Recent events might make it more difficult for some people to feel comfortable when they fly these days.
Both Delta and Coca-Cola are now apologizing after the two companies teamed up to create and distribute “plane crush” napkins for flights, encouraging passengers to flirt and exchange phone numbers.
The napkins — which gained prominence on Delta flights in January, according to various Twitter users — urged people to “be a little old school. Write down your number and give it to your plane crush. You never know …”
On the back of the napkins, there was a spot for passengers to write down their name and number for their “crush.”
Not everyone loved the idea, however.
Hey @Delta and @CocaCola These napkins are creepy AF. Pretty sure no one appreciated unsolicited phone numbers in the ‘good old days’ and they sure as heck don’t want the number of someone who has been gawking at them on a plane for hours today. Not a good look. pic.twitter.com/PJAiurFRMh
— ducksauz (@ducksauz) January 21, 2019
— Mike J (@MJJoe) February 1, 2019
Delta and Coke should absolutely be ashamed of this napkin. Telling passengers that their planes are full of interesting people? Bald faced lie. pic.twitter.com/FUdfCsYFRR
— Justin Searls (@searls) February 8, 2019
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Since the reaction to the napkins was, well, less than perfection, the companies issued apologies via statements reported to CNN and other outlets.
On Thursday, The Coca-Cola Company said, “We sincerely apologize to anyone we may have offended. We worked with our partners at Delta to begin removing the napkins last month and are replacing them with other designs.”
Delta added, “We rotate Coke products regularly on our aircraft as part of our brand partnership, but missed the mark with this one. We are sorry for that.”
Fox News contributor Raymond Arroyo weighed in on the napkins issue on “The Ingraham Angle” during the “Friday follies” segment on Friday night.
“Some were outraged by this,” he said. “People tweeted they thought it was creepy. One woman said she felt stigmatized and pressured. Eventually Delta and Coke apologize. Does this offend you at all? I don’t mind this, but people were upset.”
Fox News host Laura Ingraham agreed the napkins were harmless, saying, “What is the big deal? You are close to other people on a plane anyway. So you might as well if there’s someone interesting.”
Using blankets on airplanes is also an area in which some people may not feel comfortable anymore, with many reports out discussing the cleanliness — or lack of — of these items.
The common theme is that blankets on flights are reused on several occasions before being washed, as Travel + Leisure magazine pointed out.
Sara Keagle, a HuffPost blogger and founder of TheFlyingPinto.com, covered the subject in December 2017. She claimed that clean blankets were only supplied by airlines on the first flight of the day. She said on the rest of the flights, blankets are simply refolded and reused.
She also said tray tables are cleaned overnight but not between flights.
The Wall Street Journal reported this sentiment back in 2008 as well; its report said many airlines wash their blankets only once every five to 30 days, meaning they could go an entire month without cleaning it.
A reddit user going by the screen name melhow44 explained this was true in his or her experience as a flight attendant.
“I worked for Southwest as a flight attendant,” the user wrote. “Those blankets and pillows? Yeah, those just get refolded and stuffed back in the bins between flights. Only fresh ones I ever saw were on an originating first flight in the morning in a provisioning city. Also, if you have ever spread your peanuts on your tray and eaten, or really just touched your tray at all, you have more than likely ingested baby poo. I saw more dirty diapers laid out on those trays than food. And those trays, yeah, never saw them cleaned or sanitized once.”
Since airplanes are not the cleanest places, Ingraham said she plans accordingly.
“Raymond and I and the staff travel a lot,” she said. “We bring Lysol wipes. People look at us and ask, ‘Can you wipe my seat, too?’ I’m happy to, but I don’t work on the plane.”
Arroyo offered this advice for people the next time they fly: “Avoid the blankets. Just don’t touch any of them. Wear your hazmat suit.”
Tom Joyce is a freelance writer from the South Shore of Massachusetts. He covers sports, pop culture, and politics and has contributed to The Federalist, Newsday, and other outlets.