Passengers die more often than you think and virtually EVERY plane has something wrong with it: Insider reveals the surprising things airlines don't tell you
Ex-staffer Allison Hope said passengers are in the dark on a lot of things
She said people shouldn't eat the in-flight meal unless it's in a sealed bag
Tray tables may be covered in faecal matter and should be wiped clean
Don’t eat the food on board unless it’s sealed, wipe down your tray table and expect to see gross things when you’re crammed on a plane with hundreds of travellers.
That’s the advice of a former airline employee who has dished on some of the surprising things that airlines don’t tell passengers.
Allison Hope, the employee who revealed the secrets, knows the ins and outs of the industry and said there are a lot of things that passengers are kept in the dark about.
Passengers should use an antibacterial wipe to clean their tray table before they eat a meal on it (file photo)
Hope told New York-based website Refinery29 that people shouldn’t eat the in-flight meal on most flights unless it comes in a sealed bag.
However, the rule doesn’t apply to all airlines, she said, as some international carriers are known for their excellent food.
After dinner, travellers should skip the cup of coffee or tea, she warned.
That’s because the water sourced for hot beverages come from tanks that are hard to clean and could be crawling with harmful bacteria.
Before eating, passengers should clean their tray table with antibacterial wipes because it may be covered in faecal matter or other nasty things, Hope said.
She wrote: ‘Passengers often use the trays as their own private diaper changing tables, and sadly, they are cleaned far less than you’d be comforted to know.’
Travellers should skip tea or coffee because water sourced for hot beverages could be crawling with bacteria
With hundreds of strangers in a confined space, passengers should expect to see some disgusting scenes when they’re travelling.
During Hope’s days as an airline employee, passengers were caught having sex on board passengers and one too many vomited after drinking too much wine, which may explain why seats are the most swapped-out equipment on planes.
And don’t be surprised if a passenger dies while the plane is en route to its destination – it happens more often than you think.
Hope wrote: ‘When someone dies in-flight, a plane will often divert to the nearest city, but sometimes, people slip away so quietly that no one notices until they don't get up from their seats upon landing.’
Delays or cancellations can derail a trip at any time, and many are caused by technical problems with planes.
Hope revealed that virtually every plane has something wrong with it.
She said planes have routine scheduled maintenance and certain problems might not be dealt with until then if they don’t pose a risk to passengers and crew.
She added: ‘If it’s a big enough problem that it poses a real threat to safety, they will take the aircraft out of service for repairs.’
REVEALED: THE DIRTIEST SURFACES ON A PLANE
Passengers may be surprised to learn that aeroplane lavatories do not have the dirtiest surfaces
Research has revealed that tray tables are the dirtiest surfaces on a plane – with more germs being found on them than toilets and seatbelt buckles combined.
Those were the findings of a microbiologist, who swabbed various surfaces that are repeatedly touched or handled by travellers to reveal the dirtiest places at the airport and on the plane.
A microbiologist collected samples at five unnamed airports and on four planes (the airlines were not identified) in research conducted by Travelmath, an online trip calculator.
The samples were sent to a lab to estimate the total bacteria population per square inch. The values, in colony-forming units (CFU), are the median of the tests.
The study found tray tables have 2,155 CFU per square inch, far more than the lavatory flush button (265 CFU), overhead air vent (285 CFU) and seatbelt buckle (230 CFU).
At the airport, drinking fountain buttons were found to be the dirtiest surfaces, with 1,240 CFU. Bathroom stall locks had 70 CFU.
If there is a positive finding from the study it’s that all 26 samples from airports and planes tested negative for the presence of faecal coliforms such as E. coli.
Travelmath said airports and planes are dirtier than a person’s home.
According to the experts, these are the best ways to stay healthy on a plane:
Drink lots of water: Wellness manager and nutritionist at Grace Belgravia, Katie Greenall, says, 'It is tough to get the balance right, you want to remain hydrated but don't want to drink so much that you are constantly queuing for the loo. A good indication of adequate hydration is having smooth, hydrated lips. I would advise between one and two cups of water per hour.' Always ask the air stewardess for more if you need it or buy bottles in the airport, after security, to take onto the flight. Avoid fizzy water which is thought to interfere with digestion and could make you more uncomfortable.
Always make sure that you sanitise your hands before and after visiting the loo, especially if hot running water and soap is unavailable. Public toilets on planes, in airports, on cruise ships and in hotels are shared by many people, and it’s always best to err on the side of caution. A study by Aquaint in 2014 found that faecal matter is present on a staggering 26 per cent of hands in the UK.
Wipe down your tray table: As mentioned above, studies have found that tray tables are covered in bacteria and they may not be cleaned as regularly as you think.
Do not walk around barefoot on planes, as carpets do not get cleaned regularly and can be teaming with bacteria.
Use a nose spray: There's nothing worse than a dry nose on a long haul flight. At between 30,000 and 35,000ft humidity is well below the 15 per cent required to keep nasal passages moist. A dry nose and throat disrupts the body's natural drainage system which moves viruses and bacteria down to the stomach to be flushed away. Using nasal sprays from brands such as Otrivine and Sterimar can help keep things flowing and important mucus membranes moist.
Bring your own blankets: That blanket you are snuggling up to has probably been rubbed up against, wiped and sat on by a number of passengers already. Flight attendant Sara Keagle says that in her airline's economy class, freshly washed blankets and pillows are only supplied to the first flights of the day. After that, they are folded up and then reused. It's a practice that's common across many airlines. Don't chance it, bring your own.
Wipe down your luggage: A suitcase will be handled by many people when travelling abroad, not to mention carted over many different floors and pavements. Before you place your case on your hotel bed to unpack, give the handles, wheels and base a wipe down with some sanitiser sprayed on a tissue or cloth.
Spritz yourself: For long delays in airports, it’s great to keep yourself feeling fresh. Sanitised water can be sprayed directly on to skin to freshen it up, and it’s kind to even the most sensitive and delicate skin.