Frequent fliers are familiar with many of the ways your body changes while in a pressurized tube at 40,000 feet: your ears pop, your ability to taste changes, and you may find it harder to put your shoes back on after a flight.
There’s a multitude of tricks to combat the last problem (hello, compression socks) but the best advice may be just to keep your shoes on the whole time, according to flight attendants. The reason has less to do with compression and more to do with cleaning.
“We see people walking from their seats into the bathrooms all the time barefoot and we cringe because those floors are full of germs,” Linda Ferguson, a veteran flight attendant told Reader’s Digest. “Never walk barefoot into the bathroom or the galley area because sometimes we drop glasses and there could be sharp glass there, too."
In the cabin, carpets are only spot-cleaned where necessary. When something (food, beverage, stomach juice) is spilled, cleaning crew will eliminate the stain, but they won’t necessarily disinfect the entire area where germs could have spread.
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Oh, and while we’re discussing germs: The tray tables and armrests are filthy. Don’t put your bare feet up on those — although no passenger should ever do so, out of courtesy to others.
Airplanes: The more you know, the more a hazmat suit seems like the ideal travel outfit.