Flight attendant issues warning of ‘germ hotspot’ on planes

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Jane Hawkes is a consumer travel expert and a former flight attendant. She told Express.co.uk which areas of planes aren’t always cleaned.

She said: “Regardless of cabin class, there are some parts of a plane which are dirtier than others but not the toilets as you would expect.

“They might look clean enough but seatback trays are big germ hotspots. It’s always wise to have antibacterial wipes on hand to wipe them down before use.

“Seatback trays are not routinely cleaned between boarding especially on short turnarounds.”

It’s a good idea to carry antibacterial wipes in hand luggage as passengers may need them on the plane.

Jane added: “Deep cleaning takes place overnight or during scheduled maintenance.

“Choose an early morning flight for the best chance to avoid the grot. You also don’t know what the trays have been used for.

“Instead of somewhere to place drinks and snacks, the previous passenger could have changed nappies there or slept on it.”

As hard as it might be to believe, some passengers do use the tray table to change babies’ nappies.

Jane said: “Also wipe down seat buckles and aisle headrests as you never know what kind of sticky fingers could have touched them before you get on board.”

Many passengers touch aisle headrests as they make their way through the plane which can transfer germs.

Seat belts are also a hotspot for germs as many passengers will touch them each day on a short-haul schedule.

She added: “Be wary of seatback pockets which could be littered with used tissues, half eaten food and sick bags if not checked properly before passengers board.

“The interiors are tricky to clean so could well be a hive of bacteria and mould.”

Passengers will often shove rubbish into the seatback pocket of a plane and it might not be cleared away before the next flight.

Tourists can help to keep planes clean by putting their rubbish in the bin when flight attendants ask for it.

Cabin crew will normally come round with a rubbish bag before the end of a flight and after serving food.

Jane warned: “Only accept blankets and earphones which are sealed in a plastic bag otherwise they could have been used by others.”

The majority of airlines will hand out blankets in a clean plastic bag to demonstrate they haven’t been used.

Pillows, blankets or earphones without a plastic bag could have been used by another passenger.

On some airlines passengers will be able to use their own earphones and connect to the plane’s screens.

Jane Hawkes shares travel tips on her blog ladyjaney.co.uk. 

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