Unbelievable as it may sound, the only apparent law on the books that requires an aircraft to fly with a working restroom, the Air Carrier Access Act of 1986, applies to planes with more than one aisle that were delivered or refurbished after April 1992. That's a huge loophole, given the number of jets that are older or have just one aisle. Plus, federal law seems to be mum when it comes to the all-important passenger-to-toilet ratio on a plane.My first reaction was that I'd never experienced a problem with airplane lavatories not working, but after reading further I realized that all it would take would be one experience with this to completely alter one's awareness of the issue. Take, for example, this passenger's story:
"For health reasons, we always hydrate thoroughly before and during flights," explained Roy M. Bohlin, a professor at California State University in Fresno. "With about an hour to go on the flight, our 9-year-old son needed to use the restroom and found it out of order."The airline's response was to give them a flight voucher and an apology - which was unlikely to be of any consolation to the 9-year-old. And I don't even want to think about the health effects of not having enough working toilets on an airplane, no matter how long the flight is.
Mr. Bohlin pleaded with the flight attendant to open the bathroom, but by the time the crew member understood the urgency of the situation, and agreed to unlock the restroom, it was too late. "Of course, our son was humiliated to have urinated in his pants and on the seat and was very uncomfortable for the rest of the trip," he said.
I'm not sure what the solution is, but I think there's got to be something the average airline passenger can do about it - after all, we're the ones who'd be getting stuck.