The typical size of an airport bathroom stall is 3 1/2′ by 5′, of which more than half is taken up by the toilet. Most have doors that swing to the inside of the stall.
That leaves just a few square inches in which to get your body inside the stall and rotate your luggage in and close the door. Oh, and do this with your legs crossed because you didn’t want to use the toilet on the plane, so now you’re rushing in to the first available stall.
Not an easy feat, especially when your bag is more than miniature size and does not have spinner wheels.
While getting into the stall with your luggage and closing the door is a challenge, it can be even tougher to do an about-face and gracefully exit the stall without your bag rubbing against the toilet (yewww!)
I witnessed a woman who gave upon the graceful part and just stood atop the toilet seat once she got the door opened. That was the only way she could figure out how to literally rise above the situation.
I wish I had my camera and was bold enough to take a photo of her balanced on the rim of the seat – this photo would be sent to every public bathroom architect on the planet.
What’s the solution?
- Why not have the doors swing out instead? Sure, this takes up a bit more floor space and you might get hit by an out-swinging door now and then, but hey, this beats the every-potty-time struggle of wedging you and your belongings inside. (This photo shows how much excess floor space is available in this women’s bathroom at Houston’s Intercontinental airport.)
- Maybe a half-fold door, similar to many airplanes? More door breakages involved, you say? Phooey. Many of the existing doors already have broken locks, missing coat/purse hooks and toilets that don’t flush. This will be nothing more than what already needs repair.
- Or a solution similar to what my kids had to deal with in grammar school – remove the doors altogether. We can carry a big umbrella with us and open it up for use as a screen. Ok, bad idea.
Instead, how about making the stalls just a few inches wider and longer? Is that so much to ask?
For now, until we see larger bathroom stalls, I’ll continue to seek out doors that swing outwards (I was lucky to find one today — score!). Ah, the little things that make me happy.
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