Many people with significant intellectual or physical disabilities cannot utilize a standard toilet, instead requiring equipment such as a hoist and height-adjustable changing table to use the bathroom in safety and comfort. In the United Kingdom, adult changing tables are gaining wide support thanks to the advocacy of disability campaigners and the Changing Places Consortium. Similar campaigns in the United States are just getting off the ground, but there is some good news in America’s airports.
A number of airports in the United States have installed adult changing stations, which keep disabled people off the bathroom floor and reduces the stress of flying with a disability. Using the information in this article, you’ll be able to locate adult changing tables around the country to better plan an accessible journey.
ATL — Hartfield-Jackson International Airport Atlanta
The world’s busiest airport has finally joined other airports by installing an adult changing table. There is only one such facility in the airport, located in the Terminal F departures area near French Meadow Cafe.
Terminal F is the international terminal, where many of the longest intercontinental flights depart from. Because the airport has a total of 7 terminals, advocates hope that more adult changing stations will be installed.
AUS — Austin-Bergstrom International Airport
Construction of a 9-gate terminal expansion in 2019 brought an important new feature to Austin Airport — a companion care restroom with an adult changing table.
Adult changing table at Austin-Bergstrom International Airport. | Photo courtesy Austin Airport.
The 137 square foot companion care restroom features a powered height adjustable changing table for adults with disabilities and a motorized ceiling hoist/lift transfer system. The bathroom also has an accessible toilet, shower/wash feature and an adjustable height sink.
BNA — Nashville International Airport
A height adjustable adult changing table is available in Concourse C at Nashville International Airport. The table is located in a family restroom near Gate C17, which is close to the end of Terminal C. Nashville Airport’s terminals are connected airside, so passengers arriving or departing from Terminals A or B can still make their way to Terminal C.
BWI — Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport
Three of the 12 family restrooms at BWI airport are equipped with an adult changing station. One is located before security in Terminal A, one inside security in the connector between terminals B and C, and another in concourse D at gate D7.
Adult changing table at BWI Airport. | Photo courtesy Maryland Aviation Administration.
The changing stations at BWI were some of the first in the country. They are fixed height, with grab bars on the adjacent walls.
CLT – Charlotte Douglas Airport
Adult Changing Stations are centrally located in family restrooms in the terminal near Gates A6 and C7.
CVG – Cincinati / Northern Kentucky Airport
Restrooms accessible to individuals with disabilities are located in the Terminal and both Concourses. Family assist restrooms are located near Gates A-11, B-11, and B-13 (after security). There is an adult changing table in the family assist restroom at B-13.
DEN – Denver International Airport
Companion Care Restroom: DEN has a Companion Care restroom with a remote-control, height-adjustable adult changing table inside, along with a standard toilet and sink. The Companion Care restroom is located on the west side of Level 5, adjacent to the train exit and next to the men’s restroom.
FSD -Sioux Falls Regional Airport
The concourse’s family restroom will include a universal changing table. That’s a first for the regional hub — and possibly for Sioux Falls too. The equipment isn’t required by current building codes, but the International Codes Council recently approved these tables as a must in the near future: They’ll be required in certain facilities for projects that take place under the 2024 version of the International Building Code.
Also called adult changing tables, these platforms or benches are larger and have a much greater weight capacity than baby-changing stations. Universal tables provide a safe, hygienic and dignified toileting experience for babies, plus anyone who needs assistance with self-care. The floor-mounted or wall-secured tables also are a huge help for caregivers — whether they’re traveling with elderly family members, an older child with special needs or an adult with significant mobility issues because of disabilities or injury.
LAX — Los Angeles International Airport
Disabled passengers traveling through Los Angeles International Airport can make use of two adult changing table facilities, located in Terminals 1 and 7.
Adult changing table at LAX Airport. | Photo courtesy Los Angeles World Airports.
“These specially-designed tables for adults allow caregivers to provide assistance in a manner that is much more comfortable and convenient for both parties,” said Barbara Yamamoto, Chief Guest Experience Officer, Los Angeles World Airports (LAWA). “This is just one more way that we are working to ensure that we provide an exceptional experience to all our guests, including the disabled and elderly.”
The tables have a weight capacity of 400 pounds and are power height adjustable. In Terminal 1, which serves Southwest Airlines, the changing table is located inside a private, all-gender restroom by Gate 14. In Terminal 7, serving United Airlines and United Express, you can find a changing table in the family restroom by Gate 75A.
LAX plans to provide an adult changing table in Terminal 3 later this year, and another in the new international concourse which will open in 2020.
MCO — Orlando International Airport
Orlando International Airport has installed adult changing tables in each of its companion care restrooms. At least one changing table equipped bathroom is available on every concourse.
Adult changing table at MCO Airport. | Photo courtesy GOAA/Twitter.
The changing tables have a maximum weight capacity of 400 pounds. They are power height adjustable and can be lowered to within inches of the floor.
MSY — New Orleans International Airport
The Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport has two adult changing tables. One is located pre-security in the family restroom adjacent to the TSA security checkpoint, while the other is located post-security next to the Shake Shack restaurant.
The changing tables are height adjustable and located inside private family bathroom facilities that are “free of any architectural barriers to the handicapped,” according to the airport.
OKC — Will Rogers World Airport
Oklahoma City’s Will Rogers World Airport installed an adjustable height adult changing table in the summer of 2022.
The adult changing room is located in the central concourse across from Gate 18, and it can be accessed from both the women’s and men’s sides of the restroom facility. Both entry doors feature locks with a status indicator that reads “occupied” or “available.” A private family restroom is located nearby, alongside the women’s restroom entrance. Additional information on the airport’s accessibility features are available on the Fly OKC website.
ORD — Chicago O’Hare International Airport
A new accessible bathroom by gate F3 in Terminal 2 at Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport has been billed as the most accessible in the nation.
Adult changing table at ORD Airport. | Photo courtesy Chicago Department of Aviation.
The bathroom features a motorized hoist/patient lift, an adult changing table (max load of 330 pounds), two accessible showers (roll-in and transfer types), an accessible toilet with grab bars, sink, emergency pull cords and an automatic door.
Terminal 2 at ORD houses Air Canada, Alaska Airlines, Delta, Delta Connection and most United Express flights.
PHX — Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport
Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport began constructing a prototype for an adult changing station after receiving a note from one family more than a decade ago. Retired architect Norbert Senftleben responded, working with the airport’s carpenters to design and build a prototype.
Adult changing table at PHX Airport. | Photo by Kathy Ritchie – KJZZ.
Today, there are 12 adult changing stations throughout the Phoenix Airport. They are of a fixed-height design, shaped like a bed, and have grab bars along the adjacent walls.
PHL — Philadelphia International Airport
Philadelphia Airport’s adult changing room opened in August 2022, part of a larger restroom renovation project that has received grant support from the FAA’s Airport Terminal Program.
PIT — Pittsburgh International Airport
An airport employee’s autistic son inspired Pittsburgh International Airport to create a world-class sensory room inside the airport terminal. The decision was made to include an accessible bathroom with an adult changing table in the space, which is located near Gate A9 and named “Presley’s Place,” after the boy who kickstarted the project.
Adult changing table at PIT Airport. | Photo courtesy Pittsburgh International Airport.
The adult changing table is height-adjustable, as is the bathroom sink. For more information on the sensory room at PIT airport, click here.
Click Here for my link on the Presleys Place / Pittsburgh International Airport
SAT – San Antonio International Airport
SAN ANTONIO — San Antonio International Airport is getting a huge upgrade for people with special needs. An adult changing station has been added to one of its family restrooms.
SAT is one of about 12 airports in the United States to install one of the stations. It’s located in Terminal B near gate 3.
An adult changing table provides safer transfers, comfortable positioning and a secure space for caregivers to help weakened or disabled adults or children who may need assistance with incontinence problems or getting dressed.
The new resource was inspired by the work and advocacy of Gordon Hartman and Morgan’s Inclusion Initiative and fits in with the City of San Antonio’s own commitment to inclusion.
SEA — Seattle-Tacoma International Airport
During a recent renovation of the family restroom in the North Satellite Terminal, an adult changing table was installed. The facility is located near gate N20, and features a height-adjustable table.
Adult changing table at SEA Airport. | Photo courtesy SeaTac International Airport.
The airport plans to install one in its new International Arrivals Facility, slated to open in 2020. The adult changing tables are one part of a larger accessibility initiative, which includes new features and services for people with auditory, vision and hidden disabilities.
SFO – San Fransisco Internation Airport
Companion Care Restrooms for travelers needing companion assistance are located in all terminals, pre-security and post-security.
STL -Saint Louis Lambert International Airport
Accessible restrooms are located throughout the Airport. These facilities are indicated by the International Symbol of Accessibility. Companion Care Family restrooms are also located throughout the Airport.
TPA – Tampa International Airport
All public restrooms at the airport are wheelchair-accessible. In addition, companion restrooms equipped for patrons with disabilities are located at various locations throughout the airport. Look for the internationally-recognized wheelchair-accessible symbol.
IAD – Dulles International Airport
Restrooms are fully accessible with toilet stalls for individuals with disabilities. Most toilet stalls have infrared flush devices. All sinks in each restroom are placed at an accessible height, and infrared devices are used to activate the water at most locations. Baby changing stations have been placed at an accessible height in both men’s and women’s rest rooms at mast locations A unisex companion care restroom is provided adjacent to the public restrooms at many locations.
DCA – Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport
Restrooms are fully accessible with toilet stalls for individuals with disabilities. Most toilet stalls have infrared flush devices. All sinks in each restroom are placed at an accessible height, and infrared devices are used to activate the water at most locations. Baby changing stations have been placed at an accessible height in both men’s and women’s restrooms at most locations.
Unisex companion care restrooms are provided at these locations:
- Terminal 1, pre-security – Next to Men’s and Women’s restrooms in the airline ticketing lobby and adjacent to the Historic lobby
- Terminal 2, pre-security – Next to each set of Men’s and Women’s restrooms on the Concourse level (Level 2) and adjacent to Bag Claim #1 and #12 (Level 1)
- All terminals, post-security – One per concourse Gates A1-A9, B10-B22, C23-C34, D35-D45, and E46-E59
Encourage Your Airport to Install an Adult Changing Table
Airports in the United States are expanding and the number of people taking to the skies increases every year. Fully accessible bathrooms with adult changing tables and hoists are a relatively small investment that will guarantee that every passenger can relieve himself or herself. Access to a toilet is a human right, and adult changing tables should be available in every airport terminal in the world, but especially in the United States.
If you’d like to see an adult changing station in your airport, send the request to the airport’s ADA Coordinator. They are responsible for ensuring that the airport is accessible and welcoming to all, and letters of support from members of the community can go a long way.