Here's A Better Way To Poop In Airport Stalls

Squeezing into the Pez-sized bathroom stall with carry-on luggage can be a real hassle. Alex Tee, a mechanical engineer with Altitude, has a simple solution.

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.

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  • Wayne Shek

    The problem is the door, not the luggage. If the door is better-designed, there should be enough room to accommodate the luggage. What happens if you have a full-size luggage!

  • Michael Wayne Cole

    Is this meant to be irony? Is it supposed to be funny? Because it's hilarious!

  • Ta Hamil

    This is not good for most because it's hard to lift 30lbs up that high and it is in the zone for easy theft. Only tall people would benefit if they strapped luggage to shelf. Simple solution is to make bathroom bigger or put up w/ what it is.

  • Adey Jarvis

    not something I've ever thought was an issue. Who are these people who can not poop without getting cack on their legs and bashing their luggage?

  • This is a phenomenal idea! ... If people weren't so "Sue-Happy" to make a quick buck. Knowing that there would be a liability on either the airport or manufacturer (or both), in the event that the rack failed and dropped the luggage on the poor traveler who hoovers over the Loo to manage their (ahem) business. Or the said traveler just lost grip of their luggage and injured themselves as it dropped. The poor traveler turns into the Sue-Happy traveler.

    I think the concept is great, but the reality of people prevent it from happening. :(

  • Written by a man of course. Women have to go in stalls all the time. And sometimes with luggage and a baby/toddler/child. Get over it... do your stuff and wash your hands with soap. You'll be fine.

  • I tried to tell him precisely of the plight of us women while in our spa bathroom (of all places!) but he simply refused to listen to me over the roar of his hair dryer.

  • What an arrogant… person. "Wash your hands with soap"? Do you even hear yourself?

    How is that so male centric? Please enlighten me.

  • Theft is easily avoided - just put three rails around the base, of a sufficient height that it would be impossible for a would-be thief to lift the bag above them.

  • theft could be a major issue in developing countries...sitting there and totally vulnerable...seeing two hands taking it away and you will sure face the dilemma...continue or abort?

  • Ever go in a bathroom stall? The partitions top out at 70 inches for 95%+ of them. That's 5'10". Which means no one over that height could use the stall.

    That tall person could, however, steal your stuff off the top, after you spent 5 minutes trying to get your 50 lb. suitcase up that high. And I sure hope the partitions are well mounted.

    This idea isn't worth writing about.

  • I love this concept, but I'm giggling over how male-centric it is. Women use the stalls for everything, not just pooping! I daresay the problem of the bathroom stall shuffle is much more common for women. Perhaps a name other than "poop deck" is in order?

    One potential issue for the design is theft. Whats to stop a tall thief from grabbing your bag just when you're most vulnerable?