This will sound very hipster, but I was cleaning my seat and wearing a mask before COVID-19. To be fair, I have asthma, so I took these measures before COVID-19, or B.C. as I think of it.
Here’s the thing about all mass transit, it’s messy, dirty, and icky when you think about it, and I think about it a lot. Cruise ships, Airplanes, Trains, Buses, Metros all have one thing in common, and time is money. If they aren’t moving, they are losing money. This means the turnaround time for cleaning is quick and therefore not thorough: picking up easy-to-see trash, replacing soap and toilet paper in bathrooms, and quick vacuum.
What COVID-19 has shown people is how long germs can stay on surfaces and how often we touch our faces. You have hundreds of people in a small area coughing and sneezing for 8 hours, and then you have another hundred board for the next trip. It’s an endless stream of people adding germs to that plane. If you usually get a cold or a bug after flying, this might be why.
Now that I’ve scared the crap out of you, we can talk about what actions you can take to lower the odds of catching something. For this to work, you need a mask, liquid alcohol-based hand soap, and disinfecting wipes. In an ideal world, you could spray the whole area with rubbing alcohol in a spray bottle, but I don’t think the airlines and security would like people to carry that onto the plane or spray it everywhere. Or we call get hazmat suits, or maybe that’s just me?
Before you board, the plane put your mask on and get the wipes and soap in your hand, not caring your ticket and ID. Find your seat, put your bags away, then wipe down your seat, armrest, seatbelt, screen, and tray table (remember to lower it and get both sides). Then place the wipes in the seat pocket with the barf bag and in-flight magazine (don’t read the magazine). The last step is to use liquid soap to clean your hands.
Only remove the mask when eating or drinking, and use the liquid soap after using the bathroom on the plane during the flight. Even if you wash your hands after using the bathroom, you still have to touch the door handle to open it, along with water taps. I also wear long pants (trousers for those in the U.K) and a long shirt, so my skin doesn’t touch the seats. You can buy some thin cotton washable gloves for extra credit, it will not stop germs, but for some, it helps with not touching your face. For me, it makes my hands feel different with the weight or texture, and that’s enough to make me aware of my hands. Last, I like to keep a small spray bottle filled with rubbing alcohol, which I use to clean my electronics (spray all over and wait 30 seconds) when I get off the plane. I also spray my feet after using the hotel shower; no more foot/nail fungus.
And that is how I fly, I’m sure it looked weird and crazy to my fellow passengers, but now I’m a trendsetter. Be safe, be careful, and try to sleep through the flight.