Monday, December 27, 2010

A Pretty Penny...

In honor of Holiday Travel, this post is dedicated to that supremely annoying, no-frills Euro airline, Ryanair. Because if all goes according to their plan, soon one of the "frills" they won't have is a toilet on the airplane that you don't have to pay for. That's right. Ryanair is hoping to charge £1 or 1 Euro for passengers to use the washroom. That's because they want to knock out the two restrooms in the back to make room for either more seats or for "standing room only" areas on commuter flights.

If they even happen, these changes would not take place until 2012 at the earliest, according to a Guardian article this past July. First, of course, the company has to pass some pretty high safety standards - but that's all having to do with the standing room issue. No one seems to be investigating the "safety" of having but one on-board restroom for an entire plane full of people with nowhere else to go (so to speak), and on top of that, charging for them to use it.

According to Ryanair, the goal is to discourage passengers from using the toilet at all. They are expecting people to use the restrooms at the airport before and after, and therefore not on the plane itself. I suppose that, flying around Europe, that is almost a reasonable request. Your flights aren't going to be more than a couple of hours long. But I can tell you that, as a person with not the hugest bladder in the world, using the loo right before I get on the plane does not guarantee that I won't have to an hour or even a half hour later. Sorry guys! Which leads me to believe that the people inventing this crazy system are all men, with enormous bladders, who believe that women who can't "hold it" are somehow weak or incapacitated. Yeah, and some of those women might even be pregnant. Great. So now you want to charge us for having a slightly different organic set-up than you, and then tell us it's our fault. No thanks, Ryanair!

But it's not only women who object to this policy. Ben Dickson of the Random Perspective has written a clever article on the topic. And there's an entire Facebook page devoted to "Links on 'Don't pay to use a Ryanair toilet - piss in their seats for free.'"

My advice? Don't take Ryanair. At the end of the day, they're not any cheaper than most other airlines - sometimes more expensive. And my experience is that they are just generally obnoxious and a pain in the neck. If you want cheap, pleasant travel from here to there in Europe, fly Easyjet. At least they haven't forgotten that, while people do enjoy saving money, they also don't like to be treated like cattle. Cattle that can somehow hold their bladders indefinitely at will.

{Photo courtesy the Daily Mail}

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Aeroport Toilets Genovese

Our brand-spanking-new Agent MMR has done some excellent reconnaissance work (unawares at the time) in the Geneva International Airport, when he was there in August of 2009. He was so impressed with the urinals in the men's room that he took a photo. "Unlike the toilet sequence from Trainspotting ('The worst toilets in Scotland'), these were clean, sanitized low flow urinals at Aeroport Internacional de Geneve," he writes.

I really like how there is one placed at a lower height. I guess for the kids and/or shorter individuals. But I'm wondering what are the horizontal bars on the tiles above each unit? Are they flush bars? Or do they somehow serve the function of getting you to stand closer, thereby improving your "aim"? Somewhat like the fly painted in the inside of the urinal, perhaps? That's pure conjecture on my part...

"Note that it was actually at the Amsterdam aeroport where the sanitary seat cover was a mechanized sleeve that spun around the toilet seat itself, relieving you of the somewhat tedious task of placing one over the lid yourself while [dancing anxiously] and then forgetting to knock out the center."

Now, unfortunately, there is no picture of the mechanized arms for seat covers, but that's something we'd really like to see!

{Photo: Agent MMR}

All Thai'd Up

Here's a little post from Agent NH:

"I wish I had taken a picture, because I saw a completely illogical bathroom the other evening. It was at Osha Thai on 2nd Street in SF, if you want to check it out. The women's restroom, when you enter it, looks like a one-person restroom, with a toilet, sink, etc. But then, tucked back around the corner, is a stall with another toilet in it. How does this ever work? I'm really curious about what design process led to that solution!"

We, too, are very curious. Maybe there used to be another stall? Maybe they had extra space, and thought, why not add another toilet in the washing-hands area? And is it even possible to lock the outside door? Or maybe it's just handy when you and a friend adjourn to the powder room together. One day perhaps we will go and check it out, and then we'll be able to offer you some first-hand pics. Or maybe our Architectural Agent NH will do us a nice little diagram ;)

{Top photo from Yelp, below, from the Osha Thai Website}