Airline secrets: Skip the in-flight meal and coffee

WHEN you next fly, it might be a wise idea to avoid the in-flight meal - and while you're at it, don't drink the tea and coffee either.

That's the advice given by Allison Hope, a former airline industry employee, to New York website Refinery29 - and she has revealed a lot more about the often unsanitary conditions in the air.

She recommends avoiding the in-flight meal unless it's served in a sealed bag, and also warned that the water used for coffee and tea comes from tanks that are hard to clean and often contaminated with bacteria.

LSG Sky Chefs, one of the biggest companies providing meals to airlines, has been hit with several health violations and "the conditions under which it prepares food are often less than savoury", she said.

However, she also pointed out that not all airlines are alike - and international carriers like Emirates and Singapore are known for their good-quality food.

And it seems those seat-back trays can harbour some nasty bacteria as well, due to passengers using them outside of their intended purpose.

"Passengers often use the trays as their own private diaper changing tables and, sadly, they are cleaned far less than you'd be comforted to know," she wrote.

She went on to reveal some of the "crazy things" people do when they're flying - from joining the mile-high club, to vomiting all over the plane after too much cheap chardonnay.

And people die on planes more often than you'd think.

"When someone dies in-flight, a plane will often divert to the nearest city, but sometimes, people slip away so quietly that no one notices until they don't get up from their seats upon landing."

Worryingly, she also said that every plane has something wrong with it.

"Airplanes have routine scheduled maintenance, and certain problems might not be dealt with until that time," she wrote.

However, if an aircraft has a problem that was a real threat to safety it would be taken out of service.

Last year, a study by online travel calculator Travel Math found the seat-back tray table was the dirtiest surface on a plane, recording more bacteria than the toilets and seat belts combined.

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