The Best Restroom in America Is… In An Airport?

Idaho Senator Larry Craig was once arrested in a Minneapolis St. Paul airport restroom for having too wide a stance.

The airport has really cleaned up its bathroom act since then. Every Congressional sex scandal has to be memorialized. Congressman John Jenrette‘s escapades got a DC comedy troup named after them, the Capitol Steps.

And Senator Larry Craig’s incident is now memorialized with… an award for America’s best bathroom.

In addition to overhauling each restroom to include features such as stalls that have out-swinging doors and niches for rolling luggage, baby changing stations with sinks and towel dispensers, and shallow trough sinks that minimize splashing and give easier access to touchless faucets and soap dispensers, the MSP restroom renovation project is creating easy-to-identify restroom zones.

Each zone has waiting areas that allow travel companions to wait away from passing traffic, plus amenities such as flight information boards, AEDs and others emergency devices, water-bottle refill stations and curated art display cases.

According to the airport’s senior architect, their restrooms matter because “The restroom is often the first place visited on arrival and the last stop for departing passengers, leaving a lingering impression of their destination.”

This reminds me of the 1990 Dana Carvey film, Opportunity Knocks. He’s a con man who has talked his way into a job at a business making bathroom supplies. As a Vice President he’s expected to revolutionize the way they market their products and boosts sales. On the spot he comes up with this: “we all know that your major life decisions aren’t made in the board room — they’re made in the bath room.”

And here I thought it was an innovation that you no longer have to tip in the bathrooms at the Charlotte airport.

Meanwhile I wonder if awarding this to a restroom in an airport in the U.S. really is, as George W. Bush once said, “the soft bigotry of low expectations.”

After all, you can rate your restrooms in real-time at Kuala Lumpur International Airport.

And in the Sydney airport you can shop while you go. They even have airport specials!

On the other hand, an airport restroom already starts out ahead if an air marshal doesn’t leave a loaded gun there. And if a hand doesn’t come out and grab you.

Or this happens to you while trying to go before a flight:

If you’re flying Spirit Airlines, you’re lucky if you don’t have to go in a field.

If I was designing a restroom, I’d just place a sign on the men’s side, “Don’t eat the big white mint.”

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. I’ll have to check out the MSP restrooms but so far in my experience the best restrooms are likely at Buckees in Texas or maybe a Dillard’s store in St. Louis.
    Worst is likely at LGA baggage claim or an outhouse squat near Camping Romania. 🙂

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