Japanese airline takes toilet etiquette to new heights

Agence France-Presse

Posted at Feb 24 2010 02:36 PM | Updated as of Feb 24 2010 10:36 PM

TOKYO – Japan's All Nippon Airways, which has asked passengers to visit the toilet before boarding to help the environment, said Tuesday it will fit its jets with a women-only lavatory.

ANA will introduce one female-only toilet per aircraft on international flights next month after a survey of women fliers identified it as the second most attractive service they wished for after being offered desserts.

The rest of the toilets onboard will be for men and women as usual.

"We received many comments that having a women-only lavatory would be a factor in differentiating our airline from others," said an ANA spokesman.

"Many women said that they feel uncomfortable taking their time in the lavatory knowing that a male is waiting just behind them in line," he said.

The spokesman denied that the new service was introduced following complaints about men soiling the bathrooms, telling AFP: "Those opinions may exist, but we do not have that data on hand."

Since 2006 ANA has pursued a one-month awareness campaign each year in which it asks domestic fliers to visit the bathroom before boarding to reduce their body weight and therefore cut the plane's carbon-dioxide emissions.

The airline is also planning to install "washlets" in its aircraft -- electric toilet seats with water sprays for washing -- a common sight in Japan and generally a source of amusement for first-time visitors and users.

The "washlets" will be installed in the Boeing 777-300ER, due to begin operating in April, and the Boeing 787 fleet set to start flying this year.