Yesterday I drew the short straw on our flight from Philadelphia to Aruba. We were flying on one of the big planes that has a mid-cabin bathroom, and I was assigned the unlucky seat right across the aisle from the commode. I was so close to the bathroom I could reach out and shove the door shut without leaving my seat—something that I regrettably had to do multiple times during the flight.
The seat next to the bathroom is not a prime location under any circumstances, but the passengers on our flight didn’t help matters. Curiously, some people evidently are confused about the etiquette of closing the bathroom door after they have exited. If you have any doubt on this question, please have pity on the person sitting next to the bathroom and shut the door! Some people left the door wide open in their urgent zeal to leave the area, treating me to a great view like the one below. Others would halfheartedly leave the door in a partially closed position, which just meant the door would open to full toilet display mode during the next spot of turbulence. I’m not sure if Emily Post ever addressed the question, but the correct answer is that propriety demands full closure of the door.
The area around my seat also became a kind of gathering spot for those in waiting. Here are some things to keep in mind if you find yourself in that position. First, remember that the area is not a cocktail lounge, and there is no need to chatter away inches from the guy who is unfortunately seated there. One overly enthusiastic women, for example, kept promising another person waiting that she would be quicker than the current occupant of the bathroom. A respectful silence is preferable to such witty commentary. Second, the headrest of my seat is not a leaning post or a handrest, either. And third, I’m really not interested in engaging in conversation with those who are waiting.
It was a four-hour flight, so I had plenty of practical experience to help me in developing these pointers. Please keep them in mind for your next flight—the poor guy in the seat next to the bathroom would appreciate it.