Aircraft Blankets: Clean or Not? (aka “What’s Grosser Than Gross?”)

The following question about aircraft blankets was tweeted at me a few days ago:

So I asked American Airlines what their procedure is.

Here’s what they said:

We have verified that AA does not ever fold a blanket, and we do not ever place used blankets or pillows back into a sealed wrapper. We have procedures to replace these used items with fresh ones throughout our system and throughout the course of an aircraft’s flying day.

For example, here at DFW such used items are pulled from an aircraft by our contractors and sent to an industrial cleaning facility in South Arlington. They in turn launder these, seal and re-supply our inventory.

This is all contractual and there is oversight to ensure procedures are adhered to.

(Emphasis mine.)

It’s a disgusting story. And we all find it pretty easy to believe gross stories about the airlines.

But in this case, at least with regard to American Airlines procedures, it appears not to be true. And in my own experience with American’s sealed blankets, they’ve always seemed to me to be fresh.

I rate this one as false.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. Patrick Smith said exactly the same thing on his recent “Ask The Pilot” blog post. I am pretty sure the entire thing came from an anonymous Reddit post that ended up on the Huffington Post.

    I rank Reddit below even Uber in terms of Internet-enabled nonsense. That it made it onto an actual news show without any fact checking, that’s crazy.

  2. You can’t believe everything you read on the internet or from news outlets. Especially the Huffington Post or Reddit.

  3. If the bag is sealed, it should be fine. – It’s those that are not sealed are the ones you (obviously) have to worry about. Don’t touch those! It might sound obvious to those on here, but you’d be surprised the amount of people that grab blankets that aren’t sealed. No thanks.

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