This NY Times story boldly makes clear that as a nation we have officially moved on from 9/11. In the paper of record, fear of psychopathic hijackers crashing airplanes into buildings filled with people has now officially given way to brave calls for an all-important passenger-to-toilet-ratio czar:
Unbelievable as it may sound, the only apparent law on the books that requires an aircraft to fly with a working restroom, the Air Carrier Access Act of 1986, applies to planes with more than one aisle that were delivered or refurbished after April 1992. That's a huge loophole, given the number of jets that are older or have just one aisle. Plus, federal law seems to be mum when it comes to the all-important passenger-to-toilet ratio on a plane….
A functioning toilet is such a basic necessity that the law appears to take it for granted. Perhaps it shouldn't.
Oh, and one more thing, notes Timesman Christopher Elliott, "Of course, airlines don't exploit this regulatory lapse."
So, as reader (and associate editorial editor of the Harvard Crimson) Piotr Brzezinski notes in his email bringing this story to our attention, "So, there's no serious problem about functional bathrooms on airlines. There's also no law about bathrooms on airlines. Therefore, there should be a law. WTF."
Whole Times story here.
Two quick responses. First, Elliott's column is titled "Sounding Off." In the interest of basic accuracy and out of respect for readers' intelligence, it really should be called "Jerking Off."
Second, I smell a hoax here–is Christopher Elliott in reality Chris Elliott, late of the Dave Letterman show and the auteur behind Get a Life!, arguably the greatest TV series ever (and inarguably one of the most hated by anyone who wasn't a total fan)? God, I hope so.
Bonus response: Isn't this precisely the sort of story the Times should be putting behind its subscription wall, safely out of reach of most readers? Throw John Tierney over the wall and keep Elliott safely within the perimeter and everything would be as pleasant and sweet-smelling as, well, an airplane powder room.