Dirty Mess on Plane Leads to Questions About Cleaning Protocols

Dirty Mess on Plane Leads to Questions About Cleaning Protocols

When COVID-19 hit two years ago, airlines made it a point to significantly upgrade their respective cleaning measures on planes.

Now, a TikTok video from a passenger showing a filthy mess on a plane as flyers boarded the flight has prompted a social media backlash and questions about whether airlines are still following the rigid guidelines it imposed in the wake of the pandemic.

The video was from a recent Ryanair flight from the Canary Islands to London. Let’s just say it wasn’t one of those fun safety videos that airlines like to show just before takeoff. This one included several disturbing images of snacks and crumbs on the floor of the cabin that had not been vacuumed or cleaned before the next flight.

The story was first reported by the New York Times, which showed images of the mess.

The story quickly caught the eyes of social media users, who were only too happy to answer the question the Times posed about who was to blame for such a mess.

“Flight attendants are not maids,” said Nicole D. Lawson, a flight attendant from New Jersey, told the NYT, noting that flight attendants are frustrated by passengers who do not throw their trash away when crew members come through the aisles with bags.

And it isn’t just foreign airlines suddenly under fire. This tweet from a passenger called out Delta Air Lines:

And this one from a flyer using Avelo Airlines:

But many people did forgive the airlines, which have been under pressure all spring and summer for numerous delays and cancellations – in part caused by staff shortages.

“They have 25 minutes on the ground they can barely complete safety checks,” one person wrote in a well-liked TilTok comment according to the newspaper. “Don’t blame them blame the people who left it.”

Others pointed out that there is a big difference between the COVID disinfectant protocols and just general tidying up before the turnaround. Some airlines have dropped the pandemic-related disinfecting procedures introduced two years ago, while others have adopted new measures. American Airlines, for instance, told the Times it brings in a cleaning between every flight. JetBlue amended its cleaning policy to only disinfect planes that come into the U.S. from overseas. Most airlines do ask crew members to generally tidy up between trips.

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