The camera moves across the floor under two rows of passenger seats. The carpet was full of many potato chips and it looked as if there had been snow recently on the plane.
“The cabin crew told us they don’t clean between flights,” read the caption to a TikTok video taken on a recent Ryanair flight from the Canary Islands to London.
In another recent video, a passenger’s hand hits the seat, causing a thick cloud of dust particles – which also looks like snow – to rise on a Qantas flight within Australia.
“Oh my God, that’s wrong,” wrote one Facebook commenter.
Epidemiological travel was messy and frustrating. But for the most part, it has been relatively clean, as many airlines adhered to strong sanitation practices early in the pandemic, and many virus-warried travelers cleared their areas as well.
Recently, two widely shared videos of particularly dirty planes sparked concerns that days of clean flights might get in the way of wearing masks. They also sparked controversy over whether cabin crew or passengers were to blame for tampering.
“Flight attendants are not maids,” said Nicole D. Lawson, a flight attendant from New Jersey who does not work for either airline, but she was frustrated that many passengers were unable to take advantage of the many opportunities to throw trash in a bag. .
What infuriated Scott, 23, a travel-focused content creator from Essex, England, who posted the Ryanair video, was the attitude of the cabin crew. (Scott refused to use his full name due to his day job as a police officer.)
“There was rubbish everywhere,” he said in a phone interview. Behind all the “potato chips” scattered in the aisles, he spotted a spilled drink and seemed to be vomiting. Not only did the crew rudely tell him that not only was his help in cleaning it, he said, but they also refused his request to wipe.
What surprised him about the response he and his partner received on their TikTok and Instagram accounts was the number of comments defending the crew out of more than 2,000 comments.
“They have 25 minutes on the ground and can barely complete the safety checks,” one person wrote in a comment they liked. “Don’t blame them and blame the people who left them.”
Another wrote: “If my flight is 20 pounds, I can handle a few crumbs.” (Twenty pounds, or a pound, equals about $23).
And while the Irish carrier offers ridiculously cheap flights — their site currently advertises international flights for as little as $8 — Scott said he and his partner paid about £200, or about $230 each, which is why he expects more.
Regarding the official airline policy on cleaning, it is somewhat unclear. In May 2020, Ryanair CEO Michael O’Leary told the British daily The Times that the airline did not have time to clean between flights and would only do a deep cleaning once a day. In turn, a Ryanair spokesperson wrote, “Our aircraft is cleaned during every shift cycle.” (She did not immediately respond to additional questions.)
Either way, the cloud of mysterious particles on a Qantas flight is somewhat more surprising, given that Australia’s largest airline is not a low-cost airline. The five-hour flight from Sydney to Perth was the most expensive trip Ross Matthews had ever taken, he wrote when he posted the video to Facebook. It was this video, republished by Britain’s Daily Mail newspaper, that led some to question whether major carriers had abandoned cleaning standards set during the pandemic.
In fact, he did a lot. Early in the pandemic, most airlines adhered to extensive sanitation measures. These promises faded gradually for reasons of cost, inconvenience, and science. By the spring of 2020, research revealed that the coronavirus was unlikely to spread to surfaces, and masking and ventilation systems became the focus of those trying to avoid infection. In June 2020, for example, United Airlines said it would disinfect cabins by spraying an electrostatically charged mist between each flight. By July of the following year, the airline told The Points Guy, a website focused on travel, that it had changed its approach to applying a different type of sanitizer only once a week.
Early this year, JetBlue stopped bringing in professional cleaning crews to clean dining tables between flights, something they began doing in the spring of 2020, according to a flight attendant. Similarly, by August 2020, Southwest said it had stopped disinfecting armrests and seat belts between flights.
Of course, arranging the chips on the floor is different than coating surfaces with a chemical that’s supposed to kill viruses. Airlines’ policies differ on this issue. The airline said that some airlines, such as American Airlines, bring a cleaning crew in between each flight. Others, like JetBlue, only do this when flights are coming from abroad. Otherwise, JetBlue, like Southwest, relies on the flight crew to do light arranging between domestic flights while putting seat belts back in place, according to several flight attendants. Delta claims that its cleaning teams “make frequent and thorough surveys of aircraft interiors”.
On the whole, though, flight attendants are responsible for giving passengers opportunities to dispose of their trash, but not for sweeping or mopping anything. These types of tasks are supposed to fall to the separate cleaning crews, who may not get on the plane before its next flight. Flight attendants said some passengers are still treating planes like sports fields by throwing food on the ground.
said Nastasja Lewis, flight attendant and founder of th| AIR | apy, a nonprofit organization focused on the mental health of flight attendants: “Entitlement is unrealistic.” “What’s so hard about getting rid of your trash?” She asked.
As for how terrifying the Qantas Cloud occupants must be, it’s hard to say.
“Based on the video, it is unclear what spilled on the seat and when,” a representative for the airline said in a statement, adding that the seat has since been cleaned. The Australian carrier also said it is putting planes into a “regular deep clean”, which includes seat covers and pillows.
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