This is going to sound very hipster but I was cleaning my seat and wearing a mask before COVID-19. To be fair I have asthma which is why 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, time is money if they aren’t moving they are losing money. This means the turn around 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, 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 plan put your mask on, and get the wipes and soap in your hand not caring your ticket and ID. Find your seat and put your bags away, then wipe down your seat, the armrest, seatbelt, the screen, and the 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.
During the flight, only remove the mask when eating or drinking, and use the liquid soap after using the bathroom on the plane. 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 long shirt so my skin doesn’t touch the seats. For extra credit you can buy some thin cotton washable gloves, 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 like weird and crazy to my fellow passengers but now I’m a trendsetter. Be safe, be careful, and try to sleep through the flight.