Premium Class Lavatories: Should Economy Class Passengers Be Allowed to Use Them?
You have probably witnessed passengers assigned to seats in the economy class cabin using the lavatories in the premium class cabin on an airplane during a flight.
Knowing the rules can be tricky and quite confusing, as illustrated by the following examples:
FlyerTalk members reported in separate discussions launched within a couple of weeks of each other in 2007 that on flights operated by American Airlines, either passengers assigned to seats in the economy class cabin are only allowed to use the lavatories in their assigned cabin or are permitted to use the lavatories in the premium class cabin — so which is it?!?
The flight crew of at least two transcontinental flights operated by American Airlines reportedly cited that passengers must “only use the lavatories in their ticketed cabins” for security reasons as supposedly required by the Transportation Security Administration…
…and could they face two days in jail for violating that directive?…
…or could it be that the policy that passengers must only use the lavatories in the cabins to which their assigned seats are located is a result of a regulation directed by the Federal Aviation Administration of the United States?
Perhaps the policy was created and enforced by the airline — and not necessarily a directive of a government agency — such as reported for Alaska Airlines back in 2004?
Are passengers assigned to seats in the premium class cabin permitted to use the lavatories of their choice throughout the aircraft on flights operated by United Airlines; whereas passengers assigned to seats in the economy class cabin are only allowed to use the lavatories in their assigned cabin…
…and whether or not they are permitted, do the flight attendants of United Airlines ever enforce that policy anyway?
There was a debate back in 2003 pertaining to Further Thoughts on Coach Passengers Using The First Class Lavatories versus Further Thoughts on First Class Passengers using the Coach Lavatories on flights operated by Alaska Airlines. While the latter discussion is primarily “tongue-in-cheek” and a parody of the former discussion, who is correct?
Here is a twist on this debate: should passengers assigned to seats located in the business class cabin on an airplane be permitted to use lavatories located in the first class cabin?
The question of whether or not passengers have been denied access to the lavatories in the premium class cabin on flights operated by Delta Air Lines was first asked almost twelve years ago — illustrating that this issue has been debated for many years.
So — as a passenger assigned to a seat located in the economy class cabin — can you or can you not use a lavatory in the premium class cabin?
A “pet peeve” of FlyerTalk member cw082350 is when there is a “parade of coach passengers going to the first class bathroom” and the flight attendant did not attempt to exert any effort in stopping them “as they squeezed by her” — even though she reportedly announced the policy over the public address system of the aircraft.
Forget human passengers: are dogs allowed to use the lavatory, whether or not they are located in the premium class cabin?
There are reasons why passengers assigned to seats located in the economy class cabin use the lavatories in the premium class cabin:
- Perceived laziness as to not want to walk all the way to the rear of the aircraft — especially if the lavatories in the premium class cabin are more conveniently located to their seats
- The beverage cart might be blocking the aisle as flight attendants serve food and drinks to passengers during a service
- All of the lavatories in the economy class cabin may be in use with lines of passengers awaiting their turn
- Although this could surely happen in the premium class cabin, there are times where at least one of the lavatories in the economy class cabin needs to be fumigated just to get the odor all of the way down to the level of “awful stench”
There are reasons why passengers assigned to seats located in the premium class cabin want passengers assigned to seats located in the economy class cabin to use the lavatories in their assigned cabin:
- The use of a lavatory without having to wait in a long line is considered one of the benefits of being a passenger seated in the premium class cabin
- Lavatories located in the premium class cabin may include amenities not found in lavatories located in the economy class cabin — can you imagine, for example, economy class passengers lining up to use the shower facilities equipped in the premium class lavatories on some aircraft operated by Emirates Airline?
- The “invasion” of passengers assigned to seats in the economy class cabin to use lavatories located in the premium class cabin can disrupt the ambiance, peace and quiet of the premium class cabin — not to mention a greater chance of potentially “soiling” the lavatory
Human beings have basic bodily functions which can be delayed but not ignored. If someone really needs to use a lavatory immediately and the one located in the cabin to which he or she is assigned is not available, who is anyone to deny that person of relieving that need? Whether or not they are inebriated, do we really want to witness passengers urinating in the aisles or at their seats in extreme cases?
On the other hand, what is to stop other passengers from mimicking or pretending to have that need relieved themselves? Where should the line be drawn?
I personally have no issue as a passenger seated in the premium class cabin pertaining to the use of the lavatory located in the premium class cabin by passengers not assigned to that cabin — as long as the lavatories in the cabin in which they are seats are unavailable and they are not inconsiderate by either unnecessarily depleting the lavatory of supplies such as toilet paper, soap or paper towels; taking too long to do what they need to do; or not cleaning up after themselves in the lavatory after they use it. Wet floors and tissue paper in the sink are unappealing at best…
…and yes, I do realize that passengers assigned to seats in the premium class cabin can be guilty of being inconsiderate as well. There is no excuse for being inconsiderate — no matter to which cabin you are assigned aboard the aircraft during a flight.
Boeing 757 aircraft which are equipped with a lavatory located in the front of the economy class cabin does seem to alleviate the problem and helps towards resolving this debate. In my opinion, it would be ideal if all aircraft were all equipped with at least one lavatory located in the front of the economy class cabin in addition to those located in the rear of the aircraft.
What do you think would be the ideal policy — and where should the threshold or line be drawn? Is this a legitimate concern — or simply a “first-world” debate which is nothing more than the perpetuation of a class system? Please share your opinions, beliefs, stories and experiences.