There are plenty of important things to worry about at the moment — climate change, threats to democracy, did Harry Styles really spit on Chris Pine.
But a fascinating discussion has erupted on social media about increasingly filthy aircraft.
One recent TikTok video shows the carpet of a Ryanair plane covered with potato chip crumbs.
A Facebook video, meanwhile, shows a cloud of particles billowing after a passenger bangs a seat on a Qantas flight.
According to the New York Times, these social-media posts have sparked an online debate “about whether flight crew or passengers carry the responsibility for messes.”
“Early in the pandemic, most airlines committed to extensive sanitation measures,” the paper reported. “These promises gradually faded away for reasons based on cost, inconvenience and science.”
Be that as it may, it’s striking that there’s now controversy over whose job it is to keep things tidy during and after air travel.
Some passengers seem to think flight crews and maintenance staff are responsible for cabin cleanliness.
True, say airline workers, but that doesn’t mitigate the role passengers play in disposing of trash.
“Some passengers treat planes like sports stadiums by throwing food on the floor,” the Times reported, characterizing the position of flight attendants.
“The entitlement is unreal,” it quoted Nastassja Lewis, a flight attendant and activist, as saying. “What is so hard about discarding your trash?”
But she’s right: We live in remarkably entitled — and selfish — times, and many people seem to think bad behavior is perfectly fine (as long as you’re the one behaving badly, not anyone else).
Allow me to politely settle this debate.
Yes, airlines are responsible for keeping their planes clean and sanitized, especially at a time when the coronavirus is a thing (which, sorry folks, is still the case).
At the same time, we don’t need to be slobs.
Keep your personal space in order on flights. And when the attendant comes around with a trash bag, for goodness sake throw away your garbage.
Leaving messes for others isn’t just disrespectful. It’s gross.
Oh, and keep your shoes and socks on, and your bare feet off seats and arm rests.