When an airline employee asked American Airlines CEO Doug Parker about the not-so-comfortable conditions on the airline’s new 737-MAX aircraft, he made a surprising public admission.
Seat pitch might not end up being passengers’ biggest concern with the configuration of the new American Airlines 737-MAX aircraft. According to one of the legacy carrier’s flight attendants, leaving the lavatory with wet pants is a likely outcome of flying on the new equipment.
“In the aft of the aircraft the two bathroom doors open up and they lock into each other, so now you got people coming out of the bathroom into the galley and then we have to shut the doors, let them out, and let the next two people to use the restroom,” the flight attendant explained during a company meeting in comments first reported by View from the Wing columnist Gary Leff. “The sink you get soaking wet because it’s so small you can’t get your hands in there, so it really has some design flaws.”
More surprising than the apparent hygiene and accessibility issues brought up by the cabin crew member was CEO Doug Parker’s unexpected confession when the employee voiced her concerns at the meeting. While the CEO’s comments were refreshingly honest, his admission might prove somewhat frustrating for anyone with plans to fly on or work aboard the new aircraft in the coming months.
“I have not been on the MAX,” Parker reportedly confessed. “Tell me what the issue is again, it’s the bathrooms?”
Although Parker’s acknowledgment that he has not yet been a passenger aboard the airline’s new aircraft drew controversy and made headlines, company officials say that other high-ranking executives have had the experience. “American Airlines President Robert Isom recently flew on the MAX to see it for himself,” a company spokesperson told Inc. this week.
As for the potentially tricky lavatories, airline officials say that the problem has already been solved. It turns out that the issue of too-small bathroom sinks required only a simple fix.
“The MAXes operated by American and other airlines use a standard lavatory offered by Boeing for that aircraft,” the airline told Fox News in a statement. “As with any new aircraft, we are making some adjustments to improve the experience for customers. For instance, we’ve already solved the sink splashing issue by installing aerators. We’re always looking for ways to improve the travel experience for customers and team members.”
[Edit: Doug Parker was mistakenly referred to as Scott Kirby. That mistake has been corrected]