This weeks blog was inspired by an Air Canada flight attendant on the way to Los Angeles from Toronto.
Typically we at Upaya Naturals have a routine in place where we try to drink as much fluids as possible before, during and after a flight in order to stay hydrated and not get sick. We purchase bottle water to take on the plane with us and use Megahydrate, Crystal energy as well as add Polar Mins to our water to help stay hydrated (we put these supplements into smaller containers in order to get through security). During this long flight to LA we polished off our waters half way through the flight and asked a flight attendant for some water. We noticed that instead of having bottled water they were pouring the water from a carafe. We asked if that was tap water and the flight attendant snapped at us and said “Yes, is there a problem?”. We were caught off guard and refused the chemically treated, fluoridated, chlorinated, city water. When we landed we sent a Tweet to Air Canada about them serving city water on flights. Their response was that city water is perfectly fine. We felt that it was almost as if they were proud to be serving city water that had been sitting in the planes dirty storage tanks for who knows how long.
Don’t get us wrong here, ideally if we could get past security, we would be bringing our own stainless steel containers filled with our remineralized reverse osmosis water from home so that we don’t fill the landfills with plastic, but this is not possible these days. So we opt to purchase water before boarding a flight instead. We try to look for glass bottles if possible instead of plastic, but sometimes we have no choice. One thing is for sure – you certainly don’t want to be drinking chemically treated airplane tap water. It is absolutely gross to say the least.
Read below to find out a few things you should know about flying, that we gathered from various websites. This information will shock you into changing the way you prepare yourself next time you step into a plane.
1. Many of the Planes are Filthy
First, you need to know that the water that is poured from the pitcher or coffee pot may taste OK but that does not mean it is clean. Water is housed in a special tank on each aircraft and is supposed to be disinfected on a regular basis by maintenance. The truth is however that many airlines outsource this kind of work to companies that are less than reputable. The tanks are also not disinfected as much as they should be. If you ask for tea or coffee, chances are the water came from the tank of the plane. And if you ask for a cup of water … always insist that it is poured from a bottle. The holding tanks in these sometimes 60 year old planes are never cleaned. They have accumulated so much greenish grime on the walls that in some places it can be inches thick. This one is very known by all airline employees.
Second, many of the planes we work on are filthy. Next time you are on one, look around and notice how dirty it is. Look above your seat and in your seatback – it is gross. Planes are supposed to be cleaned on a regular basis but the way they are frequently rotated around the system, deep cleaning does not happen as much as it needs to. Flight Attendants usually do a quick cleaning during a fast turn-around but often there is little time to do it. Some of the planes even have roaches and bed bugs. Always make sure your carry on bags are zipped up and closed, otherwise you may be helping a creepy crawly hitch a ride to your hotel or home.
2. Drink Plenty of Water and Stay Hydrated
The chances of reliable, frequent beverage service aren’t high these days, unless you’re lucky enough to fly business class. Yet getting and staying hydrated before and during your flight is the best way to protect yourself against getting sick. That’s because lack of humidity in the pressurized cabin dries out mucous membranes, making it harder for your system to flush out germs.
Although you can’t bring liquids through security, you can purchase water before you board the plane. Once on the plane, don’t be shy about asking the attendant for water. Even if they’re not coming through often with the cart, there’s water in the back that you can ask for. Just make sure you see it coming from a bottle that has been opened in front of you since many Airlines, such as Air Canada, also serve chemically treated tap water from filthy holding tanks instead of bottled water.
3. Use the restroom before boarding — with caution.
Most people know not to touch a public toilet seat any more than necessary, but it’s less well known that flushing also transmits germs. And the closer you stand to the toilet, the more you’re in the “line of fire.” Researchers studying this problem measured the microorganisms in the air and on nearby surfaces after the first and subsequent flushes and found that “large numbers of microorganisms persisted on the toilet bowl surface and in the bowl water, which were disseminated into the air by further flushes.”
Use a public restroom before you board and try not to use the restroom on a plane, since it’s impossible to stand more than a couple of feet away. Close the lid before flushing, using a paper towel between your hand and the lid and handle. And wash your hands thoroughly after flushing, using a paper towel to turn off the faucet. Even better, since the water coming from the tap is actually grey water (recycled water that you should not drink), you should bring your own hand sanitizer or wipes. There are several on the market today that don’t use chemicals and are safe.
4. The water in the lavatories is very dirty too
Whatever you do, do not drink the water in the lavatory. It is bad enough to “wash” your hands in it. They sanitize the water tank at selected maintenance intervals, however parasites build tolerances to these cleaners. So avoid getting these chemicals on your hands and bring you own safe sanitizers and wipes instead of washing your hands with chemicals from the sink in the lavatory.
5. Bring your own pillow and blanket
Few airlines provide blankets anymore, and the ones they do offer can harbor germs. In fact, during the H1N1 flu scare, several airlines removed all blankets and pillows from flights as a precaution against cold and flu transmission. Have you ever wondered how often pillow and blankets used on planes are cleaned. Well one thing is for sure, you will never know since they are not yours and can be used several times by other passengers before being washed. Do you really want to be using a strangers blanket or pillow on your skin or face.
Bring your own pillow and blanket if you have to and never use one that is offered on a plane since you will never know when it was last cleaned – unless it’s in a brand new sealed plastic pouch.
So next time you are getting on a plane remember to always be prepared and think about what you can do to help prevent you and your loved ones from getting sick. Last thing anyone wants is to get ill on the way to their long anticipated vacation. Happy journeys.