With Boeing still struggling to get its embattled 737 Max planes back in the air and rebuild the damage done to its brand, its main rival, Airbus, potentially has a big opportunity in the market. And apparently Airbus want to use that opportunity to find out exactly when and how customers use the bathroom on board their planes.
Last month, the European manufacturer started testing their A350-900 wide-body aircraft, which is chock-full of sensors that collect data about the passengers on its planes, CNBC reports. Apparently, it is on a mission to learn everything about what passengers do while flying through the sky in overpriced tin cans. And no detail is too small—whether that’s drinking coffee, listening to six hours of the Ed Sheeran playlist the airline so helpfully put together, downing an endless stream of Biscoff cookies, or how much toilet paper people use while crammed in those increasingly small lavatories.
To collect that data, Airbus has reportedly added sensors throughout the aircraft. Those sensors are designed to both help cabin crew and airlines keep tabs on their in-flight inventory and make it easier to reorder supplies, but they also turn flights into flying data-collection sites. CNBC suggests the airline could “track how many times the lavatory latch is opened and closed so the airline and cabin crews know how often the bathrooms are being used” and see “how many times seats are reclined” to help monitor maintenance needs.
According to CNBC, Airbus hopes that it can gather enough data on passenger behavior and consumption on board that it can figure out things like new ways to make enough overhead bin space for everyone and make the line for the lavatory not stretch all the way to the first-class cabin.
That data will be collected, analyzed, and hopefully turned into new ways for airlines to make money. Perhaps a per-square toilet paper charge is the next frontier in airline fees.