ANA To Install Hands Free Toilet Doors On 21 Planes

ANA will install its innovative hands-free toilet door system on 21 planes, with the first coming into use on May 1st. The system allows passengers to open and close the door with minimal contact, a growing requirement on flights. Let’s find out more about this latest innovation in onboard hygiene.

ANA 787 Dreamliner
The system will only be available on domestic routes currently, but ANA is planning a deployment across the fleet soon. Photo: Getty Images

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ANA first began testing the hands-free bathroom door in August as a way to reduce passenger touchpoints. After nearly nine months, the system is set to go into regular use on 21 ANA aircraft. The system will be added on 11 Boeing 787-8s, two 787-9s, and eight 777-200s. All these planes will fly on domestic routes, limiting the rollout for now.

So how does it work? The system works by allowing passengers to use their elbows and wrists to operate the bathroom door. The lock can easily be opened due to the larger knob compared to standard doors, while the handle can easily be pushed by the elbow. Overall, the system reduces door touchpoints substantially.

ANA Hands-free Lavatory door inside
The lavatory doors feature spring handles to operate them more easily without hands. Photo: ANA

The airline decided to install these newly designed handles after feedback from passengers during the test run. Considering the need to reduce touchpoints across the cabin in general, bathrooms are a key focus area.

The new system can be found on some widebody domestic routes in Japan starting May 1st. However, ANA is also planning a larger rollout for all of its aircraft across international and domestic routes. In a statement, Shinichi Inoue, Senior Executive Vice President, Customer Experience Management & Planning, said,

“Guided by the principles of ANA Care Promise, we have continued to invest in the development and implementation of innovative technologies because the health and safety of passengers and our staff is the top priority…The hands-free lavatory door is the latest example of us putting this principle into practice as we look for ways to make the travel experience safer and more convenient.”

Here to stay

While vaccines will slowly return travel to normalcy in the coming years, many safety features are here to stay. Some airlines have announced that thorough cleaning processes will remain even after COVID-19 is no longer a threat (although it’s to be seen if most airlines follow up on that).

Similarly, ANA’s new hands-free lavatory door will remain in use for years to come, well after COVID (hopefully). Indeed, the virus has brought airline hygiene and cleanliness to the fore, with passengers becoming increasingly sensitive to protocols. However, better hygiene is always a good thing and will help prevent the transmission of other diseases too.

Boeing live virus tests
Advanced cleaning processes will likely stay with airlines for a while to come, but it won’t be uniform across carriers. Photo: Boeing

For now, passengers flying with ANA will be happy to know that there is one less touchpoint to deal with while flying.

What do you think about ANA’s latest implementation? Let us know in the comments!