Staying Healthy: Air Crew Shares In-Flight Tips & Dirty Secrets

It’s almost time for a summer vacation, and you’ve got your travel plans laid out perfectly. And it’d be a bummer to ruin it thanks to a nasty flu you caught on the plane.

We talk to a former flight attendant on how you can avoid falling ill (easily) on board. Below, what you can do:

Don’t drink from the tap water (or water in general)

staying healthy

The water tanks on the plane are known to not be clean (we don’t know when was the last time they cleaned it), so it’s wise to abide by this rule. Also: Stay away from hot and cold tea or coffee because, well, you make them with the tap water, too. To be safe, opt for bottled water or packet juices.

Wear a face mask

If you think wearing a mask is uncool, falling sick is one. Fact: The air you breathe on the plane might actually be even cleaner than in your office thanks to the filters. What you can do: Keep the air vents above you open to direct fresh air towards you and keep the germs at bay. Also: Most airlines give out free disposable facemasks, which will be super handy if you end up sitting next to a sick traveller. One alternative? Try nasal screens; they allow you to eat and drink freely, and best of all, it’s almost invisible.

Disinfect and sanitise the surfaces (not your face)

If you’re one who uses the hot towel (distributed at the start of the flight) to wipe your face and hands… you have to know this: The towels were thrown into the oven, along with food items, prior to being distributed. Most aircrew would never use the towel as a face cleanser.

Instead, wipe down every surface you will likely touch – from the tray table and armrest to tv screen and remote control. Another horror fact: These towels are collected at the end of the flight to be reused. Bring your own disinfectant wipes and bring a bottle of sanitiser.

Bring your own pillow (and blanket)

staying healthy

Don’t be too ready to snuggle with it yet. Pillows and blankets provided onboard are packed with germs from the previous flights. Bring your own neck pillows (there are so many creatively packaged pillow in the market now). For instance, we saw one recently which can double as a mini pouch to hang on your travel bag. Plus, it’s yours to keep and carry around (at least no one else would drool on it).

Indulge in some alcohol

staying healthy

Too much of any good thing is not cool. It’s true that drinking alcohol might cause bloating and dehydration, but if it is in moderate amount, why not? If you’re struggling to sleep on a red-eye flight, unwind a little, sip some wine and sleep better.

Plan your sleep

Take this time to catch up on your beauty rest, and be well-rested for the trip you’ve been planning for. If you are flying across time zones, beat the jetlag by adjusting your body clock before reaching your destination.

Sleep ahead of your bedtime if you’re headed East and sleep later if you’re headed West. You’re guaranteed to reach your destination feeling pumped to start your vacation (or recharged to embark on a business trip).

Disclaimer: Insider tips are made according to one flight attendant; the mentioned points above do not represent all cases.

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