Aviation for Women

JAN-FEB 2018

Aviation for Women is the flagship member publication of Women in Aviation International. Articles feature women who have made aviation history, professional development ideas, and current-topic articles.

Issue link: https://afwdigital.epubxp.com/i/915381

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Page 44 of 52

42 AviationforWomen J A N U A R Y / F E B R U A R Y 2 0 1 8 So Fresh D E V A N A . N O R R I S T here is nothing like a clean, comfort- able hotel room at t he end of a long day. The knowledge that you can drop your things at the door and fall straight into bed, erase the stress of the day by falling asleep on silky sheets, and wake refreshed to the promise of a steamy shower and fluffy clean towels. Well—that would be great, but not al- ways likely. Anyone who travels as much as we do knows that not all hotel rooms are created equal. There can be a huge range in the quality of a room's furnishings and amenities, even among hotels of the same brand name. Some hotels are older, some newer, and some have walls so paper-thin that you can hear your neighbors yawn. Other hotels have walls so thick they can even muffle the sounds of the prom party next door. And of course, not all of them are as scrupulously clean as one might wish. It is always a bonus when you get a comfortable and quiet room (especially with a shampoo that you really like), but I think the priority for all of us is being confident the room we stay in is both very safe and very clean. We like to think the person before us was a fastidious and conscientious room occupant, preferably one who wore socks in the shower and had no bodily functions at all. What we re- ally might be following is a person who only re- la xes "au naturel" and likes to partake in the adult section of the pay-per-view movies. While this is an unsettling thought, it is important to remember that it is not actually an exaggera- tion, and is frankly not even close to the most interestingly icky thing I have heard of. O ver t he ye a r s , I h ave c omp a re d notes with co-workers about the nas- tiest thing we have each encountered in a hotel room. We have also shared the best practical ways to make sure we ourselves are not contaminated by the ick. I have heard epic stories on this topic, a nd some of the things I have personally found in my room would be unbelievable—if I hadn't seen them myself. Since it is impossible to guess how clean a room really is (at least without a UV light), we need to make an effort to protect ourselves from a wide spectrum of possibilities and pathogens. Some people do ignore the potential for per- sonal exposure and just don't think about it, making no attempt at all. Others go into full hazmat mode, carrying wipes, baggies, sprays, and shower shoes, requiring extra towels to drape anything they might touch—including one per- son who explained how they made a terry-cloth walking path between the bed and the bathroom. Personally I tend to be in the middle ground, and am more or less fastidious depending on the room it self. Mold in the shower is a bad sign, but an anti-microbial remote control is a good one. Generally spea king, sheet s a nd towels are freshly laundered and bleached so I rarely worry about them, although I always look for signs of bedbugs just in case. My per- sonal feeling is that the things most likely to be touched and least likely to be cleaned are re- mote controls, doorknobs, and light switches, so that is where I focus my attention. Each of us will need to make our own judg- ment about a given room and its level of pre- paredness, and decide what to do for our own comfort level. Luckily we seem to be on a trend toward ever-cleaner rooms, where there are usually disposable cups available in lieu of us- ing the gla ssware cleaned with actual gla ss cleaner and coverlets layered with fresh linens to replace the questionable quilts. That does not mean it is safe to let our guard down, but rather hotels are keenly aware improvements need to be made. No matter what lengths we go to to mitigate our exposure to germs— or even just things that we find a bit disgusting—at the end of the day there is only so much we can do. Each of us is exposed to hundreds of people every day, so the risks of a single hotel room are probably pretty small. Regardless, it doesn't hurt to take a minute to think about extra steps we can take to protect ourselves just a little bit more. Even if your hotel room will not be surgically sterile you may at least be sparing yourself a serious case of being grossed out—as long as you don't think too much about who did what before they touched that remote. ✈ . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Devan A. Norris, WAI 13890, is a first officer for a major airline on the Boeing 757/767, and an apprentice air show air boss. 6 Tips to Avoid the Icks • Try to avoid using the complimentary hotel items that are touched by countless strangers: cofee maker, ice bucket, remote control, telephone • Wash your hands oŌen • Remove the bedspread • Wear your shoes or socks • Use disposable cups instead of glassware • Pack travel-size Lysol or hand wipes I N T H E P U S H

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