Many times passengers might found themselves in the lavatory, when turbulence happens. During such times, do the handlebars inside the lavatory provide adequate support to the passenger, or does it makes more sense to install some kind of seat belt?

My question comes from the premise, that if a passenger is in the lavatory when sudden turbulence hits, he/she may not have such necessary aids to prevent injuries, which might lead to a claim of negligence against the airline.

I am mostly looking at answers concerning commercial airlines.

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    $\begingroup$ it might be practical to install them, but it may not be practical to keep them clean enough for people to actually touch them and use them. Handrails or other grips are probably a better idea, and they're already installed in many larger, newer aircraft. $\endgroup$
    – Pondlife
    Commented Mar 25, 2016 at 12:40
  • $\begingroup$ Also, most airline lavatories I've ever been in are such a tight squeeze (and I'm a small guy), that there's really not all that far for turbulence to throw you. $\endgroup$
    – FreeMan
    Commented Mar 25, 2016 at 12:46
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    $\begingroup$ @JayCarr there's certainly a legal side to it, but you'll often find that in aviation. I think it's on topic, not that far from this other question, just more specific. $\endgroup$
    – fooot
    Commented Mar 25, 2016 at 14:27
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    $\begingroup$ @JayCarr I agree, the focus seems to be on the use of seat belts and possibility of injuries and not whether they could claim negligence. $\endgroup$
    – fooot
    Commented Mar 25, 2016 at 15:02
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    $\begingroup$ @fooot I agree, and it's pointless discussing the negligence angle anyway because a) we're not lawyers, and b) at least in the US, anyone can sue anyone else for more or less any reason. So the answer to "could they sue?" is always yes, and the answer to the real question of "could they win?" isn't an aviation one. But here, that's only the thought that led to the question, I think the question stands alone anyway. $\endgroup$
    – Pondlife
    Commented Mar 25, 2016 at 15:38

2 Answers 2


While it may appear at first glance that a seatbelt could simply be installed, it is not a simple answer. There would actually have to be some significant certification analyses and testing done. Seat belts tend to be fabric. While those fabric lap belts are approved for the rest of the cabin, the lavatories have different certification requirements especially regarding propagation of a fire in the enclosed space. There would have to be fire certification testing done and analyses to verify that the information gained during the certification testing was applicable to all configurations.

Also, who would want to use or even touch a lap belt that was installed in the lavatory while someone with explosive diarrhea experiences turbulence? Eww! I wouldn't want to use it as a passenger or service it as a mechanic. That is a biohazard.


Potty belts are common on business jets. They could be installed on airlines.



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    $\begingroup$ It looks to me like this is an option to turn the covered toilet into a FAA-approved seat so the jet can be certified to carry an extra passenger. The extra passenger is sitting on top of the toilet, but not on the toilet. That's a little bit different from putting a seat belt in an airliner lavatory, where the intent would be for people to actually use the toilet for more than just sitting. The article does raise an important point though, which is that just putting a seat belt on a toilet may not be good enough; the toilet might also have to meet the certification standards for seats. $\endgroup$ Commented Mar 25, 2016 at 18:57
  • $\begingroup$ Yes, using a a toilet seat for takeoff and landing would need certification. But adding a belt to a toilet where none is required now should be simple, and could protect the occupant if unexpected turbulence was encountered. $\endgroup$ Commented Mar 26, 2016 at 1:47

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