What is a laviator?

Benet J Wilson and Flightblogger, Jon Ostrower, in the lavatory of a Gulfstream GIV that used to be owned by Oprah.

My interview with Benet J Wilson….

Aunt Benet: How did you coin the term “laviator?”

Heather Poole: I didn’t; the great Annie “Danger” Scott Riley did.  I knew I had found something great, and it deserved a great name, so I asked my fellow Gadling writers if they could come up with something.  Annie won.  I can’t remember what I almost named it, but it was funny too.

AB: How did you come up with the idea to create the laviator blog?

HP: It’s not actually a blog, but a club/group that people can join by submitting  photos to a Flickr website.  I’ll choose some of the photos from time to time to feature on my blog.  It all began when I was working on a blog post for my Galley Gossip column on Gadling about trusting your fear (in flight).  I needed a photograph of an airplane toilet to go along with a story I was sharing about a man who kept going to the lavatory with a McDonald’s bag.

I went to Flickr.com to look for a photo, typed the words, “airplane toilet” into the search engine/tool bar, and VOILA!  Hundreds of “laviators” popped up.  I couldn’t believe how many photos there were of people posing in the bathroom mirror.  Right then and there I KNEW I was on to something.  What I loved most about those photos was everyone looked so happy!  It was like…they weren’t even on a plane!  LOL.  And everyone was so different!  Young, old, short, tall, and from all over the world.  It’s an international phenomenon, I guess.  The great thing about air travel is no matter how different we are, we all pretty much have the same experiences – in airplane toilets.  HA!  It’s why travel is such a great topic of conversation.

AB: When was the blog launched?

HP: The first laviator post appeared on Gadling March 23, 2009!  Wow, the club is almost 3 years old!  After I posted the story, a funny thing happened.  Strangers started emailing me their photos!  So I wrote about it again so I could feature these photos.  Soon after that someone named George from Romania created a laviator video (Auntie appears at around 2:23)  featuring all the photos.  I love that video.  And then it just took off!  National Geographic even wrote about it!  Photos came pouring in.  And I would post each one in the Gadling Laviator photo gallery.




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