Are there any rules or guidelines that define the minimum amount of toilets per number of passengers on an aircraft? I know there are similar rules for cabin crew, emergency doors etc.

It seems to be varying per airline the amount of toilets (similar aircraft type)

  • $\begingroup$ This news article says no regulations, at least for the US jurisdiction. Not sure if that can be considered authoritative. $\endgroup$ Apr 20, 2017 at 3:24
  • $\begingroup$ This is a very interesting question! $\endgroup$
    – FreeMan
    Apr 20, 2017 at 14:30

1 Answer 1


(this answer is specific to US laws and regs for domestic flights)

No, there are not. And, in fact, it is perfectly legal to fly with ALL of the toilets broken and unusable. No restrictions on flight time, either. The airline is required to notify all passengers that the flight has no working toilets. (I'm not sure if any compensation is required for passengers electing to not board the flight).

The Department of Transportation does provide the following in their Aviation Consumer Rights rules:

  • (in the section discussing tarmac delays): While the aircraft remains on the tarmac lavatories must remain operable and medical attention must be available if needed.

Although it's obviously not possible to make the lavatories available during a tarmac delay if the lavatory is broken, there are no rules prohibiting the flight from departing if the lavatory is broken.

  • $\begingroup$ This is a horrible answer! (From the passenger's point of view...) $\endgroup$
    – FreeMan
    Apr 20, 2017 at 14:31
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Agree... several "horror" stories in various media from over the years. I think one of the more recent ones was about a year or so ago on an American Eagle flight. The plane was at an outlaying field with no maintenance, destination ORD. The plane had to go to Chicago to fix the lav no matter what, so they had two choices: bump everyone to different flights and fly the plane empty on a maintenance ferry... or just bring everyone along, and they could "tough it out". If I was a pax with bladder problems, I think I'd ask to be rebooked... otherwise, I would just tough it out. $\endgroup$
    – Jimmy
    Apr 20, 2017 at 17:51
  • $\begingroup$ Hand out empty bottles? $\endgroup$
    – TomMcW
    Apr 20, 2017 at 18:04

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