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Here's Visual Evidence That Airplane Bathrooms Are Shrinking

"I swear I am only 6'2. But feel like Demarcus Cousins every time I use an airline bathroom."

Have you recently entered an airline bathroom and thought, "Wait a minute, did this thing shrink? Am I getting fat?" Don't worry, it's not your mind playing tricks on you. Due to the rising cost of fuel and labor, U.S. airlines are trying to cram as many passengers into a plane as humanly possibly. That means making airplane seats smaller, and, you guessed it, tiny lavatories.

While airlines claim the new bathrooms are only a few inches smaller, they were exceptionally narrow to begin with, which means that using one now requires a certain amount of inspired acrobatics. This is especially true if you're trying to change your baby's diaper or take your toddler in to relieve himself.

"[My four=year-old son and I] are both compact people, but I still had to basically straddle him to be able to fit in the lav together," consultant Samuel Engel recently told Bloomberg. "The sink is so tiny that we did a sort of four-handed ballet to wash each of our hands in turn, splashing water all over in the process."

For airlines, the economical benefit of smaller bathroom is enormous, which means they're likely to continue rolling out new carriers with bite-sized lavatories. JetBlue estimates that making bathrooms smaller will enable them to add 12 whole seats on their Airbus A320 jets, boosting their annual revenue by $100 million. For passengers and crew members, however, the tradeoff isn't as much of a no-brainer. Jimmy Walton, a captain on American's Max 8, complained to Bloomberg that the lavatory on his plane is so tiny that he can't even turn around in it.

And flight attendants are worried that the cramped spaces will inevitably lead to more rowdy passengers.

"We believe these lavatories contribute greatly to the general decline of the in-flight experience and have the potential to lead to increased incidents of air rage," Shane Staples, a spokesman for the Association of Professional Flight Attendants at American, said. The only potential upside for crew members is that, with bathrooms this size, they won't have to worry about people having sex on the plane.

The Points Guy writer JT Genter recently took one of American Airlines' new Boeing 737 Max 8 planes, and his review was not great.

"The two lavatories in the back of the plane — which are the only bathrooms for 156 economy passengers — measure just 24 inches wide from wall to wall. On the inaugural, I observed a couple of passengers get physically stuck in the bathroom, having to contort themselves in order to exit the tight space. After squeezing out, one passenger joked to other passenger that he should choose carefully which direction he wanted to enter the bathroom — forward or reverse — as there's no way to turn around once inside."

At this rate, you might want to check out how to do yoga on an airplane in order to make yourself limber enough to use the toilet. Or, if you're accustomed to flying first class and have a large group of people traveling with you, it might be more efficient at this point to just hire a private jet. For more information on that, check out how I Flew in a Private Jet for the First Time and Here's Everything I Learned.

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Diana Bruk
Diana is a senior editor who writes about sex and relationships, modern dating trends, and health and wellness. Read more
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