Flying is such a normal thing to do these days and it seems that the more we fly, the fewer instances there are of people being afraid of the actual flying itself. Instead, today’s big worry for many people is the hygiene of the plane in which they’re travelling. There are scary stories on the internet – are they true?
Often it seems, one of our first concerns is regarding the air quality aboard aircraft especially on longer flights. After all, we will be spending hours with so many other people. We’ll all be breathing the same air. We can’t be sure that these people are all healthy – might we catch something?
In fact, it’s very unlikely that we will catch any airborne illnesses. Aircraft are fitted with HEPA filters and the air that you’re breathing is perfectly clean and germ-free.
The cleanliness of the parts of the plane we actually touch – the seats, armrests, headrests and so on – are much more of an issue. There is no international standard supplying guidelines (or regulations) about how often – or how well – these items are thoroughly cleaned.
These are of such concern to people that disposable seat covers are available. I wondered when I first saw these whether it was overkill but take a moment to think about what might have happened on those seats…
The problem is that for various reasons – most of them financial – it’s important for airlines to get aircraft refuelled, spruced up and back into the air with another group of passengers as soon as possible. This means that deep cleaning might only happen every four or even eight weeks.
After every flight, carpets are vacuumed, trash disposed of, trays cleaned, obvious soiling dealt with, the loo wiped and the plane is generally made respectable for the next passengers. But deep cleaning has to wait.
Even so, experts advise travellers to do what they can to avoid touching as much as possible. Most also advise against using the blanket and pillow provided (although not all airlines do so these days). Although some people today have, it seems, an unnatural fear of germs, it does appear to be wise to take simple precautions when travelling.
Today you can 99.99% trust the airlines to provide safe and comfortable transport. As yet, we cannot 100% rely on them to ensure that it’s germ-free.
JJ is originally from the UK and has lived in South Florida since 1994. She is the founder and editor of JAQUO Magazine. You can connect with her using the social media icons below.