Traveling by plane during a pandemic is gradually taking on science fiction-like forms. Empty planes, desolate airports, and ceaseless Covid and other controls have made flying a nerve-wracking endeavor. Stewards and flight attendants are also not affected by the market. The Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) aviation authority is now asking cabin crew to wear diapers during duty hours.
In a document entitled Technical Guidelines for Epidemic Prevention and Control for Airlines, Sixth Edition the best sanitation practices in airports and on airplanes are listed.
For example, cabin crew are advised to wear medical masks, gloves, goggles, protective clothing and shoe protectors at all times. But a little further down there is a suggestion that will raise some eyebrows. Cabin crew are encouraged “to wear diapers during flights so that – with the exception of emergencies – they do not have to use the toilets to avoid the risk of contamination”.
Still, there is certainly a certain logic in the advice. The toilets on an airplane are often a breeding ground for bacteria. A woman who flew from Italy to South Korea in August is said to have been infected in the toilet because it was the only place where she did not wear a mask.
Save on toilets
In recent years there has also been a lot of criticism of the way in which aircraft manufacturers have started to reduce toilets more and more. Toilets are often viewed as a part of which savings can be made. The manufacturers would therefore regularly be asked to limit the number of toilets on board the aircraft. After all, space could be found for additional seats in this way.
For a traveler with a larger body weight, the toilet is often completely unusable. The sink is also so small that it is impossible to collect running water and splash everywhere. The quality of the toilets also often leaves much to be desired.
User-friendly and safe
Covid-19 could well reverse that trend and shift the focus to a user-friendly and safe toilet. The Japanese airline ANA has recently started testing a toilet door that opens without contact. Boeing has meanwhile received a patent for a self-cleaning toilet that kills 99.9 percent of bacteria after each use with UV rays.