For the regular aeroplane user, the whole boarding, settling into the seat and getting ready for a long (or short) flight process can seem like the norm.
We all become complacent and don’t really think much about the hygiene of the cabin we’re sitting in.
However, aeroplanes are notoriously bad for their hygiene standards and it may well be worth your time to take some hand sanitizer on board – can you guess which are the three dirtiest areas / items on our planes?
That’s right – aeroplane toilets shouldn’t really come as a surprise being included on our germ hit list! However, the dirtiest part isn’t what you think – which area of the toilet would you say has the most germs? The seat? Toilet bowl? Possibly the floor? (Think of all the turbulence!) – Nope, the answer is in fact the toilet flush button.
Most people do not wash their hands before pushing the flush button, and this is where most of the germs come from. So if you’re one of those people who decide not to wash your hands before flushing, you might want to think again! Give your hands a good wash after doing everything essential in the toilet, and then use a piece of paper towel to open the door lever.
Night flight or simply just long haul? You’ll find a nice little pillow ready and waiting for you on your seat once you board the plane – what a lovely touch! If you’re travelling overnight, you’ll also more than likely find a blanket. But in reality, how often do these items get washed? Surely it’s after every flight, right?
The answer is (unfortunately) not. Normally, pillows are inspected and the covers replaced if needed. Blankets are often just refolded, with a new sleeve placed over them for the next user. According to an anonymous post from a Southwest flight attendant, you are only likely to get completely clean pillows and blankets first thing in the morning from a provisioning city.
A Wall Street Journal study completed in 2007 found that on average, pillows and blankets can go between 5 and 30 days between cleans.
We all reach for the reading material once on a plane – whether it’s the on-board shopping magazines, the food and drinks menu or the safety procedures, it’s safe to say these are all well-handled items! Bearing in mind the magazines are often only replaced when new issues come out (usually every quarter), just think how many hands have touched those issues before you (and where those hands might have been!)
It’s not only the hands you have to think about – crumbs, old tissues and other nasties can (and have) been found in seat back pockets.
Perhaps stick to that book you purchased at the airport!