7 things you should never do on an airplane

You could potentially experience loud passengers, cramped seats and a germ-infested aircraft

Food & Travel Desk February 17, 2017

You're all booked and prepared to take your dream vacation and while that may be good news, the bad news is that you could potentially experience loud passengers, cramped seats, crying babies and a germ-infested aircraft before you arrive at your destination.

While you may know the basic tips for travelling in comfort -- carrying earplugs, your own pillow and wearing comfortable clothing -- we went through some expert travel advice to tell you the seven things you should never do on a flight.

1. Eat something after it has fallen on the tray table


Just don't do it! More often than not, tray tables are not sterilised well enough between flights. When an investigative team took samples from random surfaces on an aircraft, most of the harmful bacteria was found on tray tables. “The tray table is notorious,” said Stephen Morse, professor of epidemiology at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health. Ferguson adds that tray tables are usually only wiped down once a day, when the plane goes into an overnight station. Flight attendants have also witnessed people using tray tables for changing baby diapers or as a foot rest. So unless you have your own antibacterial wipes and disinfectant, it's best to let that crumb get away.

2. Remain in your seat for the entirety of your flight


Due to low air pressure in the aircraft, your blood circulation can slow down and result in blood clots. It also increases the risk of deep vein thrombosis (DVT), which is a type of blood clot that usually forms in your legs. To prevent this from occurring, it is imperative to walk around for a few minutes each hour or exercise in your seat by alternately bringing your legs up to your chest. Also avoid wearing tight clothing which will contribute to reduced circulation in-flight.

3. Fall asleep against the window


If you have your head pressed against the window, chances are, hundreds of passengers have done it before you. There's no knowing how many people have sneezed, breathed and coughed against the same window that you plan to doze off on. It's often difficult to find a comfortable position to fall asleep in during a flight and while resting your head on the window may be the most comforting, you're just setting yourself up to breathe in a lot of germs.

4. Walk around bare foot


Though it may be more comfortable to slip your shoes off, doing so is a big no. The floors of an aircraft have been graced with everything from spilled food, vomit, blood and other germs not visible to the eye. Flight attendants have also said that they may have dropped glasses near the gallery area so sharp glass could lead to an injury. If it's a must for you to take your shoes off for your journey, then at least slip them back on for bathroom runs.

5. Use the provided blankets


Not only do your tray tables not get a thorough clean, but the blankets provided by the airline are most often recycled between flights. Blankets and pillows make for an ideal breeding ground for germs, food debris and lice and usually aren't washed until the day is over. People wrap their feet in blankets, sneeze and cough onto them so using them is best avoided.

6. Turn off the air vents above your seat


It may become a chilly journey by leaving the air vents on throughout your journey but by doing so, you're ensuring that any airborne germs can be blown away before they enter your personal vicinity. It is recommended that air pressure be set to medium or high which could also protect your skin from drying out.

7. Fall asleep when it's daytime in your final destination


Dozing off when it's daytime in your final destination will make it harder to adjust to its time zone. Doing so will make the jet lag worse and it will take longer to adjust to the time zone. Experts advise to change your watch to reflect the time zone of where you are travelling to and adjust your activities accordingly. If your watch says it's past your bedtime then it's okay to get some shut eye, even if it's not dark outside.

Curated with excerpts from Cosmopolitan and Reader's Digest .