Flying is no longer a luxury experience (unless you're flying business class). It is a necessity that saves time for some extra cost.
And when things that once were a luxury becomes a necessity or need of the masses with time, they start lacking in a few areas while being acceptable in others. The same goes for aeroplanes.
For example, they are absolutely remarkable when it comes to long-distance travel. They save time, have reasonably alright fares, and can sometimes offer surreal views of everyday life. Like this photo:
On the other hand, the frequency with which a plane flies means the ground crew has virtually no time to ensure a thorough sanitisation of the most used areas and things inside the plane.
For example, the safety leaflet is so dirty that it shouldn't even be allowed near you.
How come, you ask?
A cabin crew, who works for a major Malaysian airline and spoke to this SAYS writer on the condition of anonymity, said that sometimes the cleaners use the safety leaflet to quickly sweep up the dirt on the floor rather than vacuuming "just to save time".
The thing is, airlines usually just give 15-20 minutes to clean the whole plane between flights. And it's not anybody's fault.
Airlines, by far, cater to the most impatient of the customer base. So they cut cost, save time. And in all this, ensuring that a particular spot in the plane has been thoroughly cleaned often takes a backseat.
Speaking of the backseat, though, you should keep your hands away from those pockets.
"They clean them out between flights, but they don't sanitise them," said Kat Kamalani, a flight attendant who has been sharing insider tips and secrets with her almost 300,000 TikTok followers.
You would basically be sticking your hand into a trash can.
"Think of all the dirty tissues, barf bags, and garbage that has been in there," Kat says in her TikTok video about the nastiest parts on a plane. Her video has over a million views as of this writing.
We reached out to the TikTok famous flight attendant for her consent to use her video in this story.
Apart from the safety leaflet and backseat pockets, these are the nastiest parts on a plane that we touch without thinking twice
The tray tables.
"I have seen so many parents use this as a changing table for their child's diaper and then they put it in the back seat pocket," Kat warns in her video that is making travellers question the sanitisation procedures onboard the planes, given the fact that we are now living in a pandemic.
So if you're planning to use the tray table, remember to sanitise it beforehand.
The air vents above your seat? Yeah, not hygienic to touch either.
"They've seen thousands of hands. Wipe them down before you touch them," she advises.
Similarly, it's the same for the seatbelt buckle.
"Yeah...just wipe it," Kat warns.
She also warns against touching the lavatory lock, which shouldn't come as a shock.
"When entering the lavatory, use a tissue to lock the door," Kat says.
The Malaysian cabin crew we spoke to said that it's "pretty much the same" about the gross things pointed out by Kat in her TikTok video
According to her, there are tons of bacteria are everywhere as millions fly daily.
"They don't really wipe or sanitise the tray tables. Unless it is really dirty," she told this SAYS writer.
She, however, assured that things are different right now due to the pandemic.
The cleaning crew, the Malaysian cabin crew said, "have started sanitising everything in the aircraft including the tray tables for hygiene and health purposes".
"The current standard operating procedure is to sanitise the whole aircraft, including tray tables, compartments, and lavatories after every stop," she added, noting that she could only speak for her airline.
In any case, though, you can never be too cautious.
Seeing how it can be impossible to avoid touching the things like the safety leaflets, the backseat pockets, the tray tables, the air vents, the seatbelt buckle, and the toilet lock, do remember to sanitise them.
Consider this a public service announcement (PSA) from us.