Would you eat off the floor on a Delta Jet? Your tray table may just be the same!

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Do you know how clean that tray table is? Did you know they often double as a baby changing table? Have you ever seen this thread at Flyer Talk with photographic evidence of Delta passengers behaving badly? If we look to this report from CBS back in January, the greatest risk is that you will catch a cold or flu from one of your fellow passengers. I’ve always known that the aircraft aren’t all that clean, and even include in “Top Tips” my own long held practice of wiping down all surfaces the minute I sit down in my seat! Still this has all made me wonder, how often are aircraft actually cleaned and how thorough is the cleaning?

I did a bunch of searching but the most recent info I could find was an old link from 2009 so I am sure, wink wink, Delta has improved over this one! Much more disturbing, I also came across this story about accidental needle pricks both on aircraft and in airports in general where a 6 year old was accidentally stuck when he found a discarded, used hypodermic needle instead of the toy he had dropped.

So are you now afraid to get on a Delta jet? You should be – a little. Always remember a jet only makes our airline money when it is up in the air. Cleaning, maintenance etc. just cost money. CRJ’s cleaning is most of the time up to the FA and turns can be 20 minutes sometimes. International birds, while cleaned with a crew, are in the air 8-12 hrs and cleaned quickly for the return trip back. Think of how many jobs are outsourced to the lowest price bidder! My suggestion to you is this. Put up with the odd looks. Buy a bunch of 3oz. or less hand sanitizers (be sure to start at Skymiles shopping and then order for in-store pickup and pay with your Delta AMEX for max Skymiles right). Wipe down everything you will touch. NEVER ever go to a bathroom in your socks, put your shoes back on!

One really disgusting personal experience I can tell you about that happened on a trip to Sweden a few years back on a Delta jet. Lisa and I were in coach (yeah, it was before points) and a few rows in front of us a guy was so drunk he could not sit up. You can guess what happened next; yup, he “UP” chucked all over himself and into the aisle. They got him off the flight, put him into a wheel chair on the tarmac, where we could see through the window, he continued to vomit all over the place. It was bad. So, 2 guys in “space suits” came in and sorta cleaned it all up. Now it was all over the seat, the seat in front, uggg, you get the idea. We were already late. This delayed us more. They did not even offer to move the person next to him to 1st, just a few seats over in coach. Slight cleaning later, we fly. I was happy it was 10 rows in front of us. We went to the lavs in back. How often do you think this happens? I hope I have your attention.

Why not end with some photos from the Flyer Talk thread I talked about above! Every single one of these photos are from Delta Air Lines flights. I do apologize if you have not had your breakfast yet  – René


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  1. Rene, anyone sitting next to me who has the audacity to take off their shoes while we are flying in a closed metal tube full of recycled air must pay a price for being that inconsiderate. I will fill your shoes with ice cubes for you to wear when you decide to put your stinky dogs back in your shoes. I am attempting to make this a national program for all frequent fliers. My team has called it the “Delta Dunk”.

    Unknown flyer

  2. @Mark — I hope you mean shoes AND socks. I take off my shoes (not socks) EVERY flight, as do many other passengers. I see nothing wrong with that.

  3. Unless you’re wiping down every single surface that you touch both before and after your flight, I’m not convinced that wiping down everything at your seat will even matter. The modern promotion of the effectiveness of hand sanitizers is exaggerated.

  4. Better yet, bring the Costco disinfecting wipes! We take ’em on every flight, wipe down the tray and armrests. Not a germ-o-phobe, but reasonable (and guilty of changing our ‘precious’ little one on the seat, sorry to say.)

  5. I actually had a woman sitting behind me stick her bare foot through the gap in the seats and proceed to try and push my arm out of way so she could extend her leg.

  6. This seems like a mountain out of a molehill. I’m not planning to lick the tray table. Not a big deal.

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