The Dallas Morning News

Flush with high-tech, bath­rooms in it to win it

Stall lights, toi­let paper track­ers and more put re­strooms in con­test finals

- By KYLE ARNOLD Staff Writer kyle.arnold@dal­las­news.com

Stall lights and dig­i­tal soap track­ing could make the re­strooms at DFW In­ter­na­tional Air­port the best in the na­tion.

DFW’S re­strooms are one of 10 fi­nal­ists for the na­tion’s best in a yearly com­pe­ti­tion spon­sored by in­dus­trial sup­ply com­pany Cin­tas. The an­nual con­test also in­cludes zen­like abodes at Port­land’s Ja­panese Gar­den and a swanky bath­room at a restau­rant in Austin.

DFW Air­port was tabbed af­ter a years­long ef­fort to im­prove cus­tomer sat­is­fac­tion with air­port re­strooms, in­clud­ing high­tech fea­tures to make them eas­ier to use, well­stocked and avail­able for pas­sen­gers.

It’s a tall or­der for DFW, the world’s fourth­largest air­port with 137 bath­rooms, in­clud­ing 46 men’s re­strooms, 46 women’s bath­rooms, 40 fam­ily/as­sisted care re­strooms and five nurs­ing rooms.

“The DFW Air­port in­te­grated smart re­stroom tech­nol­ogy into all of its gate­side re­strooms to in­clude aes­thet­i­cally pleas­ing fix­tures, touch­free dis­pens­ing, con­sum­able track­ing, and other smart re­stroom fea­tures, al­low­ing staff to op­er­ate on de­mand, rather than a timesched­uled ap­proach for mak­ing sure the bath­rooms are cleaned and well­stocked,” Cin­tas wrote in the best­bath

rooms fi­nal­ist an­nounce­ment.

DFW spent $3.2 mil­lion last year on smart sen­sors that show which stalls are open. It also has in­vested in track­ers on toi­let paper, soap, paper tow­els and other con­sum­ables that in­di­cate when prod­ucts are run­ning low, in­stead of sim­ply re­ly­ing on a clean­ing sched­ule.

DFW has a unique chal­lenge be­cause re­strooms tend to get heavy us­age in waves, par­tic­u­larly when flights land and hun­dreds of well­wa­tered pas­sen­gers exit a plane af­ter hours in the air.

The re­strooms also fea­ture stall latch sen­sors, dig­i­tal screens at the en­trances to show the num­ber of open stalls and screens through­out the air­port to show which nearby bath­rooms are be­ing cleaned.

There are now over 4,900 dis­pensers through­out the air­port bath­rooms to make the process eas­ier when na­ture calls.

The 2019 win­ner was the Nashville Zoo and its glass wall that shows the habi­tat of a fam­ily of six cot­ton­top tamarins, and the 2017 win­ner was the Odysea Aquar­ium in Scotts­dale, Ariz., and its view into a real shark tank.

Air­ports have taken home the top prize be­fore, in­clud­ing the ritzy toi­lets at Fort Smith Re­gional Air­port in Arkansas and the lux­u­ri­ous re­strooms at Min­neapo­lis­st. Paul In­ter­na­tional Air­port.

The Buc­ee’s gas sta­tion and con­ve­nience store in New Braun­fels won the award in 2012, putting it in the re­stroom hall of fame. The Texas­founded chain heav­ily mar­kets its plen­ti­ful and clean bath­rooms to trav­el­ers.

This year’s other fi­nal­ists also in­clude Air­tran’s JFK Ja­maica Sta­tion in New York, Ban­croft Park in Colorado Springs, Gaslight Bar & Grill in Cincin­nati, Gree­ley Square Park in New York, the Kimp­ton Muse Ho­tel in New York, the Scotts­dale Cen­ter for the Per­form­ing Arts in Ari­zona and the Guild Ho­tel in San Diego.

Swift’s At­tic, a restau­rant in Austin, is also in the run­ning for its “Gothic­style re­strooms” that fea­ture “flo­ral­pat­terned sinks, an­tique light fix­tures and gold and black striped wall­pa­per.”

 ?? Ben Tor­res/spe­cial Contributo­r ?? Pi­lots walk past signs in DFW In­ter­na­tional Air­port’s Ter­mi­nal B di­rect­ing pas­sen­gers to help stop the spread of COVID­19. The air­port spent $3.2 mil­lion last year on smart sen­sors that show which of its bath­room stalls are avail­able.
Ben Tor­res/spe­cial Contributo­r Pi­lots walk past signs in DFW In­ter­na­tional Air­port’s Ter­mi­nal B di­rect­ing pas­sen­gers to help stop the spread of COVID­19. The air­port spent $3.2 mil­lion last year on smart sen­sors that show which of its bath­room stalls are avail­able.
 ?? DFW In­ter­na­tional Air­port ?? Dig­i­tal signs at the en­trances of re­strooms at DFW In­ter­na­tional Air­port show where clean­ing is in progress and the num­ber of avail­able stalls. The air­port has 137 bath­rooms.
DFW In­ter­na­tional Air­port Dig­i­tal signs at the en­trances of re­strooms at DFW In­ter­na­tional Air­port show where clean­ing is in progress and the num­ber of avail­able stalls. The air­port has 137 bath­rooms.
 ?? DFW In­ter­na­tional Air­port ?? A paper towel dis­penser in a re­stroom at DFW In­ter­na­tional Air­port in­cludes a tracker to alert cus­to­dial crews when sup­plies are low.
DFW In­ter­na­tional Air­port A paper towel dis­penser in a re­stroom at DFW In­ter­na­tional Air­port in­cludes a tracker to alert cus­to­dial crews when sup­plies are low.

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