Does This Take Airline Seat Cleanliness One Step Too Far?

Filed Under: Travel

I consider myself to be a selective germaphobe. I’m probably less extreme about this than I used to be, primarily because with the amount of travel that I do, I’d go nuts if I were constantly thinking how unclean everything around me is. I still wash my hands constantly, but other than that I’ve tried to block out most of my other concerns.

So I still certainly appreciate companies trying to help with making traveling a cleaner experience. Yesterday I got a PR email, and I can’t decide whether this is sort of genius, or just one step too far.

Specifically, I’m talking about Seat Sitters, which is a patented kit that “ensures a clean seat next time you travel.” Here’s how it’s described:

The Seat Sitter kit includes an eco-friendly seat cover, wipes for the tray table and armrests, a tray table placemat and a face mask. On a mission to make airplane travel cleaner & healthier, entrepreneur Gina Hoensheid created this kit out of necessity. She didn’t want one more vacation ruined from the kiddos or her husband getting sick from the airplane travel. Seat Sitters has become a nationwide phenomenon.

This is available on Amazon for $14.99, which seems like a reasonable cost for a reusable seat cover, wipes, and a tray table placemat. But here’s the thing — am I the only one who would feel like an idiot assembling all of this stuff at my seat, especially given how chaotic boarding is?

Also, how effective is this compared to just bringing some anti-bacterial wipes, which is a bit more subtle? Furthermore, where do you draw the line? Do you sit in the gate area without the seat cover? How do you visit the lavatory?

So yeah, while I appreciate the idea behind this, personally this lady is more my vibes:

Anyway, if Seat Sitters wants to expand their business model to another travel brand that’s badly in need of something like this, how about something to deal with the nasty throws that EDITION hotels have? As much as I love EDITION properties, every time I see one of those throws I have to wonder how often they’re washed. I then end up just throwing them on the floor in the corner of the room, which probably makes the situation even worse.

I’m envisioning something like massive tongs, gloves, and a sealable bag that’s otherwise used for police evidence. Oh, and a blacklight, just to reinforce you made the right decision.

Would you use the Seat Sitter?

  1. Saw a similar cover in Biz on Etihad and it covered the IFE on the seat behind, not sure even this one addresses that so only suitable for non IFE seats as per the picture.

    On EY the man behind cut it with his better knife as the lady was just freaky about germs, I think both were a tad excessive in their behaviour but he had every right to be able to view the IFE

  2. I like the idea, but honestly, I would never use it. First I would be embarrassed and second, I never had a problem with dirty seats (and what I don’t see…) 😀
    Greetings from Vienna
    Dorie from

  3. Would use it if I had to fly on disgusting airlines such as BA and the US3 who are saving on cleaning and often have problems with bed bugs.

  4. So I’m the one who wears mask walking into plane and wipes down armrest, headrest, air outlet and side wall next to seat. I wasn’t like that till I saw my family member travelling on oversees flights and exposed to PCV (Respiratory syncytial virus) and almost died. I’m constantly seeing people sneezing into air without covering their face , coughing without covering their face, sneezing into their hands than grabbing stuff,… it scares the hell out of me. Yes, I look idiotic, and hopefully I’m not “offending” anyone. I researched how long viruses are “alive” on hard surface like armrest, seat and found that Cold viruses have been shown to survive on indoor surfaces for approximately seven days. Flu viruses, however, are active for only 24 hours. People underestimate the Cold virus. That thing can put you down for days or weeks depending on your immune system.

  5. Pretty liberal use of the term “nationwide phenomenon” in their write-up/advert. I don’t think that term means what they think it means…

  6. Agree with others that I like the idea but would never use it. Plane seats are GROSS! Doesn’t matter if it’s first class or clash they’re all gross. How ‘bout the airlines just CLEAN THEM??!!

  7. Although I know planes are nasty and I also wonder how clean hotel rooms are I usually close my eyes and ignore what may be where I seat or sleep otherwise I would not leave my house. I have seen people bringing cleaning wipes into planes and fully disinfecting their seats and surrounding areas before they seat. That is ridiculous and disrupts boarding since they are standing there cleaning the area. I also have a friend that takes her full size pillow from home every time she goes to a hotel. She only takes a shower using flip flops and wipes the toilet before she uses it. Really, if I have to do that all the time I sleep at hotels I better stay home.

  8. Wiping down the hard surfaces with a Lysol wipe is fine. You are likely to touch those with your hands and bring them to your face, and viruses can survive on those surfaces. Unlikely that it will make you sick (we have immune systems for a reason), but it is possible. But the seat contacts your clothes primarily. I’m more grossed out by the headrests… European and Asian carriers usually have a disposable cloth to protect that spot, so if you want to wipe that down, fine. But the whole-seat wrap is definitely overkill.

  9. Personally not my thing but would seem to be a good idea for one or two to be stowed on the aircraft by the airlines so they could be used in instances where seat is “soiled” 😉 and no good alternatives are available.

  10. I wouldn’t use the seat cover. Headrests, pillows, blankets, throws, etc., all cause me concern but I have work-arounds to avoid these items. I’m amazed that I rarely get sick with viruses given the amount of travel I do but I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t grossed out by the thought of just how dirty everything is.

  11. How about just having the people who are paid to clean the airplanes do a better job, there is no way you can clean a plane in ten minutes. I have boarded planes that had stuff in the pocket and crumbs in seat, yes I carry my wipes with me and get to wiping

  12. I buy those hospital wipes on Amazon and have a quick go at my surroundings on planes. People usually give me a weird look until they think about it for a second, and once I see their attitude change I offer them one lol. Best not to look at it after you wipe, too.

  13. I would never buy such a thing, this is silly. You’re constantly exposed to germs whenever you are in a public space, and it doesn’t make sense to selectively choose to use protections in some places and never in others based on a biased subjective perception of risk.

    While using wipes seems understandable, I find the idea of covering your seat a bit ridiculous. Germs will not magically penetrate into your body because your back is pressed against a seat. Bringing back home the used seat cover is arguably worse than never using one in the first place…

  14. This reminds of the plastic covers on the sofas of Fran Fine’s mother (The Nanny). hahaha

    People trying to achieve these extremely germ free zones/enviroments is what wrecks our immune systems and we become susceptible to the smallest of infections. No, that mess wouldn’t follow me anywhere.

    Do people actually boil their underwear in hotel kettles? Chrissy Teigen had that thread going on after she mentioned having have boiled broth in a kettle in the hotel she was staying in Seattle.

  15. But seriously, is people boiling underwear in the water kettles in their hotel rooms a thing? Has any of you ever done it?

  16. If I’m paying U$15,00 in something like this, I don’t want an ad of the website from the manufacturer in my product.
    If that’s the case, they should give it for free to people.

  17. As a society we are entirely too obsessed with germs and cleanliness to the point of absurdity .
    A little dirt and germs are good for us…that’s why we have strong healthy immune systems !
    Stop worrying about every little thing , Snowflake !

  18. It is the travellers in shorts and tank tops that I find disgusting. Their sweaty skin is in direct contact with the seat, leaving behind germs and body odour. Perhaps a plastic sheet could be thrown over their seat to protect the rest of us (an to protect the suffering seat). In gyms, we are obliged to use a towel spread over the bench to prevent such contact. In aircraft, where the seat cloth readily absorbs their sweat, the seat remains unprotected. Shame that the airlines do not mandate ‘appropriate clothing’ – something that covers the body parts necessarily in close touch with the seat.

  19. This is a terrific idea. What most posters are missing is that often selfish people who bring their emotional support pets on board let them sit on the seats (where a true service animal should never be). The dander and hair left behind can trigger an allergy attack many days later for someone sitting in that seat, and the allergens will then get on their clothes which will then be brought back home with them. This is very dangerous for an allergic person. Even more so if the airline allows peanuts. Even with deep cleaning some of the allergens may be left behind. I was on an airline recently (La Compagnie) that showed a dog sitting on the seat in a photo. I therefore brought an old sheet with me to cover the seat not knowing if a dog or cat had ever been on that seat and not wanting to have an allergic attack. This is an interesting alternative.

  20. FYI people over 65 have a decreased immune system. And it decreases the older we get. Getting sick after flights is common. Articles and research suggest air in the cabin is replaced by outside air every so often. So cabin air is good. Viruses are mainly carried on trays, arm rests, seat buckles . Use sterile wipes on these and hand sanitizers when you return from the toilet. You cannot exit the toilet without recontamination.

  21. The vast amount of germs and bacteria in any public place is not imaginary and getting exposed to endless amount of it on flights are unavoidable. I used to get a cold after every flight. It’s too many to be not be related to being exposed during a flight. Then I started bringing anti-bacterial wipes after reading an article on how to avoid getting sick on flight and wiping down the seat. It’s also not a coincidence I have not gotten a cold after a flight since then. I forgot to bring the anti-bacterial wipes on an Amtrak trip a few months ago and without fail, got a cold afterwards. I would use the seat cover but carrying around will probably bring the germs home with me. If the airline sells disposable ones on the flight to use during the flight, I’ll buy it.

  22. I agree that this only makes sense if disposable (and there are ecological issues with that)

    @Helena Eva Novak
    I think you have identified how this company should pivot their marketing.
    Sell to airlines for use by people not appropriately dressed.
    “Dress properly or be given a seat cover and a charge of $15”.

  23. Never considered using these products until now. Corona virus is nothing to take lightly. I am currently shopping for disposable seatcovers. The fabric airplane seat is pretty much like bed sheets that are just vacuumed after everyflight.

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