Catch a Plane Without Catching a Cold

Planes can be disgusting flying petri dishes. Those blankets Jetblue thinks are worth $7? Stay away from them. When not sold as collectibles, they’re cleaned only when “they are visibly dirty, or only when they appear to have been used.” Inside, how to breathe fresh air and avoid drinking storage tank water. Mmmm!

  • Ask About Air Packs: Surprise flight attendants by asking how many air packs are currently working. Most planes run two to mix cabin air with fresh air, but if you ask, who knows, “the crew might make sure that all three of the packs are working for your flight, which can make a big difference.” And they thought you’d ask for a pillow…
  • Use Nasal Spray: Plane air has as little as 10% humidity, an affront to your delicate nose. Stock up on saline nasal spray to grease your body’s front line of defense.
  • Watch Out For Water: “Airlines often don’t stock enough bottled water on flights, and flight attendants have been known to refill empty bottles with the water from airplane’s holding tanks (it’s called Tappian!). To make matters worse, in 2004, the EPA tested the water from 327 randomly chosen airplanes, and it found that 13 percent of the planes had water that contained total coliform bacteria; two planes tested positive for E. coli in the water.”

    Bring an empty water bottle to fill up once you’ve cleared TSA screening.

And stay away from those icky blankets. Blech!

Catching a Plane Without Catching a Cold [Peter Greenberg]
(Photo: Getty)