Enhancing Passenger Experience: The Importance of Period Products in Airports

June 6, 2024
Aunt Flow
Airports like Chicago O'Hare International Airport have upgraded their period product dispensers while providing free product to passengers.
Airports like Chicago O'Hare International Airport have upgraded their period product dispensers while providing free product to passengers.

In recent years, airports have increasingly recognized the need to provide essential amenities for all passengers. Among these amenities, offering free period products has become a significant focus. Airports such as Chicago O'Hare International and the Houston Airport System are leading the way by implementing Aunt Flow's innovative dispensers in their restrooms.

The Journey of Aunt Flow

The story of Aunt Flow begins with Claire Coder, an inspiring entrepreneur who identified a glaring gap in restroom supplies during an unexpected period at an off-campus event. This realization led her to question, "If toilet paper is freely available, why aren't period products?" Determined to make a change, Coder dropped out of college to develop a solution, funding her research by waitressing and learning about dispenser design by following janitors.

By 2021, Coder launched Aunt Flow's patented dispensers and period products, designed with custodial teams in mind. Initially, Aunt Flow focused on schools, significantly improving menstrual equity and increasing attendance among girls by offering free period products in school bathrooms.

In 2023, Aunt Flow expanded into airports. This move was driven by the airports themselves, recognizing the importance of offering free period products for guest experience and to improve passenger flow. Chicago O'Hare International Airport (ORD) was one of the first major airports to implement Aunt Flow dispensers, setting a precedent for others to follow.

Offering free period products in airports addresses a significant need. Travelers often face unexpected periods and limited access to period products, resulting in delays and inconvenience. Aunt Flow's dispensers, designed to be user-friendly and ADA compliant, fit perfectly into airport restrooms.

Addressing Misconceptions and Challenges

One common misconception is that free period products will lead to hoarding. However, Aunt Flow's dispensers reduce overuse through a small mechanical delay between dispenses and a sound that deters overuse. Implementation challenges are minimal thanks to the dispensers' easy installation. The real challenge lies in prioritization.

"Facilities managers are often focused on HVAC systems or clogged toilets, but offering free period products is a low-cost, high-impact way to show passengers you care," said Coder.

Benefits of Offering Free Period Products in Airports

Airports that offer free period products can expect numerous benefits:

  • Enhanced Passenger Experience: By providing essential period products, airports show that they care about the well-being and comfort of their passengers. This can lead to increased passenger satisfaction and loyalty.
  • Improved Operational Efficiency: When travelers can quickly access period products without leaving security lines or searching for a store, it reduces delays and streamlines passenger flow.
  • Positive Brand Image: Airports that offer free period products demonstrate a commitment to inclusivity and gender equality. This progressive stance can enhance the airport’s reputation and attract positive media attention.
  • Increased Compliance and Accessibility: Aunt Flow’s dispensers are ADA compliant, ensuring that airports meet accessibility standards and provide equal access to all passengers.
  • Cost-Effective Solution: While the upfront cost is relatively low (approximately $2500 per bathroom per year), the impact on passenger satisfaction and operational efficiency is significant, making it a worthwhile investment.

Despite initial hurdles, Aunt Flow is gaining traction in the airport industry. Awareness is key. "Architects and facilities managers often don't realize there's an alternative to outdated, non-ADA compliant dispensers," said Coder. Aunt Flow aims to become the standard in new builds and renovations, ensuring that period products are not overlooked.

Coder's mission extends beyond just providing period products; it's about changing the perception and prioritization of menstrual care in public restrooms. By designing dispensers with janitors in mind and ensuring ease of maintenance, Aunt Flow addresses practical concerns while advocating for menstrual equity. As more airports adopt Aunt Flow dispensers, the vision of accessible period products for all becomes increasingly attainable.

Coder's innovative approach and dedication to menstrual equity are transforming how public spaces, especially airports, cater to menstrual needs. Aunt Flow's presence in restrooms across the country is a testament to the impact that one determined individual can have on societal change.


About the Author

Joe Petrie | Editor & Chief

Joe Petrie is the Editorial Director for the Endeavor Aviation Group.

Joe has spent the past 15 years writing about the most cutting-edge topics related to transportation and policy in a variety of sectors with an emphasis on transportation issues for the past 10 years.

Contact: Joe Petrie

Editor & Chief | Airport Business

[email protected]


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