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Flight done right

Flight done right
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Flying in a plane requires a lot of remembering: did I pack everything on my checklist? Am I wearing the right clothes?  Did I bring along my passport? The mental checklists are endless, but it’s more important than ever to be prepared. As Terry Suero, senior board member of Safe Travel Pathways, says, “Until the airlines are back to normal with routes and staffing, it is important to plan for the unexpected. Flights will be delayed; airplanes will be in the tarmac for extended periods of time; staffing is limited; people are stressed; flights will be cancelled; etc.” Not to mention getting through security. One key to a stress-free trip? Make sure you never do these things on an airplane.

Don’t eat food after it’s fallen on the tray table

 Don’t eat food after it’s fallen on the tray table
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Airline crews do their best to sanitise the plane, but there are still things on a plane that don’t get cleaned as well as they should. “The tray table is notorious,” says professor of epidemiology, Stephen Morse. “Those tray tables are used for all kinds of things,” adds Ferguson. “During flights, I’ve seen parents changing babies on top of tray tables. I’ve seen people put their bare feet on top of tray tables.” One study found that trays harbour an average of 2155 colony-forming units of bacteria per square inch. Compare that with the 265 units on the lavatory flush button. And while all samples tested negative for potentially infectious bacteria such as E. coli, you’ll still want to steer clear of that tray. An extra safety tip in the time of COVID-19: wipe down your tray table and any other surfaces with disinfectant wipes before using.

Don’t miss these things smart travellers always do before a flight.

Please! Don’t walk around barefoot

Please! Don’t walk around barefoot
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Going shoeless on plane might annoy your neighbour, but there’s a more important reason you shouldn’t do it. Flight attendants have seen everything from vomit to blood to spilled food hit that carpet.

“We see people walking from their seats into the bathrooms all the time barefoot and we cringe because those floors are full of germs,” said Linda Ferguson, a flight attendant for 24 years.

“Never walk barefoot into the bathroom or the galley area because sometimes we drop glasses and there could be sharp glass there, too.”

Don’t touch your face after you’ve touched your seat

Don’t touch your face after you’ve touched your seat
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Though a full meal is a flight experience you likely won’t be having during the pandemic, you’ll probably break open a snack during a long flight. Just don’t do it after you’ve touched your seat. “I see plenty of people carry alcohol wipes with them that will wipe the area around their seat,” says Ferguson. “If there was a backlight and they could light up a plane with all the germs, I think it would petrify everybody. My rule of thumb is I never put my hands in my mouth or near my face.” If you do need to touch your face, just be sure to use some hand sanitiser first.

Don’t miss these things you’re probably doing on a plane that flight attendants wouldn’t.

Don’t sit in your seat the entire flight

 Don’t sit in your seat the entire flight
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On an airplane, you are at a higher risk of developing deep vein thrombosis (DVT), which is a type of blood clot that usually forms in your legs.

DVT has been coined as ‘economy-class syndrome’, and walking around for a few minutes or standing up to stretch are good bets to help prevent it. (Just remember to put your shoes on!)

Also, try to avoid tight clothing that could cut off circulation while in flight.

“The most important thing is to try to move around and move your legs at least once every hour,” said Catherine Sonquist Forest, MD, a primary care doctor at Stanford University Health Care.

“If you can’t get up, you can do exercises in your seat by lifting alternate knees up to your chest and twisting in your chair from side to side.”

Don’t line up for the bathroom

Don’t line up for the bathroom
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Long lines at the bathroom may be a habit that changes after coronavirus. “If passengers brazenly queue up for the bathroom mid-flight, those who are seated near to the toilets will have no choice but to be in close proximity with several people. So, don’t disregard other passengers’ safety just because this system wasn’t a health issue previously,” says Satwinder Singh of Citrus Holidays. So instead of joining a long line, just keep your eyes peeled for a better opportunity to use the lavatory.

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Don’t use the blankets

Don’t use the blankets
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There’s a reason airplane blankets are on the list of things you can’t take from a plane. In many cases, those blankets and pillows offered are recycled from flight to flight and don’t get properly washed until the day is over. Items like pillows and blankets are ideal places for germs and lice to camp out and spread from person to person. “I see people wrap their feet in the blankets, I see people sneeze in the blankets,” Ferguson says. Bring your own travel blankets or warmer clothes, like sweatshirts or jackets, to stay warm while flying.

Check out these aeroplane hacks that will change the way you fly.

Skip coffee, tea, and ice

Skip coffee, tea, and ice
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An EPA study in 2004 found that out of 327 aircraft’s water supplies, only 15 per cent passed health standards. Since the 2009 creation of the EPA’s Aircraft Drinking Rule Act, standards have risen and most airplanes don’t serve drinking water from the tap, but their ice cubes are often still made from the same water. “Water tanks on an airplane are old and they’ve tested them and bacteria is in those tanks,” explains Ferguson. “I would definitely drink bottled water – that’s why they hoard tons of bottles on an airplane.” Your flight attendant won’t tell you this, but that’s also why you should avoid ordering coffee or tea during your flight – it’s been made with plane water.

Read on for the things flight attendants aren’t allowed to do.

Don’t forget the hand sanitiser

Don’t forget the hand sanitiser
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There is perhaps no better use for hand sanitiser than on an airplane. “Because aircraft are small enclosed spaces, they have many ‘high touch’ areas,” aviation industry expert Steve Deane says. “For example, it’s very common for passengers walking up the aisle to touch the top of every seat along the way to steady themselves.” By sanitising your hands before and after touching items while on your flight, you can help prevent the spread of germs to both yourself and others. Don’t forget to bring along some disinfectant wipes as well.

Don’t use middle armrests unless you’re in the middle seat

Don’t use middle armrests unless you’re in the middle seat
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Have you ever wondered who has dibs on middle armrests? Well, you’ll be glad to know the experts agree it’s the person in the middle seat. “The unlucky passenger who has the middle seat should be granted the privilege of using both armrests,” says Rose Gray with Fox World Travel.

Daniel Levine with the Avant-Guide Institute agrees with Gray. He adds, “This is one economy class rule that nobody but the most seasoned frequent flyers know.”

Here are some aeroplane facts you’ve always been curious about.

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