hygienic travel

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 18 November, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 18 November, 2007, 12:00am

With increasing pressure to maximise passenger capacity and minimise on-ground waiting time, aircraft are dirtier than ever and cleaning staff often only manage a cursory wipe-down to remove the most obvious dirt. If the thought of what lurks down the sides of an aircraft seat or the microbiological party underway on the tray table worries you, stock up on a few travel-friendly hygiene products.

PlaneSheets (below centre, www.planesheets.com; from US$12.99 for two) are available in machine-washable fabric or as disposable covers and fit over the airline seat, while still allowing access to the seatbelt.

Deal with the problem of unsanitary washrooms with your own discreet mini-toilet set (www.magellans.com; US$6.85 for 10 envelopes). Each slim envelope contains one sturdy toilet seat cover, a generous supply of tissues and a pre-moistened towelette. Frequent travellers could also stock up on Magellan's generously sized anti-bacterial wipes (20 per pack, two per order; US$4.85) and PlaneWrap disposable slippers (US$9.85), for use during flights or after removing shoes at airport security.

Although there is no scientific evidence that the recirculation of air in aircraft cabins increases the spread of illnesses, some travellers choose to wear a well-fitting face mask for protection. One of the most effective is the N95 mask (www.aero-san.com; US$2.85 each), which contains a filter designed to safeguard against 95 per cent of small particles and droplets.

Worried about blankets? The same website has a super-soft 127cm by 168cm personal travel blanket (US$15.99), which neatly packs away in a drawstring bag.