Fly Green: Do Your Business First

Amusing but smart:

Like many things in Japan, the message is subtle. At least Japan’s All Nippon Airways (ANA) hopes it is, now that the nation’s second largest airline has started quietly asking passengers in Japanese to use the bathroom before boarding 38 domestic flights and four international flights between Tokyo and Singapore. The request is part of the airline’s “ecological flight” program, now in its fourth year, to reduce its carbon footprint by lightening planes’ loads and reducing fuel consumption. Through the month of October, ANA aims to reduce as much as 4.2 tons from going into the atmosphere by asking passengers to pack — and board — lighter.


ANA has apparently decided to spare its non-Japanese-speaking customers the potential embarrassment of pre-boarding potty talk. Though the Japanese-language announcement video at the gate for domestic departures politely advises travelers to use the bathroom before boarding, the English announcement makes no such suggestion. The English video does encourage passengers to “think about the earth and the sky above,” saying that a lighter aircraft means less carbon dioxide emissions, but stops short of suggested a pre-boarding run to the loo.

ANA spokeswoman Megumi Tezuka says she’s surprised by the attention the program has received in recent days, since the program was announced in a press release on Sept. 10. Why isn’t made to international travelers? “We didn’t think [telling people to use the restroom] was a very important point of the program,” says Tezuka. “We didn’t think there would be such big news about it.” Others of ANA’s 12 programs include recycling plastic bottles and paper cups, using lighter items in the cabin (such as plastic bottles for wine instead of glass ones) and providing chopsticks made from the wood of thinned domestic forests.

Airlines could help themselves along these lines without embarrassing announcements if they could figure out how to board and de-board passengers without trapping us aboard on the ground for 30-45 minutes on both ends of the flight.

FILED UNDER: Economics and Business, Environment, , ,
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. Furhead says:

    Right on, JJ. Especially for those of us traveling with kids, we have to make sure to have tons of snacks and drink available in the case of the inevitable delay.

  2. Furhead says:

    Also, it’s a good thing Obama didn’t make this suggestion. His rabid haters would be all over this, much like they were for the perfectly reasonable suggestion to keep your tires inflated.

  3. Are Japanese passengers holding it in so they can experience the pleasure of crapping in a flying closet? Are there really people who enjoy using the sky seat? Is this some weird sexual fetish? And if so, shouldn’t this be the Germans?

  4. Dave Schuler says:

    Well, after all, it is the country that gave the world Everyone Poops.

  5. odograph says:

    My Dad told me what was apparently a very, very, old joke. A Japanese arrives in the United States and is cautioned that Americans never discuss bodily functions. He is set to go to an important party, but gets more and more nervous has he approaches. What if he has to go? What should he say? He can’t take it, so he does his business in the bushes outside before knocking on the door. The party goes well, until the hostess announces that dinner is served, and if anyone would like to wash their hands, the bathroom is down the hall

    … “no thank you, I already wash hands in bushes outside”

    (I didn’t say it was a good joke, just more interesting in that what goes around comes around.)

  6. Drew says:

    Hello, as your President, and recent recipient of the Nobel Peace prize, I’ve come here tonight to advise you of new FAA rules on the environment, pre-boarding enemas……….and what it means to you.

  7. William d'Inger says:

    There’s nothing wrong with trying to conserve fuel by reducing weight. It’s a matter of effectiveness. Is saving 4.2 tons of CO2 emissions in a month significant or is it so small as to be laughable? I haven’t a clue.

    The simplest and most effective way would be to base air fares on weight and let the passengers decide what they can travel without.

  8. odograph says:

    I think there is a weight-based flying hoax that goes around once a year. As a skinny guy I’m always in favor.