Naomi Campbell’s pre-flight sanitising routine went viral last week, and for good reason. Pulling out a pair of plastic gloves (which were carefully zip-locked in a separate part of her LV tote), the 49-year-old supermodel proceeded to wipe down every surface, nook and nozzle of her plane seat with Dettol wipes, a sure-fire win for the disinfectant’s marketing team and a middle finger to the dreaded flu.
Campbell, who was flying from Nice to Doha in Burberry pyjamas, cleaned absolutely everything; her seatbelt, the TV screen, the TV remote, her window and, notably, her business class tray table. “This is what I do on every plane I get on,” she said in a video uploaded to her YouTube channel. “I do not care what people think of me. It’s my health and it makes me feel better.”
She’s got the right idea. In a 2015 study, a microbiologist collected samples from four flights to calculate the total number of bacteria per square inch on a commercial flight. Interestingly, the spot on the plane that was actually dirtier than the flush button in the bathroom was the tray table.
The study showed the setback trays in each seat housed eight times more bacteria than any surface in the actual bathroom. Yes, while the plane may be vacuumed, flight attendants do not have time to clean every tray table in between flight schedules.
Campbell didn’t miss a spot. She even got the overhead air vent which, according to the same study, also possessed a high reading of bacteria per square inch. Since each passenger prefers a different setting of airflow, the nozzle is in constant contact with human hands.
Once she was done with her gloves and Dettol wipes, Campbell pulled out her own seat cover, one she hand-washes at every hotel she goes to. She tucks her seat cover into every inch of the seat. Finally, she put on a mask to protect herself from other people’s sicknesses.
“No matter what plane you take – private [jet] or commercial – as the plane descends people start coughing and sneezing. And the coughing and sneezing makes me… I just can’t,” she tells the camera. And honestly, I just can’t with this whole routine – but, I also will. Because Naomi Campbell flies so often and never gets sick.
“As much as I travel, I should get so much more with colds and stuff and I’m blessed that I don’t. And I really think that this helps me, my little routine.”
Campbell also packed a “hydration” pack. But we think our beauty editor’s in-flight short-list is a little bit better and a lot more accessible.
DID YOU KNOW? A study conducted in September 2018 showed plastic trays at airport security check-points are also a breeding ground for bacteria. Scientists from the University of Nottingham in England and the Finnish National Institute for Health and Welfare swabbed several surfaces inside Helsinki Airport in Finland during winter. On half the luggage trays, traces of the common cold and Influenza A virus were found. None of these viruses were detected on toilet surfaces at the airport. So what did Naomi Campbell teach us today? Pack the Dettol.
GRAZIA’s Creative Director Dané Stojanovic tested Campbell’s routine on a recent business class Emirates flight to Nice, France. He wasn’t as thorough as the supermodel.
Campbell’s response to Stojanovic: