Coronavirus had made air travel something that a lot of people are reconsidering right now. When getting on an airplane more and more people are also considering giving their personal space a little wipe down to try and catch any germs that might have been left behind by the last passenger to sit there. One place you might not consider: the seat-back pocket.
The seat-back pocket is one of the most popular places for economy passengers to stow everything from their bottle of water to cell phones, books, and laptops. It also might be one of the dirtiest places on the plane.
Insider recently uncovered a reddit thread asking flight attendants what some of the most disturbing secrets were of air travel that passengers should know.
One, I already knew: short-haul flights are typically just turned over rather than deep cleaned. While that might be a bit different right now due to coronavirus, on average, your short-haul flight is just going to have a crew come through and remove obvious garbage and fold over the seatbelts. They’re not wiping down every single tray table or armrest. The last person that sat in your seat might have had a cold, or even changed their baby on that tray table.
We should all be bringing antibacterial wipes to give our space a wipe down in general, not just while there’s a virus spreading the world.
Another thing she pointed out: you should never, ever, ever put anything in the seat pocket.
While the plane eventually gets a deep clean, the only thing that happens for that seat-back pocket is the trash is taken out. That means if the person in front of you stuck their dirty tissues in there, those germs are potentially getting on your iPad when you put it in the pocket before takeoff.
As a flight attendant, she had also seen people put their feet in those pockets. So if the tissue thing doesn’t get you maybe someone else’s dirty toes will.
While cleaning your space on the plane is absolutely good advice for right now, it’s also something you should keep in mind for travel down the line as well, even when there’s not a virus threat to contend with.