There are some horror stories among the frequent flyer community on what people have seen happen on a flight. Some of the dirtiest things actually happen in a place you might not usually suspect.

You have to keep in mind that a flight nowadays is essentially public transport with security screening thrown in. Passenger behaviour ranges from the very good to what the hell did I just witness?

Dirtiest Stories

People probably expect the aeroplane toilets to be the dirtiest place on board for obvious reasons. Cabin crew will always tell you to wear shoes when you go to the toilet as your socks may soak up more than you expect.

There is one place that is worse and it’s closer than you may think. It’s right in front of your face most of the time and at other times you are using it for all sorts of things. Yes…

Your Tray Table

That innocuous piece of plastic that conveniently flips down for you to eat off is also usually the dirtiest place on board. Everyone eats off it, so spilled food and mess will always hit it. People may brush the mess off it, but it is not going to be actually clean.

Little kids will wipe their snotty noses and then celebrate the joy of flight by banging their tray with glee, leaving crusty remains for the next passenger to discover. And let’s not even think about the mother who decides to change her baby on the tray…

But Surely It Is Cleaned?

Of course the tray is cleaned, usually once a day when the aircraft is parked overnight. On those quick 20 minute turnarounds that low cost carriers are so fond of, you can forget it.

The later the day, the more likely your tray will have been used by several sets of people. I can almost feel the people with mysophobia running off to wash their hands as they read this.

Overall Thoughts

All that being said, after hundreds of flights I have not yet encountered anything truly astonishing on my tray. The occasional crumbs, the odd dried bit of (what I hope is) food and an occasional mark from a drink is the worst I’ve seen.

My tray has never caused me to go down with a five day bug or anything like that. So, while it may be the dirtiest place on the aircraft, you’re not really going to get sick from it unless you’re extremely unlucky.

Have you ever encountered a dirty tray or seen someone doing something with the tray that is outrageous? I’d love to hear about it. Thank you for reading and please leave your comments or questions below.

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