For cash-strapped airlines, inflight urinals could be a money-maker

Can it be that urinals might soon be taking off on major long haul flights?

In a recent article for the online version of the German news magazine Der Spiegel, Andrew Curry writes about a German company that’s been busy designing a prototype pissoir for the new Airbus A380. The company, Dasell, hopes that if its concept is a hit, other airlines might start outfitting their long haul planes with them.

There seems to be interest. Dasell unveiled its urinal design at an airline industry expo in Hamburg, Germany, in April and many took notice. The reason? Like seemingly everything else these days in the industry, the cripling cost of fuel could make installing urinals on aircraft a way for carriers to earn a little extra money.

Dasell says their urinal lavatories take up less space — the equivalent of four seats — than traditional unisex lavatories. Given that most long haul aircraft have nearly 10 toilets, replacing some of them with the more compact urinals could result in getting a few more paying customers in seats.

It’s certainly a more intriguing money-making idea than simply charging for a second piece of checked baggage. Of course, one wonders why it’s taken the industry so long to conclude that urinals might be a good thing, both for bottom lines and — given, as Curry puts it, the inconsistent aim of many men, especially in turbulance — bottoms in general.