Why do airport bathroom stalls open inward?

| Comments (5) | Misc
I flew from SFO to LAX today, and noticed again a phenomenon that has annoyed me before: the doors on the bathroom stalls on both airports open inward (evidence below).

Ordinarily, this isn't a big deal, but in the airport it is. There you are with your bag. You walk into the stall, and then you somehow have to close the door behind you, but since it has to clear your bag you need to cram up against the toilet to let the door clear. If the doors just opened outward, this wouldn't be a problem. In SFO, at least, this would be no problem; the aisle is at least 6 feet wide. Even the LAX aisle is wide enough, though it might be a bit cramped to walk through with the door open if you were really fat. Still, this seems like it would be a simple improvement.


It's an anti-terrorist measure. When the terrorist is in a stall and sets off his explosive device, the force will push the door shut and contain the explosion. If the door opened outward, then it would blow out and contribute to the destructive power of the attack. We don't want our bathrooms acting as force multipliers for our enemies, do we?

My guess is that they want to avoid lawsuits from people injured when they reach to check if a stall door is unlocked just as it flies open and the person inside charges out, rushing to catch a flight...

Economies of scale in stall production? Don't most stalls open inward? (which I think is so that you can kick and prevent the door from opening if you didn't lock it.)

I think you generally place doors so that they don't swing onto the aisle. And with the cramped situation, you strongly encourage toilet users to actually close the door. I'm not sure everybody would bother if the door opened in the other direction.

Inward swinging doors also violate the ADA guidelines for wheelchair and other disabled users.

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