United Still Working on that Whole “Clean Plane” Thing


I had hoped to have a trip report ready to go today, but I think it may require the weekend before that’s ready. So instead, let’s talk about United’s promise to deep clean their planes more often. That promise back in August said it would happen over the course of 2007, but after my fiancee’s experience yesterday, I think they need to work on their basic cleaning techniques first.

Her flight was delayed yesterday due to what appeared to be aircraft availability issues. They ended up using a plane that came from Chicago that, while arriving on time, still got to the gate only nine minutes before the scheduled Orlando departure. They tried to get things moving and they even boarded first class while they held off on coach so that the “cleaners could finish onboard.” Ok, sounds good.

So imagine her surprise when she saw this:

07_10_18 dinnerroll

Yup, that’s a dinner roll wedged between the armrest and the side of the plane. Really, this brings so many questions to mind.

Why did these so-called “cleaners” not remove the dinner roll?

How long has that thing been there?

Regardless, if it hasn’t touched the ground, does the 7 second rule still apply or is it still fair game?

Why would someone even put the dinner roll there in the first place? Trying to save some for later?

More importantly, where the heck did they find a dinner roll and how can we get one on our next United flight?

As if that’s not enough, she said there was an unidentified brown substance smeared on the ceiling. Now that’s classy.

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16 comments on “United Still Working on that Whole “Clean Plane” Thing

  1. Are we sure it’s a dinner roll? Perhaps it’s a bun from a White Castle hamburger. It has the same shape.

  2. It’s probably been stuck there for four years since the last time United had a meal in coach. They’ll catch it during the next c-check of the plan.

  3. Seriously, gross. Finding old food on public transport is one of my pet hates. Now I grin and bear it on the bus, figuring I’ve only spent $1 and vowing to never do it again. But when I spend a significant amount of cash on a flight you expect a slightly better standard than your local bus. Again, gross.

  4. As my dad was a pilot for United until his retirement, it saddens me that United has become what it is. While flying to Hawaii with my husband, I couldn’t believe the interior of their aircraft. The outside paint is so deceiving. It didn’t take long for us to figure out that our seats had no cushion left in them. I swear they must have been the same seat cushions that were there 20 years ago. And the flight attendants either absolutely hated their jobs or hated their passengers. Makes for such a fine flying experience! Anyways, I feel horribe saying it, as I grew up with United as an integral part of my life, but whenever I can avoid flying United Airlines, I do. I’ve given them too many chances, hoping they can prove themselves to be the airline that I remember, but every time I’m left almost embarrassed by what they have become.

  5. Avoid Continental at all costs as they put you at risk to getting sick. We departed Anchorage and We were in Seattle for a quick stop and they said not to get off as it was a quick turn and there was a kid who got sick and barfed on the carpet at the bathroom door right in front of us. The cleaning crew guy was on and I told him and he turns and says “looks like Dad has it under control” as the father was using some paper towels to clean it up. So he goes on his marry way with no power or spray to put on the spot, so my wife and I tell the Flight Attendant and she is like OK I will tell someone and gets on the phone. I think she called the Pilot and next thing people are coming on and soon we are departing and they did nothing. So the next Flight Attendant comes bye and I tell her about my Transplant and that I am immunosupressed and she is like well we already left and I ask her do you have some spray or something? Nope. So we get to Houston and tell the people there and they are like sorry why don’t you call SEA and talk to this guy in charge of the cleaning crews and gives us a number. I was totally grossed out. I even was feeling sick and not wanting to breath all the way from Seattle to Houston. So then when I got to Orlando my bags were there earlier as I had a longer layover to spend time with wife as she was going to San Antonio and I had to ask the Continental bag lady to get my bag and told her what happened and she said they should have sprayed it with a stuff they have that kills germs. They have it incase of someone getting cut too as it kills all bacteria. I guess it is in schools and hospitals too. She also gave me the 1-800 number to “WE CARE” the Continental hotline and said to tell them and that you may look to another airline as you are going to be going there a lot now that the baby is there. So I called last night and when I got done explining everything the chick asks me, “Did you get to your destination?” I said Yes and she said, “Well what is the problem then?” I was shocked and she said there is nothing they can do so I am going to write the CEO and might even write to one of those travel magazines that helps people and see if they can at a minimum get me an apology and maybe a credit otherwise I will fly Delta or Northwest from now on…What a crock? Do you think I am worng in being mad? I sent a registered letter to the CEO and will see what response I get…I will post it back here for all to see if they step up to the plate or not…

  6. I could never say you’re wrong in being mad. If you’re mad, you’re mad. Now, the question I can’t answer is whether what they did was something for which they should send you compensation. Without knowing all sides of the story, it’s tough for me to pass judgment here. It sounds like someone should have taken charge and apologized to you, but that may or may not include compensation.

  7. Puke doesn’t have germs really. It may look gross, smell gross, BE gross, but the pH of the stomach is super acidic, and kills most microbes. Other than that, it’s just wet food, which will grow stuff after a few hours, but nothing more than what’s in the air already.

  8. Oh my god…I just choked on my sip of water when I saw that picture!!! I’ve seen my share of pretzel bits and peanuts stuck in the most bizarre seat parts, but a dinner roll wedged against the arm rest is the best yet. Priceless!!
    I’ve taken to carrying a travel pack of handi-wipes with me and wiping down the arm rests and tray tables as soon as I’m seated. Sure I’ve had some strange looks…but they’re usually followed by the person turning their gaze to their own tray table with an uneasy expression.

    Worse than leftover food, however, were the human hairs I saw wedged between the window’s two layers of double-pane plexiglass. My best guess is that some previous inhabitant of the window seat was bored and fed them through that little pinhole opening on the inside of the window, piece by piece. I didn’t bother saying anything because let’s face it…if the “cleaning” crew can’t see a 4×4″ dinner roll, they’re sure as heck not going to spot entombed human hair.

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