As a part of our Terminal Velocity series, we asked several designers how they would improve upon the experience of traveling. Here, mechanical engineer Alex Tee of Altitude, Inc. takes on a private, but prominent challenge in air travel: the bathroom stall. —Eds
We’ve all been there. You’re at the airport traveling alone when you decide to stop in the airport terminal bathroom. You wheel your carry-on over the dirty bathroom floor—careful not to pick up any wet scraps of toilet paper—before squeezing into a 36-inch by 60-inch stall.
Now you’ve got to carefully arrange all of your belongings into a three-square-foot wedge of floor space, which we at Altitude have termed "the triangle of tribulation." You might try and suspend your luggage on the coat hook to keep it off the floor and out of your way—but coat hooks are designed to support a trench, not a 30-pound carry-on—forcing you to sit below an impending avalanche of luggage.
Overall, sharing a bathroom stall with your luggage requires a degree in logistics, the physical dexterity of a gymnast, and not a small bit of luck. Traveling is full of minor annoyances like this, and it becomes all the more troublesome when you’re traveling by yourself. Last year, one-third of all business trips included a flight and according to one survey, 60% of those trips were done alone. Even among leisure travelers, 11% of trips are made solo, with no one to watch bags when you have to go.
Enter PoopDeck—a simple concept solution that leverages the space above the stall to provide room to move below. Simply put, the PoopDeck is a metal rack installed on top of the privacy partitions above the stall door, allowing users to place their luggage up and out of the way before entering.
The tubular cross-braces of the rack not only provide structural integrity, but also serve as a reliable attachment point for hanging items such as garment bags. Since the robust rack is securely fastened on top of the structural sidewalls, users will not have to worry about their belongings crashing down on them as they would when utilizing a coat hook.
For travelers who lack the strength or reach to lift their luggage onto the rack, drop down hooks provide an accessible alternative to hang luggage off the floor and out of the way. When not in use, the spring-loaded hooks sit flush with the wall and out of the way, allowing users to move by without issue. When needed, the heavy-duty hook swivels out to provide a large landing area on which to place luggage. This hook is directly mounted to the rack, ensuring a robust and reliable connection that obviates any need to reinforce the existing stall wall.
Renovating bathrooms to accommodate people and luggage is a costly proposition, but the PoopDeck could be an inexpensive and efficient way to upgrade the existing fleet of bathroom stalls with inward facing doors, improving the lives of solo travelers by taking away one small annoyance and making travel just that little bit less stressful.