Aircraft Cleanliness

In Corporate Etiquette, featured, Travel Etiquette by system review

Aircraft cleanliness can range from the good to the bad, to the downright disgusting says Jay Robert who was a flight attendant for more than 20 years.

Aircraft cleanliness is highly unpredictable. Even airlines renowned for their cleanliness standards fly to airports where they lack complete control over the contracted cleaning company. 

Due to these unpredictable standards, I find it hard to trust airline cleanliness practices completely, and as a passenger, I prefer taking matters into my own hands says Jay.

Here is some of the best advice about aircraft cleanliness.

Try and pick an early flight out – the first to leave are the cleanest:
In addition to having a higher likelihood of being on time, early flights on short-haul routes also tend to be the cleanest.

Most airlines that operate domestic and short-haul flights adhere to tight schedules, limiting the time aircraft spend on the ground.

Throughout the day, there’s only time to perform light spot cleaning, with some airlines relying on cabin crew to maintain cabin presentability until the plane reaches its final destination for the night stop, during which the aircraft is more thoroughly cleaned in preparation for the flight out the following morning.

Use blankets to cover seats – not yourself
This tip is especially handy for long flights, particularly in economy class.

Airlines often provide pillows and blankets for international journeys. Although these essentials are cleaned before each flight, use the provided blanket as a seat cover, since seats don’t get cleaned between flights.

Lazy cleaners often change only the top layer and not the entire cushion, meaning the pillow may still carry stains from body fluids like drool, sweat, and blood.

Avoid the provided pillows in economy for anything other than back support.

The carpet can be nasty
Before placing your bags on the floor, carefully inspect your floor area, especially under seats, as cleaners often overlook these areas.

For an additional layer of protection, utilise the plastic wrapping from the provided blanket to cover the bottom of your bag. 

Keep your shoes on
Following the previous point about the aircraft cleanliness of the carpets, this advice may seem obvious, but it’s one of the biggest annoyances for flight attendants: passengers walking around barefoot.

If you step into a restroom without shoes, rest assured the cabin crew is watching with a sense of repulsion, fully aware of what they have likely just cleaned off that floor before you entered. 

Foot odour poses a real threat to air quality on flights says Jay. He has encountered situations where the scent emanating from someone’s bare feet was so overpowering that he had to discreetly spray perfume in that area.

Clean your seat area
A pro tip many flight attendants swear by is disinfecting your seat area.

Many flight attendants carry disinfectant wipes in their bags, ensuring they thoroughly clean every touchable surface around their seat, including the seat itself if it’s made of a wipeable material.

Key areas not to miss are tray tables, entertainment screens, and controls.  Also pay attention to wiping the seatbelt buckle and the AC control. One area to steer clear of is the seatback pocket, as it often harbours various unpleasant surprises. Don’t place your phone or personal items inside it for this reason. If you need to use anything from the pocket, follow up with a round of hand sanitiser.