There are a lot of things you can do – to protect yourself and others on a plane.
1. If you’re sick, stay home.
Admit it, you’ve flown with a sniffle or two; those expensive change fees (up to $200) offer little incentive to stay in bed. If you must fly, be courteous to other passengers by keeping your germs to yourself. Bring an economy-sized both of tissues with you, but don’t stuff those used ones in the seatback pocket!
Tip: I’ve seen some travellers don face masks to keep germs from others but frankly if you’re sick enough for that, maybe you should stay home.
2. Stay hydrated.
You know the drill, water and lots of it. Just a reminder that you can bring a big bottle of any liquid through security (more than 3.4 ounces) but you can bring an empty container through and fill it after the checkpoint.
Tip: Most airlines offer water and soft drinks for free, but you will pay for this on Allegiant, Frontier and Spirit.
3. Watch your alcohol intake.
Sometimes a glass of wine on a plane can really hit the spot but don’t overindulge. For one thing, aircraft cabins are very dry and alcohol is dehydrating. You get the picture.
Tip: See number two.
4. Wash hands frequently.
Mother was right. Wash hands often and wash them correctly. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, this is the right way:
• Put your hands under clean running water
• Use plenty of soap
• Rub hands under the water for 20 seconds
Tip: In case you don’t have a stopwatch handy, the CDC suggests you sing (or hum) the Happy Birthday song, all the way through – twice. That should do it.
5. Carry hand-sanitizers.
It’s all about the alcohol content of these solutions; make sure yours is at least 50% (most I’ve seen are). Suggestions for use:
• Tray tables: Wipe them thoroughly. It’s been said these are the ‘most touched’ parts of planes, and if you want to know how passengers touch trays, take a gander at some of the photos in the notorious site, Passenger Shaming.
• Armrests: These can come in for a fair amount of touching; wipe ‘em down.
• Seatback touchscreens: Hold a wipe in your hand as you touch the screen; just tell your nosy neighbor that we all have our quirks.
• Tops of seats: Especially the one in front of you; now I have no idea what if anything a wipe can do on a fabric topped seat but we know they get touched so what the heck, give it a wipe.
Tip: Don’t forget to bring the wipes to the lavatory with you.
6. Say no to the blanket.
This will be easy since hardly anyone will offer you a blanket in this day and age, but don’t take one if available because who knows where it’s been. On the other hand, if your carrier offers to sell you a blanket (as JetBlue and a few others do), you at least know it will be clean.
Tip: If you’re that cold, just keep your coat on.
7. If someone beside you is down with flu or coughing, please do ask to change to another seat elsewhere, because flu is contagious. I had experienced it whereby the man 2 seats away was down with flu, and lo and behold, I was down with flu that I caught from him during airborne.
In conclusion, with the bacteria abound in the air, it is best to take precautions, and not to take things lightly.