Go before you leave?

Rumor has it that some airlines may be asking passengers to use the facilities in the airport, rather than on the plane, in the near future, according to Today In the Sky. From the post:

    China Southern is urging customers to use the bathroom before boarding their flights, Reuters reports, citing a report from China's Xinhua news agency. The effort isn't part an effort to reduce the weight of fliers, but rather an attempt to reduce the amount of fuel it takes to power the flush of airline toilet at 30,000 feet. China Southern calculates that such a flush uses about a liter of fuel –- or the equivalent of about a quarter of a gallon.

But the best part is the comments, which range from suggesting the airplane loos should be coin-operated, to having a swipe card that deducts frequent flier miles per flush, to offering Depends for long flights, to, well, go read them yourself. Pretty funny. As for me, I'd rather go before I left anyway—plane bathrooms get pretty disgusting, pretty quickly, especially on long flights.

Update: Oh my. Someone on a listserv I'm on saw this same item and got this idea:

    I thought about creating a US airline that could offer best ticket prices using that very approach.

    The "lighter the plane, the cheaper the fare" sort of thing where "utility" would be the basic description of service. Of course the military-type of interior wouldn't be for everybody, but all the details could be worked out to the nth of the dollar to maximize pennies without being too chintzy on comfort. For instance, is it cheaper to provide heat vs. providing heavy parkas? Is it cheaper to maintain a microwave or serve REMs? Beverages could be kept cold by atmosphere alone, maybe? A nice lounge on the ground could, perhaps, make up for the sparsity of creature comforts on the plane?

    Minimalist styling could create a nice travel nuance of "adventure". It costs lots of money hauling little pillows and tiny bags of smoked almonds all over the place, you know. If 6 flight attendants weigh 1/2 ton, how about the weight of a vending machine that won't go on strike? So, the corners that would be cut would convert into dollars saved.

    Do you think this idea would fly?

I'm all for cheaper airfare, but this is, well, almost as ridiculous as standing seats. I love this comment to the idea: "but then again my daughter (just inder 2 years old) goes for free weighs just under 2 stones - she pukes up on take off and can can be quite loud when there is a tad of turbulence. How much would you pay not be near [our] family on take off?" To which someone replied: "How about an act-up, throw-up tax. Those with an established history could be flagged like terrorists." Heh heh.

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