Disgusting hidden life of seat-back pockets

If you have thought about seat-back pockets on planes at all, it’s only because they usually hold the onboard menu and barf bags.

Sure, there is also the safety guide, but who reads that?

Another often ignored fact about the seat-back pocket is that they are usually the filthiest part of the plane after the toilet floor.

We are all about avoiding germs when flying these days, and one of the best ways you can ensure you’re not carrying any unwelcome bug when you reach your destination is to avoid that seat-back pocket, well, like the plague.

On AskReddit, contributor and long-haul flight attendant HausOfDarling said people should ‘never, ever’ use or put anything in the seat-back pocket.


“They are cleared of rubbish but are never ‘cleaned’,” they said.

Which tracks, because they would be difficult to clean, even if it was a requirement. They are either some sort of weird, folded material or webbing, not the ideal easy-to-wipe surface that facilitates a good scrubbing.

“I have pulled out and seen all sorts been pulled out from there,” HausOfDarling said.

“Dirty tissues, sick bags, knickers, socks, people’s feet, gum, half-sucked sweets, apple cores … and then next flight you go and put your phone/laptop/iPad in there.”

And if you are wondering about ‘people’s feet’, well people aren’t leaving whole feet in there, HausOfDarling said people often curl up in the foetal position to sleep and tuck their feet into the pocket. Euuwww.

Often people are disgusting – I’ve seen people put used nappies in there – but often they are just trying to do the right thing.

You’ve got a bit of rubbish, say a napkin left over from a meal, and tucking it away in the seat-back pocket is just a way of tidying up. But if that napkin has food scraps on it and the pocket is ‘never, ever’ cleaned then you have a problem.

What can you do?

Sanitiser wipes are the easy answer. Give in to your inner obsessive personality and shamelessly give everything a swipe, not just the pocket. Wipe the headrest, tray table – people will also change their babies here – touch screen, armrests, headrests and seats.

And don’t stop there, take a few wipes into the toilet and wipe everything you will touch there as well.

Keep going. You can take it to the next level and buy a pocket insert, you can even buy antibacterial ones for the particularly particular flyer.

As you can imagine, these slot into the pocket and the choice is as varied as your requirements.

There are kids’ ones, pockets with many other pockets, pockets that can double as a stand for your laptop and pockets that can double up as backpacks.

HausOfDarling also urges people to always wear shoes into the toilets.

“I promise you, nine times out of 10, that is not water on the floor,” they said.

Thanks, now I’m off to the supermarket to buy my weight in antibacterial wipes. Happy travels.

Are you concerned about catching a ‘bug’ on your holiday? What are your tactics to stay healthy? Why not share your tips in the comment section below?

Also read: Make a clean break on your holiday with these cleaning tips

Jan Fisher
Jan Fisherhttp://www.yourlifechoices.com.au/author/JanFisher
Accomplished journalist, feature writer and sub-editor with impressive knowledge of the retirement landscape, including retirement income, issues that affect Australians planning and living in retirement, and answering YLC members' Age Pension and Centrelink questions. She has also developed a passion for travel and lifestyle writing and is fast becoming a supermarket savings 'guru'.
- Our Partners -


- Advertisment -
- Advertisment -