Those canny Japanese designers have done it again with ANA about to install a world-first hands-free aircraft loo door aimed at cutting down potential COVID contact points during flights.
All Nippon Airways has developed what it touts as the world’s first hands-free lavatory door in partnership with JAMCO Corporation as part of its Care Promise initiative.
It will introduce it to domestic flights from May 1.
The new lavatory door is equipped with a large inner door locking knob and an additional handle so that passengers can use their elbows to unlock and open the door.
To avoid people getting confused by the system, ANA is placing helpful signs near the loo to provide “operational instructions”.
It will initially be installed on 11 Boeing 787-8 aircraft, two 787-9s and eight Boeing 787-200s serving domestic routes but ANA hopes to introduce to all domestic and international aircraft.
“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,” said senior executive vice president customer experience Shinichi Inoue said.
“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.”
ANA says its award-winning Care Promise program goes beyond recommendations from public health officials.
Japan is currently experiencing a surge in COVID cases that has seen it pass 10,000 deaths with less than 1 percent of the population vaccinated so far.
A state of emergency in Osaka and Tokyo has prompted ANA to suspend alcoholic beverages and buffet services in Haneda, Kansai and Itami airports from April 28 until the emergency is lifted.
It has also warned it may close or change opening hours of international or domestic lounges.