American Airlines' Tiny New Bathrooms Test Limits Of What U.S. Passengers Will Put Up With - New Boeing 737-MAX Airplanes Are Too Small And Problematic For Use By Most Adults
forcing 156 coach passengers to share just two lavatories that are so small a passenger only has room to wash one hand at a time
by Dan Reed - Forbes.com
25 seconds. 24 inches.
Neither is very large in terms of time or space. But both are huge indicators of just what travelers from different cultures are and are not willing to endure.
Last week the rail company that operates trains that pass through Notogawa Station in Shiga Prefecture, Japan, just east of Kyoto, apologized profusely for one of its trains departing the station – get this – 25 seconds EARLY. Most embarrassing, it was the second time it had happened, apparently ever. Back in November, a train departed Notogawa Stations 20 seconds early, triggering a major outcry among passengers who depend on those trains to get to work and back home again.
Meanwhile, the airline that flies more people more miles than any other in the world is, for the most part, ignoring the complaints of its own flight attendants -- and those of airline bloggers and consumer advocates -- that at just 24 inches wide the tiny restrooms installed on its brand new Boeing 737-MAX airplanes are too small and problematic for use by most adults.
In the former case, the deeply and swiftly apologetic response of the Japanese rail line tells us just how much market power Japanese rail travelers have, and how very demanding and exacting a group they are. Japanese rail travelers expect their trains to leave precisely on time, not one second late and not one second early. In fact, they organize their lives around such high degrees of operational precision and hold their service provider to a very high standard of performance.
But the latter case tells us that American Airlines officials believe – and may well be right – that they hold most or all of the cards and can get away with forcing 156 coach passengers to share just two lavatories that are so small a passenger only has room to wash one hand at a time. Indeed those restrooms are so narrow that passengers reportedly must decide before entering whether to walk in facing the toilet or to back in. That's because once inside with the door closed there's not enough room to turn around.
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