Airline British Airways created a fresh trend earlier this month when staff were ordered not to clean the cabins between flight routes, as a time saving measure. The company tested out its new plan on a short haul route between London to Dublin, with the intention of reducing the ordinary 40-minute turnaround time. A memo sent to flight staff saw cabin crew advised not to “do any cleaning of seat pockets, crossing seatbelts etc”. Rubbish was collected before the flight landed but the new regulations were to do no further cleaning until the plane took off again.
A BA spokesperson told the Telegraph of the temporary policy: “We know our cabin crew work extremely hard looking after our customers and understand their rest period between flights is very important.
“We consulted with our crews during this short trial to advise them not to carry out additional tasks during their down time between flights.
“We understand our customers value arriving at their destinations on time, that’s why we completed a short trial on one route.”
Yet any apparent time saving measures could have come at a potential cost to health, according to nutritionist Shona Wilkinson.
Travellers could be exposed to different strains of illness should they travel on a short haul plane that had not been cleaned.
She exclusively told Express.co.uk: “We know that any crowded place can contain many germs and increase our risk of exposure to strains of viruses.
“You only have to see how dirty the London underground is to be aware of this!
“The difference with a plane is that you tend to be on them for longer and could perhaps be exposed to strains of viruses that your body hasn’t come into contact with before due to the different nationalities of the passengers.
“Microbiologists have tested planes and found that they have many germs which can last for hours or even days after the passenger who bought them on board has left the plane.
“The more often a plane is cleaned, the less likely there is for contamination, but the huge amount of passengers means that there is a high risk of germs in any event. Remember that you can take steps to protect yourself though.”
She added fellow passengers proved the biggest risk, and said: “There are certainly places where the germ count is highest.
“The worst spot is the flush button in the toilet. This can have over 95,000 CFUs (germ colony forming units) compared to approximately 172 CFUs found on your flush button in your own home.
“The next places to be aware of are the tray table and the seatbelt buckles.
“Be wary of any places where many people will be touching e.g. arm rests, overhead air vents, screens etc.”
As well as advising passengers to clean the most affected areas, Shona said passengers should also “prime” their body and immune systems, with a Vitamin C supplement such as Unbeelievable Health Bee Prepared Daily Defence, available from Holland and Barrett, which boosts immune systems.
Daily Express :: Travel News Feed