(Now Everyone Does) The One Thing I Do Every Flight! Am I A Weirdo Or Do You Do It Too?

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One Thing I Do Every Flight

The One Thing I Do Every Flight! Am I Weirdo Or Do You Do It Too?

There is one thing I do on on every flight.  It doesn’t matter what airline I am on and it doesn’t matter what class I sitting in.  I could be sipping Krug in a lie flat bed or a Buzzballz in the last row of economy on Spirit. Either way I am still going to do it!

No matter where I am or who I am flying I ALWAYS bring a Wet One or Clorox wipe with me.  I then proceed to wipe down the tray table, the back of the seat in front of me (where the try goes up), and the latch.  I don’t go as far as to wipe down the headrest or armrests but I would not be surprised if others do.

Update 1/25/21: After my recent flight this post came to mind.  And I realized that I am no longer the weirdo and that everyone does this now. The flight attendants actually hand you a sanitizing wipe as you enter the plane.  And it was just a snapshot of how life has changed and how things will be different in the future too. I think this is a practice that will stick around for a long time.

Why Do I Do This?

There is an immune support pill that they named Airborn and focused on airline fliers for a reason. Airplanes are dirty and you are sharing a space with hundreds of people for hours at a time.  There are germs recirculating everywhere!

But the main problem is that planes are rarely cleaned during the day.  When you sit down and see someones food in your seat back pocket do you think they really wiped down any tray tables between flights?  Of course they didn’t.

One Thing I Do Every Flight tray table
A freshly wiped down tray table 🙂

Have you ever opened your tray table and thought what is that sticky substance?  How about watching someone cut their toenails on their tray table or change a baby’s diaper?!?  Trust me it goes down and it gets diiiiirrrrttttyyyy up in there.  I would rather be safe than sorry.  There is nothing worse then getting sick while on vacation or the week after a trip when you have a pile of work to catch up on.

Am I Alone Out There?  Who Else Does It?

I prefer the one off Wet Ones for my sanitary needs.  The Clorox wet wipes sometimes ooze out of the multi-use packet into my backpack. So there is my tip on what item to purchase if you wanna get aboard the clean train errr plane 😉.

But I wonder, am I all on an island here?  I don’t see many people doing it when flying but I know others ask to “borrow” one when they see me doing it.  If you don’t wipe down your area does this make you consider it going forward?

Share your thoughts below!

Mark Ostermann
Mark Ostermann
Mark Ostermann is a father, husband and miles/points fanatic. He left the corporate world after starting a family in order to be a stay at home dad. Mark is constantly looking at ways to save money and stay within budget while also taking awesome vacations with his family. When he isn't caring for his family or taking a weekend trip, Mark is working towards his goal of visiting every Major League Baseball ballpark.

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  1. As long as we have had Clorox wipes, I have been wiping down as much as possible! Not a germiphob but I too have seen what people do when they travel, I also do the same when I take a long train trip.

  2. A few years ago I started wiping down the open tray table with the warm cloth we got. Now, it is tray table, arm rest and head rest. I always have wipes in a ziploc (have had the spillage issue before). I only did remote and phone in the hotels before but that will change going forward.

  3. I’m in the wipe everything category, arm rest, table, latch, pretty much, if I can touch it I wipe it. The same for hotels, door handles, remote, light switch, faucets, and, a mini wipe in a rental car, steering wheel, radio, a/c. The wipes are cheap and disposable, and it only takes a very few minutes. Finally, I keep the package in a zip-lock bag in my carry on, no leaks and easy to find.

  4. My thing is, if you read the directions on the packages of wipes, those surfaces you wipe down have to stay wet for an awful long time before the chemicals actually kill the germs. It’s hard to get them wet enough. I just take the time to wash my hands thoroughly with soap and water and don’t touch anything before eating or touching my face. If I do the wipe down thing, I use oxivir wipes like we have at my hospital job that take 60 seconds to kill viruses. My cell phone is the only thing I wipe down regularly, and I set a timer and keep wiping until the 60 seconds goes off so I know it’s clean.

  5. My wife and try to do this on every flight, keep in mind that the most germ infested surface when traveling g is the ‘check in ‘touch screen monitor in the terminal

  6. I wipe down EVERYTHING around me…I’ve been flying somewhat regularly and ever since I’ve done it, I can only count two times of getting sick (over the past 5 years)…one of those times ground 0 patient was right next to me, so there was no avoiding that. But, I wipe down my entire area-the entire seat (seat rests, arm rests, buckle), everything in front of me and to the sides (window, airplane wall), tray table, vents above me, even wipe the magazine holder in front of me (at least any parts I might touch). It takes about 5 wipes. I don’t use the restroom usually, otherwise, I like the idea of taking a wipe there too! If I’m eating, I try to use a hand wipe then too. Interestingly, it’s often nurses and school teachers that say, “that’s a really good idea” and ask to borrow some.

  7. I do it too. I’ve seen others do it as well. I will never NOT do it lol. I’m convinced that’s why I was getting sick after every flight. Been fine since I started

  8. I always count to 20 starting when the wheels leave the ground because most crashes occur in the first 20 seconds of takeoff. If I get to 20 I know I’m relatively safe.

  9. Y’all are missing the biggest one – don’t forget to wipe down the stranger sitting next to you – you literally have NO idea where he’s been. I prefer the 80-pack Clorox canister for this.

  10. Well, although I agree partially, the “doc” in me also would like to emphasize you need to vary the wipes you use, otherwise you are creating “superbugs” that become resistant to cleaners.
    That has become a problem with some of the “gel” hand cleaners.
    It is well known that the worst place to catch an infection is a hospital, and Lord know they wipe, clean and disinfect surfaces constantly.

  11. I’m going to say this, and the majority of commentators here won’t like it. But you germaphobes are more likely to get sick than I am.

    Do u wash my hands before I handle food, and after using the bathroom? Yes. Do I go crazy with trying to sterilize my dang environment? No.

    Do you realize, that with the insane push to kill germs all around us, that pediatricians are telling parents to STOP trying to keep their little ones germ free, so that their immune systems get a chance to be challenged by weaker germs.

    Please stop. You are doing yourselves and the environment more harm than good.

    • For kids it is one thing for adults it isn’t as important since we have already been introduced to those things. Whenever I eat something I want to make sure the surface I am eating it on is clean…that is just me.

  12. My wife and I always wipe down everything in our seating area as soon as we board. We don’t even sit first, then clean. Also re-clean everything after food served and after sleeping since this introduces new germs. We use electronic air filtre masks for flights to/from higher risk countries. Also, bring wipes into the bathroom with you for obvious reasons. But, also use the wipes to clean your hands before leaving the bathroom because the faucet water’s source are tanks that are not sanitised. Dispose of the wipes only after using them to open the bathroom door. This may sound extreme to some, but we have not caught a cold in more than 10 years.

  13. Mark, I careful wipe down everything around me on every flight I take. Tray tables are by far the dirtiest places on the plane. I’m sure people around me think I’m being excessive, but I could care less. And anyway, who am I to tell them they have no right to enjoy sitting in filth. I do the same with everything I touch in hotel rooms. Especially the light switches and TV remote. Studies have shown they’re the filthiest things in the room. https://www.forbes.com/sites/geoffwhitmore/2019/03/20/how-dirty-are-airplanes/#4b15d82e2ebb

  14. My wife always brings along wipes but wipes everything including the seat, headrests, seat belt etc. The disgusting air can still get you but at least a lot of the problems are gone.

    • I find the Clorox ones to leak out some in my bag for some reason. I like the individually wrapped wipes.

  15. What do you do with the wipes after you have cleaned everything? I use a motion sickness bag. I also wear a mask EVERY flight. I’ve been sick too many times and it sometimes takes months to recover.

    • I put them back into the single use pouch I opened it from and fold it up and put in the seat back until they collect the garbage.

  16. Nope, you are not alone. In business class after I wash my hands with the hot towel I use it to clean the storage compartment top on the window and every thing around that can be cleaned. Then I take a paper towel I bring with me and wet it with bottled water and use it to clean the Bose headphones ear padding and headband. I have no idea their policy of cleaning headphones. Then I use the paper towel to clean the side area again.

    On JetBlue I don’t open the tray table so I don’t do it.

    • You have me thinking about the headphones but I always figured they were safe since they are usually wrapped up but you never know.

  17. I wipe everything down including seat buckles and the top one inch of seat pocket. This is not obsessive it’s smart. And after I touch anything that has not been wiped I use anti bacterial wash. Better safe than sorry!

  18. Not weird at all…just careful. I do that also and include the armrests, seat belt buckles, the handle to raise and lower the windows and the outside and just the upper inside of the seat back pocket. I try not to touch anything in the lavatory with my bare hands and never wash my hands in the lavatory. Always clean my hands back at my seat with Purcell and antibacterial wipes. Sometimes I think the cleanest way to manage would be wearing a HazMat suit!

  19. To a certain extent I agree that we can get obsessive about germs. However, more and more we’re hearing about super-bugs, bacteria that are super resistant to any antibiotics. The bugs are simply mutating into a form that medicine cannot keep up with. If alcohol-based products, or anything else you cannot take or consume can kill them, all the better. I guess the real nasty bugs would be the ones inside the airline’s air recirculating system and contaminating the air. Maybe the safest people are the ones wearing those N95 face masks….. It’s a roll of the dice. Mark, add N95 face masks to your carry on list!! 🙂

    • Over the years, I’ve learned that I am allergic to most antibiotics. So if I have to take any, it’ll be a draw between the antibiotics and the nasty bugs that kill me. I recently discovered Oregano Oil, which was effective in finally getting my coughs under control after almost two months (after a brief episode of the flu). Maybe that’s how I came to be so neurotic about germs but really, it’s only outside of my house. I have 5 cats and though I hate the task, I think nothing of cleaning their litters (although I like to do it just before taking a shower, lol).

  20. I don’t bother. It’s a slippery slope. What’s next, the steering wheel on a rental car, the door handle of your hotel room, the subway strap on your remote stand aircraft bus? Humans are a pretty tough bunch overall or we would have died out long ago. A lack of germs isn’t good for you. Just wash your hands before eating.

    • The only difference is I can wash my hands before eating etc. with those. With everything we do on a plane I treat it a little differently. Plus people are animals on a plane more so than anywhere else in public lol

    • I am guilty of wiping the steering wheels on a rented car… and the gear stick, door handle and whatever else I think of at the time.

  21. It will be my policy going forward!! I picked up some nasty bug on a flight home from Croatia and am still dealing with the effects 6 weeks later! Those “weirdos” who wear the face masks are starting to look like savants to me!

  22. I’m the same as Jana. In the hotel room, I clean everything I may come in contact with including James’ items.

    • Whenever I can, I buy a travel size aerosol at the destination for the bathtub at the hotel – I fear that I might get someone else’s athlete’s foot. I once got it at the gym and learned my lesson (I shower with flip flops on at the gym). I’m not as careful as James about the rest of the stuff but now I have new ideas, lol.

  23. You’re only a weirdo if you do all that and don’t wipe down the arm rests! I started doing all that when I started traveling with an infant. When I learned that my friend had a reaction to the chemical smell, I started using a Norwex cloth instead, in case another passenger had a similar reaction.

  24. I bring Wet Wipes consistently, but I forget/am lazy at least half the time in cleaning. But you can’t see the bacteria! So don’t assume it’s ever clean.

  25. Thanks for reminding me. I’m down for a small pack of cleaning wipes, especially with my advanced age and not so great immune system.

  26. I do it as well. No shame in trying to be germ free. Specially other people’s germs.
    But I don’t do it if the flight is less than one hour, unless it is too dirty.

  27. every single flight. 1 hour or 14 hours, the area around me gets wiped down. And btw you are a weirdo (a points and miles weirdo) and we your readers like you for it.

  28. I am with you on this one. In addition I wipe down the metal seat buckles, the air vents, the seat button, the entertainment screen, the headrest and armrests. Better safe than sorry. I started after sitting next to a pilot who did the same thing and advised me to do so.

    • I am the same as Jana. Been doing it for over a decade. As far as I know, I never “caught” anything on the plane since I began this habit. I travel only about 30% of the time starting this year but used to be 90%. Flu season, I also took Airborne with me. For my travels, forgetting to bring the wipes was one of the worst things that could happen and if I did, I felt uneasy for at least a few days afterward, wondering if I caught anything. And I would definitely buy some at the destination. I also shower after traveling on a plane – no matter how late I checked into a hotel or got home. And of course, the clothes I was wearing goes straight into the laundry.


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