Would You Go In a Lav Down Under?

In 2012, FlyerTalk’s SinoBritAsia took a flight that has haunted him ever since.

Ok, “haunted” might be too strong a word. More like the flight – or more specifically, the configuration of the aircraft seating – piqued his interest and he hasn’t been able to stop thinking about it.

You see, this was a Lufthansa flight and the economy-class lavatories were situated downstairs, in what would normally be configured as the cargo hold. Three years on, and he still can’t quite figure out why other airlines aren’t setup in this same way.

Others share some interesting thoughts on the matter:

Cargo…..It is often more lucrative than the self loading freight sitting above it and requiring to be fed and watered! ~binman

More stairs, which is not great for passengers who have trouble using stairs.


You also need to find space on the passenger deck to include the stairwell. Given that this is a public facility you are going to have to be quite generous with the spacing and the treads. Thus this is likely to be a comparable floor area to the bathroom in the first place. ~Calchas

It seems Airbridge also experienced a flight on an aircraft with the downstairs toilets back in the day. And though it didn’t impact him in quite the same way, it was definitely a memorable flight.

I vaguely remember suffering a Thompson flight from MAN – LAS in around 1991 that had the toilets downstairs and lots of people complaining of various disabilities that made it difficult for them to access. This led me to further remember that alcoholism was classified as a disability.

Read the thread in its entirety: Why hasn’t downstairs toilets caught on?

And just for fun, a little Men at Work to brighten your day:

Restrooms” by Joey deVilla. CC BY 2.0.


  1. I was aware that LH had this configuration on some 340’s. It was my understanding that they had at least one lav on the normal level to comply with needs of disabled and disabled wannabees. Clearly, I respect and will always help those disabled but I run out of patience with those pretending, such as for early boarding, yet those are the fastest to deplane.
    I kind of wonder if there is a risk of additional liability if anybody falls on the steps during turbulence. I suspect this, together with lost freight sales might explain why this idea is not often copied.

  2. I flew on the LH A340 with the downstairs lav a few years ago and thought it to be quite clever. The area to wait for the bathrooms was spacious, and wait times were shortened due to the large selection. Also opened up space upstairs. I wish other widebodies would adopt this. I do see how it would be difficult for some handicapped pax though.

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