Are airplane armrests and seatbelt buckles filthy?

Discussion in 'General Discussion | Travel' started by jfhscott, Sep 5, 2012.  |  Print Topic

  1. jfhscott
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    jfhscott Silver Member

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    So,

    I was on a BOS-DCA on US last week. As *A Gold, no upgrade but I did get the row 4 bulkhead. (This is often reserved for *A Gold, so empty middles are common).

    I was in A, and another dude in C - no one in B. Upon getting to row 4, this dude - who looked to be a 30 year old in ordinary health - breaks out disinfecting wipes, and wipes down the armrests and the buckle to the seat belt prior to exposing himself to the atmosphere.

    I've flown more than my share, and have never seen nothin' like this.

    I am, indeed, one to think "well you eat a pound of dirt every year" and i do not get worked up about sterilizing everything in creation. My folks were the type - 40 years ago - who, upon learning that some kid up the street had chicken pox sent me and my brother to play with him, knowing that juvenile chicken pox were almost inevitable and preferable to the alternative to adult chicken pox. And I believe that the proliferation of antibacterial everything may result in the proliferation of resistant microbes. Basically, I think we live in a world with cooties, and I need to adjust around them.

    Question is, is my capacity for filth too high or was this dude over the top?
     
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  2. HaveMilesWillTravel
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    HaveMilesWillTravel Gold Member

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    Well, it was US... ;)

    But I think your capacity for filth is on par with mine.
     
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  3. marcwint55

    marcwint55 Gold Member

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    I think your guy might have been a bit over the top, however I do have a pet peeve about people who instead of getting up to blow their noses, sit and make all kinds of unpleasant noises while sitting next to you.
     
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  4. myskyconnections

    myskyconnections Active Member

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    that's a tough subject: my wife told me that she was going to wipe down our business class seats on our swiss flight sfo->zrh. but then, when we boarded, she kind of just wiped down some parts (tv control, arm rest)...all in all: i guess there are tons of microbs and viruses floating around a plane. but then again, i could get hit by a drunk car driver tomorrow (knock on wood).
     
  5. thegrailer
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    thegrailer Silver Member

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    Wipe down everything. Or wait until you have an FA tell you about children being changed bare butt on your tray table. Appetizing - hmmm yummy - Not!
     
  6. NYBanker
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    NYBanker Gold Member

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    I can't imagine when airline seat belt buckles are cleaned or disinfected. Probably only marginally better than touching the railing in stairs in the subway. :eek:
     
  7. LarryInNYC

    LarryInNYC Gold Member

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    This is a form of obsessive-compulsive behavior that seems to be becoming more common.
     
  8. sobore
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    sobore Gold Member

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    Hazmat suit may be needed here.
     
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  9. TravelBear

    TravelBear Gold Member

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    Totally agree with this.

    Amazing we have survived so long without hand sanitizer and wipes! /sarcasm off
     
  10. SC Flier
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    SC Flier Gold Member

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    Maybe he just has a fear of flying in Y. Or maybe he was trying to reduce the risk of infection from dirty politicians that might've been on the inbound from Washington, DC.
     
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  11. estnet
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    estnet Gold Member

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    Not so over the top - as mention maybe OCD (or just common sense). Airplanes are filthy and people concern for other seem on an ever downward spiral :( For those of us with healthy immune systems and who wash our hands frequently it's not a big deal but people with comprised systems need to be more careful.
    This behavior worries me a LOT less than the proliferation of anti-bacterial "soaps" (soap is quite antibacterial on its own) which may be breeding a whole lot of really nasty bugs (eg resistant to the normal stuff as an adaptation to these chemicals)
     
  12. jfhscott
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    jfhscott Silver Member

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    Yes, the antibacterial everything concerns me from a public health standpoint. And I'm not convinced that many people who travel with purell and wipes have compromised immune systems - rather, I think they cannot reconcile themselves to the idea there are microbes in this world.

    As for me, it has never occurred to me to wipe down any part of an airline seat - except for the one in the potty - prior to use.
     
  13. DestinationDavid
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    DestinationDavid Milepoint Guide

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    I flew from HKG-NRT on CX in Y two days ago next to a lovely gentleman who:
    • Blew his nose into paper towels he brought with him not by bunching it around his nostrils but by holding it in his hand like a canvas and blowing his nose as if the contents ejected were paint and he was creating a Jackson Pollock tribute piece.
    • Cleared his throat about every 2 minutes and removed the contents from his mouth into a make-shift spittoon he'd created from an empty bag of peanuts.
    • Passed gas multiple times without any attempt to be coy about it
    • Watched a Cantonese version of "America's Got Talent" on the IFE while laughing at the top of his lungs from the meal service till 15 minutes before landing.
    Needless to say, I feel your pain. :eek:
     
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  14. SC Flier
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    SC Flier Gold Member

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    I'm not bothered by people using Purell. Purell is an alcohol-based hand sanitizer and does not contain triclosan.
    "U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulations do not allow the use of triclosan as an active ingredient in "leave on" hand sanitizer. PURELL hand sanitizer products do not contain triclosan."​

    I'm much more bothered by businesses putting triclosan-based antibacterial soaps in their restrooms.

    A list of products that contain triclosan. (ETA: Colgate Total toothpaste is on the list.)
     
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  15. guberif

    guberif Silver Member

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    I tend to believe that the strength of your immune system is directly related to the amount of crap you're exposed to on a routine basis. I wouldn't lick the armrest, but that's cause of the taste :). My best friend is a nurse in the neo-natal ICU and refuses to have antibacterial soap in her house. She's much more worried about super bugs than regular germs.
     
  16. wrxmom

    wrxmom Gold Member

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    I'll admit it - I wipe everything down, especially during cold and flu season. Flame away, I can handle it. :)
     
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  17. druiddation
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    druiddation Gold Member

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    When I'm going on vacation I bring a couple alcohol wipes and wipe down things around the seat I might be touching such as the armrests, seat belt buckle and tray. My vacations are usually short and I want to minimize my chances of catching a cold and having any down time while away.
     
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  18. snuggliestbear

    snuggliestbear Active Member

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    I couldn't agree with the OP more. This guy was over the top and so is anyone else that does that sort of stuff. The antibacterial stuff also kills the good bacteria with the bad, so there is that downside as well.
     
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  19. estnet
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    estnet Gold Member

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    My condolences!

     
  20. estnet
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    estnet Gold Member

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    Amen - superbugs are exactly what are being created by unnecessary use of this stuff (not including alcohol - in med school we used to joke that the alcohol swabs just "moved the germs around")
     
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  21. SC Flier
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    SC Flier Gold Member

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    So would anyone here object to the airline's cleaning crew cleaning the seats between flights? As far as I can tell, the biggest offense by the OP's neighbor is that he had a non-conformist behavior.
     
  22. Mapsmith
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    Mapsmith Gold Member

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    Yes. Flame will kill most germs.

    Wipe down what you want. That is your choice. Can make sense during cold and Flu Season. Especially if kids are around.

    Personally, I don't worry much about it. It's like handling Money. Filthy Lucre is more than just a catch phrase.
     
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  23. wrxmom

    wrxmom Gold Member

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    :) That's why I prefer ccs;)
     
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  24. pyndasky

    pyndasky Silver Member

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    for cross country flights, I usually tank-up in the United Club or local bar before the flight.... after several beers, glasses of wine, or cocktails, the whole concern about germs just kinda goes away!!!!

    personally, I prefer to drink my alcohol instead of wiping my arm rest with it ;)
     
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  25. ella
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    ella Silver Member

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    I don't consider myself to be a germophobe, but neither will I eat anything that touches the tray table - coach or first. When traveling I wash my hands at every opportunity, and use paper towel to open lav door, but don't wipe down seats, belts or armrests.
     
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