All Nippon Airways (ANA) announced in a press release that it is fitting 21 of its aircrafts with the world’s first-ever hands-free airplane bathroom door. The innovative technology, developed in collaboration with aircraft components manufacturer Jamco Corporation, will help limit the transmissions of virus, bacteria, or other microorganisms responsible for diseases.

Instead of using their hands, passengers will use their elbows to open the door from the outside and lock, unlock, and push open the door from the inside. Signage placed near the lavatories will explain how to use the new mechanism.

Hand-free airplane bathroom tested by japanese airline ANA

Photo: Jamco

The new door will be installed on one Boeing 787-8 aircraft, two Boeing 787-9 aircrafts, and eight Boeing 777-200 — 21 airplanes in total — and began testing on May 1 on domestic flights in Japan.

“Guided by the principles of ANA Care Promise, we have continued to invest in the development and implementation of innovative technologies because the health and safety of passengers and our staff is the top priority,” said Shinichi Inoue, Nippon Airways’ senior executive vice president of customer experience management & planning. “The hands-free lavatory door is the latest example of us putting this principle into practice as we look for ways to make the travel experience safer and more convenient.”

If testing of the new door handle proves successful, the Japanese airline hopes to install it on more of its planes.

A version of this article was previously published on August 26, 2020 and was updated on May 11, 2021, with more information