Galley Gossip: Attention All Nippon Airway passengers, please empty your bladders now!

Ya know, I’ve seen a lot of strange things working as a flight attendant in the last fourteen years, I really have, and just when I think I’ve seen it all a passenger will surprise me. Recently an elderly woman asked if I’d be willing to help her get her bra back on right after she yelled at me for talking too much in the aisle. And then there was the time I sat down on my jumpseat in the back of the airplane and another passenger cracked the lavatory door open and asked if I had a magazine she – not he could borrow. I couldn’t make this stuff up if I tried.

Most of the time it’s a passenger making a strange request, but this time it’s an airline and that airline is implementing one wacky new policy. It wants you to pee before you fly. As of October 1, 2009, All Nippon Airways (ANA), a Japanese Airline, is asking its passengers to empty their bladders before boarding a flight, and they’re doing so in the guise of going green. Now I’m all for being green, I even carry my own eco friendly refillable water bottle along with me on trips, but setting up signs at the airport and hiring “loo-attendants” to remind people to use the bathroom is kind of crazy, don’t ya think? ANA believes a lighter aircraft will result in lower fuel use which in return will create a reduction in carbon emissions.

Perhaps All Nippon is on to something. It’s been rumored that American Airlines saved $40,000 in 1987 when they removed one olive – ONE OLIVE! – from each salad in first class. Can you imagine how much money will be saved if every single passenger on board a full flight uses the loo before take-off? According to the, the average human bladder capacity is 15oz, which means if 150 passengers relieved themselves that would total to 63.7kg of waste. That’s 140 pounds, people! That doesn’t even count the amount of money the airline stands to save on toilet paper. Now does anyone know how much an olive weighs?

Of course it’s the All Nippon staff who is in charge of asking passengers to use the restroom one last time before they board. How embarrassing is that going to be – for everyone involved! I can’t help but wonder who, exactly, is going to do this, and how, exactly, this will be done, and what, exactly, is going to be said. I’m dying to know. Will frequent fliers receive special treatment by being allowed to go first? Will flight attendants be able to flash their badge and cut the line like we do at security? Will the airline take a delay for passengers who have difficulty going on cue. Next thing you know ANA will start limiting the amount of beverages allowed to be consumed on board after take-off! And here I thought charging for checked bags was bad!

While the airline is only in an experimental phase with it’s carbon emission reduction plan which will take place over one month and forty two flights, it may actually extend the program if it is well received by passengers and gets positive results.


Photo courtesy of Tango-Sierra