Why you should never lean against the window to sleep on a plane

If Covid and the past year has taught us anything, it’s just how filthy some of the items we touch everyday really are.

From doorknobs to door handles and even our phones, there’s grime and germs on pretty much everything.

Flight crew uniforms and emblems are generic and are not associated with any particular company
A flight attendant has revealed why you shouldn't fall asleep against the window on a plane. Photo: Getty Images

And now a flight attendant has revealed the place on a plane you should avoid if you want to doze off in your seat.

Speaking to Reader’s Digest, Linda Ferguson, who was a flight attendant for 24 years, said people should try not to fall asleep against the window.

“I see plenty of people carry wipes with them that will wipe the area around their seat,” she said.

“If there was a backlight and they could light up a plane with all the germs, I think it would petrify everybody.

“My rule of thumb, and I never get sick, is I never put my hands in my mouth or near my face.”


However, there are some perks to sitting at the window seat on a plane. Apparently it’s the best place to sit to avoid contact with potential infectious germs.

Researchers at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia found those who were seated in the window in general had less interaction with other passengers – beyond those sitting within two rows of them – which limited their chances of interacting with an infected person, researchers said.

Window seat on a plane
Apparently, plane windows are rife with germs. Photo: Getty Images

Linda also said flight attendants “cringe” when people walk around barefoot on the plane, as the floor is full of germs.

If you do want to minimise the amount of germs invading your personal area in a plane, Linda said she recommends people don’t turn off their air vents.

She said if it’s set to medium or high, “any airborne germs can be blown away before they enter your personal zone”.

And of course, wash your hands with soap and water regularly to eliminate any germs that have settled on your hands.

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