American Airlines Opens 1st Class Lavatory To Coach Passengers

American Airlines is abandoning a policy that prevented coach passengers from using the first class lavatory on all its flights. After 9/11, the TSA added a rule stating that on all international flights to the US, passengers were allowed access to the lavatory in their own seating section and no other.

For some reason, American Airlines decided to apply this rule to all of its flights, domestic and international. The were the only airline to do so.

American’s domestic and outbound international passengers are now free to stink up the john of their choosing. The TSA’s rule is still in effect on incoming international flights.—MEGHANN MARCO

American Airlines Opens First-Class Lavatory To Coach [ABC7]
(Photo: cmorran123)


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  1. Kaix says:

    I flew Northwest domestically a few times last year and they were enforcing this rule as well.

    Should have flown Northwest last week… American lost my luggage, yay.

  2. cabinaero says:

    Meh. I don’t fly AA but UA also has this rule and actually enforces it. With the smaller domestic first class cabins, it’s nice service to *not* have a queue of coach pax next to your seat.

    Fortunately most of my travel are transpacs, upper deck on the 747. Our only lav interruption is blocking when the cockpit door is opened.

  3. acambras says:

    Not only does Continental have this rule on all flights (flew them Monday), but they also ask coach passengers not to attempt to make a trip to the lav during beverage service (when the cart is blocking the aisle).

  4. valkin says:

    Every airline I have ever flown has restricted access to the first class area. Isn’t that what the curtain is for?

    Additionally, if I paid for a first class seat, I want a first class lavatory that I don’t have to queue up for.

  5. Kornkob says:

    @acambras: The last several domestic NW flights I was on this was announced by the cabin crew during taxi.

  6. 75Sasha says:

    Is that the AA sign you pass taking the Eisenhower inbound and exit to the Kennedy?

  7. SlappyPappy says:

    Every flight I’ve been on restricts people from using the first class lavatory: US Airways, Alaska Airlines, Northwest, and United.

  8. Dustbunny says:

    Is anybody else having a flashback to the Seinfeld episode where Elaine flew coach, while Jerry was in first class? Heh.

  9. dohtem says:

    I flew Northwest 3 weeks ago, they told us poor bastards to use only the smelly toilets we could afford. I could smell the aroma of fresh baked oatmeal raisin cookies reserved in the 1st class lavatories and longed for a bite. :(

  10. major disaster says:

    Not only have all the airlines I’ve flown had this rule, but I’m pretty sure they all also announced that it was an FAA/TSA rule that you were not allowed into the first class cabin. Since I’ve only flown domestically, at least in the last five years, they were either mistaken or lying, or the article is wrong about the law only applying to international flights.

  11. faust1200 says:

    If I really had to go, I’d like to see them try and stop me. I’d love to be arrested for dropping an illegal deuce.

  12. aviationwiz says:

    As other people have noted, almost all airlines have a policy of only allowing first class passengers to use the first class lavs. This ensures that the first class passengers don’t have a queue, or have a smaller queue to use the lavs, but also that coach passengers aren’t standing next to them blocking the aisles while they would wait to use the lavs.

  13. dieman says:

    Northwest FAs are not consistent enforcing the rule. Best way to find if your FAs are anally retentive? Either get up just after the cart passed you and ask them if you can just go up to the first class lav (especially if the plane does not have a mid-plane-lav) or just go all the way to the back and stand with 4 or 5 people until an FA finally relents and lets a few of you to the front.

    I’m guessing this is a situation where having a jumping and whining 5 year old would help.