Major airlines in the United States say they thoroughly clean their planes between flights, and aircraft hygiene is a priority. However, some passengers like prefer to make sure they take some steps on their own to clean up their space on the plane.
In recent weeks, more attention has been paid to this topic due to the spread of the coronavirus in several countries.
“The plane and the seats are a public space and we know that germs can survive on surfaces for a long time, so it does not hurt to clean them,” said Aaron Milstone to The New York Times, hospital epidemiologist attached to the Johns Hopkins Hospital.
Here are some tips to clean your seat on the plane:
Keep your hands clean and stop touching your face
“Cleaning surfaces in an airplane is not out of the question,“ said Andrew Mehle, associate professor of Medical Microbiology and Immunology at the University of Wisconsin – Madison, and stressed that in addition to cleaning your space on the plane, you should wash your hands and follow other good practices.
Viral particles, the vehicle of transmission for the coronavirus, travel as part of the mucous or saliva, and can enter through the eyes, nose, or mouth.
Although COVID-19 can survive on surfaces like folding tables, touch screens, handles, and faucets, applying a disinfectant to a surface, or soap while washing your hands, will kill the virus.
However, most people tend to touch their faces more often than they realize. Doing so after touching a surface where there are drops from someone who sneezed or coughed can spread the virus.
Wash your hands
It seems pretty obvious by now, but wash your hands with soap and water for twenty seconds or long enough to sing Happy Birthday twice, and if that’s not possible then use a generous amount of hand sanitizer.
Choose a window seat
An Emory University study found that the safest place to sit on a plane during the flu season is the window seat.
Researchers studied passengers and crew members on ten flights lasting three to five hours, and found that people sitting by the window had less contact with possibly ill people.
When you get to your seat and your hands are clean, use sanitizing wipes to clean your seat surfaces like headboard and armrest, seat belt buckle, remote control, display, rear seat bag and table folding.
If the seat is hard and non-porous or made of leather or synthetic leather, you can clean it too. Using damp towels on cloth-upholstered seats can moisten the seat and cause germs to spread rather than kill them.
What can passengers do to protect themselves and others?
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends:
- Avoid contact with sick people.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth with unwashed hands.
- Wash your hands frequently by washing them with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% -95% alcohol. Soap and water should be used if hands are visibly dirty.
- It is especially important to wash your hands after using the bathroom; before eating; and after coughing, sneezing, or blowing your nose.
- Supplies of hand sanitizer, handkerchiefs, and other hygiene products may be limited, so consider taking them with you.
- Avoid traveling if you are sick.