It’s the stuff of nightmares. Impostors board a commercial jet and infiltrate the cabin to poison the passengers.
It may sound like something from a Hollywood movie starring Bruce Willis or Wesley Snipes but actually it happens hundreds of times a day on flights travelling from every airport on Earth. Yes, we’re talking bacteria – the micro-terrorists of the skies.
Recent studies have shown that hygiene standards on planes are worryingly poor and that if passengers knew the real facts, they would think twice about taking their seats for take-off.
Starting with the suitcase, scientists have stated that an item of baggage will come into contact with 80 million bacteria from your home terminal to your hotel destination.
Meanwhile, anecdotal evidence from flight attendants has revealed that tray tables are being used for more than microwaved toasties and mini bottles of wine. In fact, it is said to be a common occurrence for parents to place used nappies on them, while other passengers have been seen cutting their finger nails onto the flat surface.
Think your table will have been cleaned using antibacterial wipes? In actual fact, the swift turnaround of modern commercial jets means that tray tables mobile casino are only infrequently cleaned between flights. And the same goes for the blankets and pillows you request to keep you warm and snug. No matter how much the person flying before you has wiped their nose or spilled crumbs on them, they will simply be folded up and put back in the overhead storage until you request them. If you are the first to fly in the morning you may just be lucky enough to have a freshly laundered sheet; but it’s still not a guarantee.
Like an in-flight brew? You may want to think twice before ordering any water-based beverages that utilize the plane’s water tanks. These tanks are extremely hard to clean and are quick to accumulate grime and fungus. Treat the flight as you would when drinking water abroad and stick to the bottled stuff.
While tackling aviation nasties can be tricky, there is something you can do about some of the world’s most feared diseases when you travel abroad. Find out more about our range of travel vaccines and how you can protect yourself.