Air Nippon Airways (ANA) will install innovative hands-free toilet doors on 21 planes, with the first coming into use tomorrow, 1st May.
ANA first started to test the hands-free toilet door in August as a way to reduce passenger touch points. Now, after almost nine months, the system is about to be put into use on 21 ANA Boeing aircrafts starting tomorrow, 1st May. The systems will be particularly welcome during the Coronavirus pandemic, as many airlines have made changes to their aircrafts to support passenger experience, like Emirates’ decision to allow passengers to block the middle seat.
How does it work?
So, how does this innovative system work? The system works by allowing passengers to operate the toilet door using their wrists and elbows. The lock can be easily opened as a result of the larger doorknob, whilst the door handle can easily be operated using your elbows. Overall, the system seems able to substantially reduce touchpoints.
The airline decided to install these handles after passenger feedback during a test run. In light of the pandemic, the need to reduce touchpoints is essential, and toilets are a key area. Whilst ANA is rolling them out on 21 aircrafts for now, they plan on eventually rolling out the hands-free systems on all of their aircrafts. 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
Whilst the vaccine will help travel methods return to normal, many safety features implemented during the pandemic are set to stay, and this innovation will be one of them. The virus has forced many airlines to prioritise their hygiene and cleanliness on board, with many implementing strict cleaning regimes. Likewise, passengers have become increasingly sensitive to protocol. Thus, keeping systems like these is not such a bad thing and can improve passenger travel during the pandemic and beyond.
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