lavatories don’t feature nice sinks, while Cathay Pacific’s have really good water pressure and stay on for a long time without having to push buttons.



Anyway, those are a few of my favorite lavatories. Are there any others I haven’t mentioned that you think should be on the list?

Filed Under: Travel
  1. “Yes, this is quite possibly the most “first world” post I’ll ever write”

    Well, since you enjoy making lists, how about “The Five Most “First World” Posts I’ve Ever Written”? 😉

  2. Ok, all kidding aside, I was expecting this list to be all A380 toilets. Qantas and Singapore’s A380 toilets weren’t good enough for top 5?

  3. @ wwk5d — Hah! Actually both Qantas’ and Singapore’s A380 first class toilets are rather disappointing, in my book. Nothing special.

  4. Wow the LH 380 toilet is even better than their toilet on the 747-8. When flying on that I was impressed by the relatively larger size of the toilet and its niceness. I loved the fact that the sink had the auto on/off so you didn’t have to push the buttons down constantly. The toilet paper was soft (unlike BA’s sandpaper), and the bench came down over the toilet seat. BA really needs to up its game in this area.

  5. “Seriously, bidet style toilets on a plane — does it get any cooler than that?”

    If I recall correctly washlets were originally designed in the US for use by disabled people and languished in a niche market before becoming popular in Japan where they’ve become de rigueur.

  6. The Lufthansa dual baths are great since there’s only 8 competitors for them in the front of the plane. Thai not only has just one, with the other side a lounge, but with 12 seats the queue cannot be overstated.

    I was a little disappointed in the Lufthansa’s 747-8 bath. I assumed it would be more opulent like the A380, even if somewhat smaller. Instead it is more like the ANA bath described above.

  7. Lucky,

    Nice investigate work! I think the next one should be the worst business class lavs. My first vote is AF’s A380.

    Keep up the good work. Always love your post!


  8. Don’t forget about Spirit’s fantastic ad-ridden, sticky with piss bathrooms. I’d rather do my business on a coach bus.

  9. Having done 3/5 here it is interesting to see how quickly this list falls. Oh well. Guess one doesn’t fly around the world for the bathroom experience, although it would be pretty neat to experience the EK one. 🙂

  10. Oh my…Total bathroom envy right now. But wait, how does Emirates schedule shower times yet also give you unlimited use of the shower spa?

    “Fortunately you can turn the water on and off without the clock ‘running,’ so [5 min worth of water] is more than enough water for a nice shower.”—Um, yeah, not for a girl. 😉

  11. On tuesday I flew a SAS A321, which had a bathroom with not only one, but two windows! I thought it was pretty nice, and it was really big bathroom considering it is a narrow body all-economy.

  12. I seriously question having the Thai A380 on this list at all.

    Flying AA TA on their regular 777, there is often a wait for a bathroom. And that’s 16 people sharing 2, or 8 per bathroom. Thai’s A380 has 12 folks sharing one, which is 50% more.

    Even during normal times, there is often going to be a queue. Assuming no one is ill, or decides to spend a long time “freshening up” their makeup, etc. 35 minutes before landing on a long haul overnight flight, when everyone wants to get out of their jammies and look presentable for deplaning, a long queue is inevitable. Putting a waiting “lounge” there is not a solution, having the lounge in place of a WC is the actual cause of the problem.

    AA’s new 77W has 2 lavatories for 8 FC passengers. Their J even has 6 lavs for 52 seats, which is just slightly more than FC.

    In what way is Thai having one bathroom for 12 passengers “First class”?

  13. From 1989 to 1992 I consulted for the Trump Shuttle (taught meteorology to their pilots during recurrent training). Their ex-EA 727s had new lavs installed spec’ed by Mrs. Trump – including faux gold fixtures. It was quite the contrast to the tired old jets they were serving!

  14. I think Etihad deserves a spot on your list, not only for sheer size but also I like the all-black design. Ultra-modern and very different. I like it better than Thai.

  15. @ Rachael Z — Well my point is they don’t give you a specific amount of time to use it, and for the most part appointments are schedule at least an hour or so apart. Keep in mind there are two showers and not everyone uses them, so on a longhaul flight they’re usually empty for hours at a time.

  16. @ Robert Hanson — They don’t, they have two bathrooms. One really nice one like above, and one behind the cabin that’s still one of the biggest I’ve ever seen.

  17. Etihad belongs there at least before Cathay although I have only tried the Cathay 777 and not the 747.

  18. I didn’t notice that the last time I flew with them. Oh, wait… I’ve never flown with them. Another one of my clueless comments. Sigh…

    Thanks for letting me know, because if there really was only one, that would have stopped me from flying with them. And now that there is a good chance the merger will not go thru, we may end up using our US Air miles going to Asia after all. Quite possibly with a segment on Thai.

    And yes, we would be burning 120K to go First. My wife calls J “second class”. Taking her AA FC on our first time together TA flight was a real mistake on my part. 🙁

  19. I liked the CX bathroom because of the window (natural light?) but always wondered why they opted not to have windows in the EK, LH, & TG First class bathrooms since they’re so big already!

  20. Im taking Air France 777-300er 1st class and Airbus 380-800 business class. I’m very fat. I need a wide toilet area…how are these two planes on AF?

  21. @ Robin — Most planes have at least one lavatory which is a bit larger, so if you ask the crew they should be able to direct you to it. Enjoy your flight.

  22. Just because a room on an aircraft has a toilet, a washbasin and possibly a shower unit, does NOT make it a BATHROOM. A room with a bath in it and nothing else IS A BATHROOM. A bath is a long horizontal container that someone can lie down in and be submerged in water. That makes it a bath. Please stop calling them bathrooms when they ain’t.

  23. I am a fan of the Qatar First toilets, same footprint as Emirates (although without the showers of course / underfloor heating and did you mention the screen that emirates have?). I think the main advantage for Qatar is only 8 passengers so I think it’s rare to ever wait to use them even at the peak landing time (I’m quite obsessed about toilet ratios, BA needs a special mention of destroying their first class offering in the 787-9, with only 1 toilet for first)

    Plus your grumpy friend is wrong about Thai, there are two dedicated first class toilets, but one is towards the rear of the cabin and small. But he’s right that the ‘lounge area’ is the most stupid idea ever, another restroom would have been far more convenient.

  24. I always prefer the Thai A380. Last year, I visited Pattaya, one of the beautiful places in Thailand. I also visited some other touring place too. All the time I use the Thai A380 plane. Overall, I was satisfied with their service. Especially Thai A380’s bathroom was awesome, I didn’t see that kind of premium bathroom settings before. Accessories, Colour, fittings are just outstanding. I felt like all premium fellings there.

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