This article can turn gross very fast but bear with me, I am mostly trying to help you and myself therefore are checking out the dirtiest places on planes.
in 2018 so far I have flown almost once every 3 weeks and in some cases like my most recent trip to the US, once every 3 days.
I knew planes are dirty and that I should always protect myself, most of the time when I feel super organised I bring my own kit with all the necessities for the flight. Just like they give in business class.
I was watching yesterday the CBC Marketplace which is a Canadian consumer show ( random) but they do nice investigations and this time it happened on how dirty the plane is.
You can watch the full video here.
I knew planes are not cleaned properly especially on the fast turnaround planes like low-cost airlines and I knew some of these surfaces were dirty, what surprised me, however, is the number one winner of all.
But it is good news for hijabis. 😉
Basically what they did is test three different airlines and various areas of the aircraft to find the dirtiest ones.
The show tested the pathogens on the plane and found that there can be serious risks so it is always worth knowing and take precautions.
The dirtiest places on a plane are:
5. Seatbelts – hard to clean around the fiddly
4. Tray tables – many mothers use them as a diaper changing tables :/
3. Toilet door handle – yep, it’s not news that many people don’t wash their hands properly
2. The seat pocket – This truly surprised me but it does make sense, as the employees mention it is for storing diapers. -yikes
1. The Headrest – I guess I am very happy to be a hijabi but it seemed this is the dirtiest and most overlooked.
I am really surprised by the winner but I guess it is true because they found all sorts of bacteria there and many can cause serious issues to the scalp. I guess even for those not wearing hijabs it might be worth wearing something on your head of always cleaning the headrest before you use it.
They also tested the blankest on the planes and they found that they were dirty as well even though they came from a sealed plastic. This goes to show you might be better of bringing your own to the plane.
The same goes for the pillows available on the plane. These tiny pillows get thrown around the plane a lot. From the seat to the floor, to your face and some more. I personally never use them for my face unless I put my scarf on top of them.
What can you do to protect yourself?
Well, the show mentions that it is good to use antibacterial wipes and I totally agree but I do go a step further.
As I mentioned above I try to always bring especially on long-haul flights my own survival kit. We usually have a hand luggage allowance to bring things on board we might need rather than pack extra clothing so I try to do just that.
1. Always bring antibacterial wipes. I would wipe the table tray, the tv screen which these days is a touchscreen, the remote if there is one and also any other surface I touch including the window area – if I am on a window seat.
I have to admit I don’t wipe the headrest but I will start doing this as well.
2. Antibacterial Gel. I usually always have one in my bag so it’s handy to use throughout the flight, for example now that we know the toilet handle is dirty I will use it straight after I touch this with toilet paper.
3. Bring a travel pillow. There are so many different travel pillows out there and since I bought mine I don’t go anywhere without it.
Yes, it’s bulky because I picked the thick one but I love it -find it here. It’s easier to sleep with it in so many positions without having your head bang against the seat, tv or fellow travellers.
4. Bring a blanket. I don’t bring a blanket but rather a very heavy and warm scarf I have for the winter. These are so handy I actually bought two so I can wash one and keep another. I love them and for the plane they are perfect.
5. Slippers or wear your shoes. You will be surprised how many people go to the bathroom without shoes. -Seriously this is disgusting and also all these germs go into your shoe and home with you. I try to bring slippers, which I just take from my next hotel stay and I leave on board.
6. Noise cancelling headphones. I didn’t bring these until very recently and I can’t believe I survived all that plane noise without them.
7. Eye mask. Yep, I use to laugh at people who would have those on but I tried it a few times and it was great for sleeping.
8. Hydrating products. I always bring with me a lip balm, face cream and hand cream. The plane air is so dry that you definitely need protection and also from radiation especially if you are on a window seat. So I apply these through the flight.
Every time I go somewhere I will also pick clothes for my trip that are easy to wash and dry and I can wash them even in the bathroom sink in the hotel, this way at least I don’t carry harmful pathogens around with me.
Will these save you 100% from the harmful bacterial, probably not but they will protect you much better than actually doing nothing.
Will it stop me from travelling? Definitely not, but I will rather be somewhat prepared than getting sick on a plane or while at my destination. Also, try and get some vitamins beforehand to help you fight colds or flu.
Plus don’t forget to drink plenty of water and hydrate yourself.
If you have any more tips regarding flying please do share them with us below.