Having a couple of times recently got a cold or chest bug shortly after a long flight – and I travel a lot – made me do some research into why this happened and how to try and avoid it for the future.
Firstly there are of course bugs – germs – everywhere. The person who’s sitting next to you, who may be cooking up something. In the loo, your tray table….the list is endless. If, like me, you really don’t want to wear a mask and gloves then this is what I at least am going to doing from now on.
1 Carry a pack of antibacterial hand wipes and hand sanitiser spray or liquid.
Yes I am going to be that person wiping down the tray table and arm rests. Personally I don’t like the gloop/alcohol smell of liquid hand sanitiser which you could also carry with you, but there are plenty of hand wipes and mini sprays around which will do the job.
Places most likely to be harbouring germs are – obviously – the loo, and particularly the flush button, sorry but there it is, the door handle and your tray table. There is probably no more important item you can travel with than hand sanitiser. Your tray table is one of the worst places for germs….
2. Get an aisle seat if you want to move around. This is for several reasons; Firstly so that you can get out whenever you need to – Secondly so that you can get up and move around which is much better for you than sitting still for long periods of time. I’m the annoying one walking right through the length of the plane to use the loo at the back and having a quick stretch by the galley.
I read frequently that aisle seats can be bad for germs as people tend to touch the seat back as they go past and can get too close to you so this one’s up to you. I don’t like to be hemmed in on a long flight. Short flights I don’t care so much. Either way avoid touching the ends of seats when you move around. If you have to, when you get back to your seat, use a wipe or spray on your hands.
3. If the person next to you is coughing or sneezing or obviously sick ask to move if at all possible
4. You don’t have to eat plane food Having spent a lot of money on a flight, even in economy, you do not have to eat the (possibly) bug ridden plane food which may not have been heated enough to destroy germs. In any case do you really want to munch all of those carbs?
Couple this with the fact that British Airways is about to stop serving a second – small – meal on a flight of under eight and a half hours and you may, like me, want to dash off to Pret at the airport and take your own food and snacks. In this way, also, you don’t have to lower your tray table which is one of the worst places for germs.
This may irk you – after all you spent a fortune so why should you spend more? But my view is plane food in economy/coach is not worth eating and I’d always rather have something healthy with me which I can eat when I want to.
5. Drink. Loads. And I don’t mean alcohol. Flying is very dehydrating. I always take two bottles of water with me on a long flight and drink all the way through. And, not trying to sound goody goody, I don’t drink alcohol when flying. It absolutely doesn’t help the recovery process. Hot drinks are good as well as they moisten the air but make sure that your coffee or tea is really hot, otherwise don’t drink it.
Never drink the tap water on a flight. Take a bottle of water to the loo with you if you’re going to do your teeth. Don’t get ice in your drinks.
6. Take your own blanket and pillow. I take a small fleece blanket and a neck pillow. Then I don’t have to take the risk that the pillow and blanket I’ve been given hasn’t been cleaned.
7. Try to use a tote bag to put the things in you’ll want on the flight, not the seat back pocket, as this can be full of germs as well.
There are germs everywhere we go, and I’m not one of those people who believes that we should all be walking around with masks on and using hand sanitiser absolutely everywhere. But we can play it much safer on a plane. I certainly will be from now on…..