Editor’s note: This article was originally posted in 2013. Since then Airbus has moved to a new style of Space-Flex lavatory (v2) which has a fixed partition between the two lavatories (v1 had a swinging partition). Wheelchair-users must first transfer to a jumpseat and then transfer to the toilet (unassisted) in the second compartment after the partition is removed. The transfer to and from the jumpseat can be problematic because of space considerations. Airbus removed all reference about the Space-Flex lavatory from their website, and it’s unknown at this time if this design feature will continue to be included in aircraft. At this time it is not a viable accessible choice.
Beginning this fall, Airbus will introduce a truly accessible lavatory on their A320 aircraft. The new Space-Flex lavatory system will be located in the rear of the aircraft. The system consists of two standard lavatories located next to one another, which can easily be converted into one large accessible lavatory. The resulting lavatory has a wide door and is large enough to accommodate an on-board wheelchair. Since the A320 flies many long-distance routes, this will make air travel a very doable option for many full-time wheelchair-users. TAM (the Brazilian airline) has ordered 39 A320 aircraft outfitted with Space-Flex lavatories. And since Airbus produces almost half of the world’s commercial aircraft, it’s hoped that most fleets will have at least some Space-Flex lavatories.