Flights are bad enough without having to endure bad smells, but frustratingly there’s little passengers can do to control who they are sat near on a plane. If another flier has bad body odour or has been sick – what can you do to mask the smell? A cabin crew member has revealed there’s a better option than simply up covering your airways and avoiding the pong. Flight attendant Sarah Steegar told airline forum FlyerTalk that crew have something that will help.
She revealed that a coffee pack is a good way to improve a smelly situation on a plane.
“Consider asking for a coffee pack,” posted Sarah. “It’s isn’t elegant, but it works!
“Here’s a quick side tip: Coffee packs are also great for when someone has been sick in the cabin.”
She also explained that cabin crew are unlikely to take on the chore of dealing with a smelly flier on your behalf unless asked.
Sarah added that if either you or the offending passenger can be moved to a different seat, this will be facilitated.
However, she points out that it’s worth being patient as the smell may dissipate.
“The good news is that four out of five times, offending smells have usually just been ratcheted up by travel stress, regardless of the underlying cause,” she wrote on FlyerTalk.
“If you give the odorous person five to 10 minutes to ‘defluster’ — after they’ve hoisted their suitcase, removing their sweater and had time to sit down — the smell usually settles down.”
If the smell doesn’t go away it is key to make sure the person moves as little as possible.
“My advice is for everyone to work together to keep the person still,” Sarah recommended.
“As a flight attendant, I’d try something like: “Would you like to be covered with a blanket, sir? Don’t move! I’ll just tuck you right in! Right up to your chin… Need something from your suitcase? I beg you, let me get that!’”
“I’m nice and all, but if you ever find me being suspiciously helpful to you? It might be worth asking yourself whether you’ve had a very, very long itinerary…”
If the unpleasant odour is bad enough, a passenger could be asked to leave the plane. However, this will be dependent on their health.
“If odours are due to illness or disability, there’s legally nothing to be done except engage our empathy,” said Sarah.
According to American Airlines’ Conditions of Carriage passengers will be removed “if you have an offensive odour not caused by a disability or illness.”
They will also refuse entry to passengers who “are clothed in a manner that will cause discomfort or offence to other passengers.”
This isn’t the only thing that could get you turned away from boarding a flight.
On Virgin Atlantic you won’t be able to fly if you’ve had a general anaesthetic or dental treatment within 48 hours prior to your flight.