It’s been said that ignorance is bliss, and in our opinion, nowhere is this truer than inside commercial airplanes. As much as we like to think that cabins are thoroughly cleaned and disinfected between flights, the truth is, short turnaround times and limited staff mean that most planes are only deep-cleaned about once a month. To avoid coming in contact with any illness-causing bugs, it’s a good idea to sanitize any high-touch surfaces around your seat. Here are the ones that tend to be the dirtiest.
Used as everything from a surface for meals to a makeshift pillow for naps, tray tables come in contact with a variety of items that make them hotbeds for harmful bacteria. In fact, one study showed that tray tables have as much as eight times more bacteria than other high-touch parts of the plane. While some airlines do sanitize them between flights, there’s no harm in giving your table a once-over with some disinfectant wipes upon boarding—just to be safe.
Seat Belt Buckles
Unlike tray tables, seat belt buckles are one area that every passenger will have to touch at least twice, and with limited time between flights, cleaning crews aren’t always able to thoroughly sanitize each individual buckle. Give yours a wipe with some disinfectant, then use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer to kill any germs you may have picked up while buckling.
Arm & Headrests
It’s true that most of us aren’t grabbing our own arm and headrests throughout the flight, but that doesn’t mean they’re as clean as they could be. Many passengers will hold onto these parts for balance during boarding or use them as leverage when putting their bags in overhead bins. Wherever your seat is, it can’t hurt to disinfect them, though aisle seats do tend to receive the most traffic.