Airplane Lavatory ‘Laviator’ Self-Portraits Get Artsy

airplane lavatory laviator Flemish portraitThree years ago, Gadling’s Heather Poole snapped a self-portrait in an airplane lavatory, started a Flickr group and the “laviator” trend was born. Over a hundred official members later, California-based artist Nina Katchadourian has taken the laviator to a new level by creating Flemish Renaissance-style self-portraits on a 14-hour flight.

Katchadourian started with a basic paper toilet seat cover and a camera phone, and then introduced a few scarves to create different backgrounds and airplane accessories ranging from an eye mask to a neck pillow to build a group of portraits. The resulting photographs resemble Dutch masters you might see in an art museum, but savvy travelers will recognize some of her props from around their airplane seat.

This isn’t Katchadourian’s first appearance on Gadling. We’ve previously admired her work with maps, and Mike Barish found a kindred spirit with her “Skymall Kitties” video.

Want to put your own spin on the laviator portrait? Snap a pic on your next flight and add it to the Flickr pool. You might even usurp my title as cutest laviator.

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[Photo courtesy artist Nina Katchadourian]

VIDEO: Curb Your Enthusiasm coachy vs. first class

On this week’s episode of Curb Your Enthusiasm, Larry David returned to New York, home of Seinfeld. On the plane, he got into an argument with a coach passenger on using the bathroom in different classes. Larry claims to still be “coachy” even when flying first class. This isn’t the first time Larry David has tackled the class issue, here’s a classic scene of Elaine suffering in coach on Seinfeld, and here’s why you can’t just move up to an empty seat up front.

Do you consider yourself first class or coachy? What other sitcoms have had great airplane scenes?

FAA orders removal of all airplane bathroom oxygen masks

bathroom oxygen maskYesterday, the Federal Aviation Administration issued a directive instructing the removal of oxygen masks from every single commercial aircraft in the United States.

The reason? A “potential security threat”.

No specifics were mentioned, but apparently, the oxygen generator used in the airplane bathroom could somehow be used in terrorist attacks – and this was serious enough to order every one of them removed or disabled. The most likely scenario is that the oxygen generators would be used to create a massive fire, too fierce to be put out by current extinguishers on the plane.

Thankfully, rapid decompression events that require oxygen masks are quite rare But from now on, if you are in the lavatory during one of them, you’ll have to make your way back to your seat to get some oxygen. And remember, always fit your own mask before helping others. Houston’s KPRC got a statement from the FAA, published after the jump.

[Photo: Flickr/Danquella Manera]

FAA’s Full Statement

“The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) recently required the nation’s airlines to disable the oxygen generators located in all aircraft lavatories to eliminate a potential safety and security vulnerability.

The airlines completed the work on the 6,000 aircraft in the U.S. fleet on Friday, March 4.”The FAA, along with other federal agencies, identified and validated the potential threat, then devised a solution that could be completed quickly.”In order to protect the traveling public, the FAA eliminated the problem before making the work public.

Had the FAA publicized the existence of this security vulnerability prior to airlines fixing it, thousands of planes across the U.S. and the safety of passengers could have been at risk. This proactive measure will help keep travelers as safe and secure as possible.”Rapid decompression events on commercial aircraft are extremely rare. If there is a sudden loss of cabin pressure, pilots are already trained to guide the aircraft to a safe, breathable altitude as quickly as possible. Flight attendants are also already trained to assist passengers to quickly access oxygen – including those in the lavatories.”Lynn Lunsford Mid-States Communications Manager Federal Aviation Administration

Five ways to join the mile-high club around the world

mile-high clubGenerally, it’s best to avoid an airline lavatory for any reason. It’s cramped, smelly and generally not a pleasant place to be. If you’re planning to use the lav for something other than its stated purpose, you’re going to need to brace yourself. Unfortunately, it really is the best environment on the plane for joining the mile-high club (for those of you not in the know, that means having sex on a plane).

You could always try to do it in your seat, but you’ll need a fairly empty flight. Also, your options will be limited, even compared to the lav.

Fortunately, there appears to be a better way. If you want to join this unique, exclusive club without risking an angry speech from a safety-focused flight attendant, take a look at the options below. You can attain your newest “status” at a fairly reasonable price in some cases – and have a memory to savor.1. Mile High Atlanta: if you’re not in Atlanta, it’s pretty easy to get there. After all, it is home to the busiest airport in the country. So, catch a flight to this city, and trade your airline seat for a jaunt with Mile High Atlanta. It costs only $379 per couple for an hour-long flight in a Piper Cherokee Six … “designed exclusively for this purpose. And yes, there is a bed.

Good to know: “Our pilot is VERY discreet and all flights are handled with the UTMOST confidentiality.”

2. Exstacy Air: Based in St. Clair County, Michigan, this service will bring you up above the clouds so you can have your moment of bliss. For $375, you and your cohort – unless you’re logging solo hours – will get an hour in the sky, a bottle of champagne and a set of mile-high wings (that you’ll doubtless earn).

Unique feature: You can keep your sheets as a souvenir!

3. Chicago Mile High Club: this service offers “you and your loved one the exclusive use of our 20 passenger airliner so that you can become mile-high club members, with all of the safety and privacy that comes with having a large twin-engine turboprop airliner all to yourselves.” But, this sort of service is pricey: $999 an hour, and you have to make reservations at least a week in advance.

Selling point: The cabin is more than 20 feet long, six feet wide and 5 ½ feet tall. Break out your copy of the Kama Sutra!

4. Mile High Flights: earn your international wings with this UK service, which includes champagne, “stunning views” and whatever other fun you can concoct! Several options are available, with products named “The Big One (£640) and “The VIP” (£930).

Mortgage your orgasm: Flexible payment options are available for those who don’t want to wind up spent right away.

5. The ol’ fashioned way: look both ways, and move casually toward the lavatory, preferably while the flight attendants are working the beverage cart. Step out with your hair askew and a fantastically broad smile on your face.

Multiple benefits: No, not that kind – I’m referring to the fact that this flight will also take you to your destination, rather than cart you around on a “sightseeing” experience. You may also pick up some frequent flier miles.

[photo by rick via Flickr]

Galley Gossip: Laviators – the best of the best contest!

Last week a producer from ABC Nightline News contacted me about doing a story on the laviators – THE LAVIATORS! I know, it’s weird, I can’t believe it myself. But one of their corespondents actually happened across my blog after surfing around Youtube where they found people doing all sorts of bizarre things in airplane bathrooms. Of course I asked if he’d seen my video, 25 ways to use a maxi pad in flight, but he had not, so I emailed it to him right away. What he had seen, it turns out, was Michelle’s funny laviator music video featured below.

Michelle really stepped it up a notch,” the producer said matter of fact over the phone.

“That she did!” I agreed. Then I added, “She’s also the one responsible for getting the word ‘laviator’ into the urban dictionary! Now if only we can get the word ‘lavatar,’ as in a laviator avatar, in there as well.”

The producer laughed, and then went on to describe the club as “hysterically weird” and asked what might compel someone to take pictures of themselves in the lavatory.

Honestly, I’m still trying to figure that one out myself, and I’m the first official laviator! Although I’m pretty sure it has something to do with boredom. Or maybe it’s just exciting to do something a little risque – and weird – on an airplane. Then again, it could be all of the above. Who knows. All I know for sure is the end result is fun.

After pitching his story idea, the producer assured me he’d be back in touch. That was over a week ago and I still haven’t head from him. Well that got me thinking. Let’s have a best of the best laviator photo contest!

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That way ABC Nightline News will have no choice but to feature the club on their award winning show when they see just how amazing the laviators truly are. How about if I narrow it down to a few of my favorite shots and you be the judge? Come on, what do you say? Don’t be scared. It’ll be fun! Winner gets a free Laviator T-shirt donated and designed by Windtee, a maker of aviation T-shirt art. All you have to do is click on the photo gallery above, choose your favorite laviator, and then scroll down to the bottom of this post and cast your vote by Tuesday, October 27! That’s it.

Not a member of the laviators club yet? What the heck are you waiting for! On your next trip pack a camera in your carry on bag and then, when the seat belt sign is turned off, nonchalantly slide it into a pocket before making your way to the lav. Once behind the locked door, start clicking away. Don’t be shy. Get creative! As soon as the flight touches ground, make sure to email your photo to me – Heather DOT Poole AT weblogsinc DOT com (or submit it to the Gadling Flickr pool) – and I’ll include it in the official laviator photo gallery. Who knows, perhaps you’ll even make it into the best of the best laviator contest, and maybe, just maybe, you’ll see yourself on ABC Nightline News. Hey, you never know!

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