Responding to customer requests, Japanese carrier All Nippon Airways announced it will join V Australia and Korean Airlines in having a dedicated women-only lavatory on its aircraft (above).
V Australia premiered its women-only loo this time last year during its launch of services. V Australia's women-only loo, however, is in business class and only for females in that cabin. ANA says it will place its women-only loo in the aft of the aircraft (in most cases) and will make it available for females in all cabins on international flights.
Placards indicating the exclusive loo (above) will be in place on all aircraft by the end of April, except on ANA's B737 and A320, which will no be outfitted with a women only-loo.
In some instances ANA will allow men to use the lavatories, and has created a thorough listing of exemptions:
-Use of Women-Only Lavatories by Men
In most cases, men will be restricted from using the women-only lavatories.
In the following situations, however, and depending on flight conditions, men may be allowed to use these facilities. Passengers are requested to check with a cabin attendant after boarding.
- When required for safety reasons, just prior to the seat belt sign being turned on during take-off and landing.
- When a passenger is not feeling well and a personal emergency requires such use.
- When there are very few female passengers and the women-only designation has been lifted for the flight.
*An in-flight announcement will be made in such cases.
ANA has previously made news on bathroom matters with its decision to be the first airline to offer bidets in lavatories (the bidets will "refresh the parts other airlines cannot reach", ANA's CEO said). ANA has also asked passengers to empty their bladders before boarding in order to reduce aircraft weight and save fuel.
Sister Flightglobal blog Asian Skies writes:
As to why women travellers want female-only toilets, ANA's spokeswoman says they are tired of long queues for the lavatory. A handful of women also told the airline they won't queue up for a toilet if there are men in the queue - but the airline, being typically Japanese, is too polite to draw any conclusions from this.
So how did the guys react to ANA's plan? The carrier says 70% of male passengers it surveyed say they don't mind it, and some gave the idea the thumbs-up because it means less time queuing up after the ladies for the toilet.