Except for some very light jets, most private jets offer lavatory facilities. Some are better suited for emergencies or those who are not too shy. Others fit the needs of passengers travelling in larger groups and longer distances.
Why do we call them lavatories? The aviation term lavatory or ‘lav’ comes from the Latin word for bathroom ‘lavatorium’.
Private jet toilets range from chemical toilets (potties) hidden under a bench cushion or a specialised passenger seat to luxury enclosed bathrooms with sinks and private vacuum-flush toilets on larger VIP business jets. Larger jets may also offer more than one fully-enclosed lavatory with a sink.
Some toilets on private jets often do double-duty as a crew seat or extra passenger seat. These “certified lav seats” include a seat belt and comfortable seat cushion. You lift the cushion to use the chemical toilet feature hidden underneath. If you’ve used a port-a-potty, you’re already familiar with a chemical toilet. It’s effectively a bucket filled with chemicals to address unpleasant odours. There is no flushing feature. Remember that you may rely on this certified lav seat if you add an extra passenger to your group.
Some of these toilet facilities may have a curtain, and others are behind a wall panel, so you get a bit of privacy from the rest of the cabin.
If you travel on a smaller jet, these are most likely the facilities you’ll find available onboard. If your trip is relatively short, you may want to use the facilities at the terminal or FBO before boarding if you prefer privacy. However, fly with peace of mind that if you need to go during your flight, there is an option available.
Midsize and larger jets will likely have a fully-enclosed lavatory closet with a door and a sink. If you’ve flown on a commercial flight, you’re already familiar with these. Based on the cabin size, some lavatory closets may be tight, but they offer better privacy.
The toilet and sink on larger jets may use vacuum extraction to clear the waste and water. James Kemper patented the first vacuum flush toilet in 1975. Boeing installed the first on an aircraft in 1982.
Contrary to popular myths, aircraft lavatory tanks are never emptied in the sky. The waste is sucked into a dedicated tank on the aircraft and cleared by ground services as part of the aircraft’s cleaning process.
Some private jet lavatories have attractive features like anti-bacterial surface treatments, hands-free activation of the faucet in the sink and a hands-free toilet flush. They can also have a variety of stylish sink and toilet designs.
Whatever type of lavatory you have onboard, the ground services crew keeps everything clean and hygienic on your private jet.
Can you shower on a private jet? Oh, yes. Absolutely. Some large VIP Bizjet conversions—Airbus or Boeing aircraft converted to VIP apartments in the sky—include showers in their luxurious master baths. There are a few details that vary from your bathroom at home.
Because water is heavy, it is always in limited supply on aircraft. In-flight showers regulate water supply to ensure you can wash comfortably. But don’t expect to linger there for a long, hot shower. If you must rush to a meeting as soon as you land, the shower onboard will be a welcome feature. However, if you have some time to spare, the shower facilities at the Business Aviation terminal or FBO may give you more time to soak your muscles.
Depending on the size of your jet, there may be more than one lavatory option onboard. Ask your flight attendant onboard about their location. Consult your LunaJets advisor in advance if the lavatory facilities available are an essential consideration when selecting the right private jet for a comfortable journey.