Do you really want to touch that?

This may be a blog you really don’t want to read, especially if you are a frequent flier, be it for business or pleasure, because you’ve become immune to these things.

On a recent trip, our flight came in at the time we were supposed to be boarding. Yes, it was inconvenient thinking we were now going to be late because the flight had to be cleaned before we boarded, but the truly distubring thing was it took them 10 minutes to clean the plane. I can’t even clean my kitchen sink in 10 minutes .. think about that. If you can’t clean and sanitize something as small as a sink in 10 minutes … how can a “team” usually comprising of 6-8 individuals clean an ENTIRE PLANE. And DON’T THINK the flight attendants are helping in … it’s “not in my job description”. (I kid you not!)

If they aren’t really happy about helping you put luggage in the over-head bin, do you think they are going to clean the plane??

Have you ever boarded a plane and seen a flight attendant in the galley WEARING GLOVES and wiping everything down … YOU should be doing the same thing as soon as you find your seat.

… what’s up with that? Yes, above you

One of the drawbacks of being tall is being able to see in those overhead bins that have been holding everyone’s luggage over countless flights and wondering just how long its been since they’ve been cleaned out. YOU MAY NOT WANT TO KNOW. Think of all that luggage from previous flights and where those bags have been. There “may not” be germs on the exterior of those bags, but I’ve seen all kinds of things in the backs of those bins. DON’T BE AFRAID TO ASK for a cloth to wipe it out if it’s not clean. If it’s up there, chances are (since things do shift in flight) it could end up on your luggage.

We generally fly first-class … which you would “think” would come with extra perks (and some unwanted ones). Those little bottles of water … when you think about it, how many flights have they been on? How many times have they been put in a seat-back pouch, only to be picked up by the flight attendants and put back in their drawer? Which means … how many people have touched them? Most people grab them by the cap and neck. Think about that — where are you’re lips going once you open the bottle … the neck.

On a recent flight from New-York to San Juan, typical of a first class set-up, there was a bottle of water for each of us sitting on the divider. While it LOOKED like a fresh bottle, the cap had indeed been opened and tightly resealed. I’ve reconsidered the options of buying a bottle of water before getting on board.

… wrapped does NOT mean clean

Don’t be fooled into thinking … “all that’s sealed is clean and sanitized”. MANY things on a plane are reusable. Pillows and blankets that people open and use are often collected and washed before being recycled for their next flight.

Purchasing you own “neck-pillow” ($10-25 in many terminal shops) may be a hassle to carry with you, but considering what could be on those pillows and blankets if they were NOT sanitized properly …. why are you scratching your head???

While not really a necessity, we bring our own head-sets when flying. Not just because we like taking up more space in our carry-on, but the convenience of “noise-cancelling” and knowing where they were last used is of great piece of mind.

… to go, or not to go

You know how parents always try to keep kids occupied while traveling? The license plate game?? The car-make Bingo game ??? On our last flight I decided to play the “Lavatory Lottery”. Our flight had over 220 people onboard (most 737 planes hold anywhere from 85-215 passengers) including flight crew.

2 bathrooms …. a 4hr flight.

Before even leaving the gate 17 people had already used the front lavatory (come on people, go before you board!). Over the course of the 4hr flight, 112 people went in and out of that little space, smaller than my walk-in shower at home.

In a space THAT SMALL, doing the things we do (and men … not to be blunt, but … you REALLY SHOULD SIT TO PEE) – this is GERM HEAVEN! With so many things that have to be touched (simply because the cramped quarters make it impossibe NOT to touch anything), there is NOTHING within the confines to help each individual sanitize after their use. After washing your hands, more people than not THEN push the button to flush the toilet (yes, you can actually hear the routine when sitting in first class — a tap running does not WOOSH like a flush). They then use the same hand to unlock the door. That’s MOST PEOPLE. Some people just do their business, zip up/redress, flush and leave without washing their hands … and all those germs are now entering the main cabin.

… the first thing to pack in your carry-on

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