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13 Totally Normal Things You Should Never Do On An Airplane

While flying is the safest form of transportation, it's not exactly anybody's favorite.

After standing in line for hours you wind up stuck in a metal tube full of recycled air. But as bad as that is, flight attendants say doing any of these 13 normal things will make your flight even worse.

1. Eating food off your tray table

Believe it or not, that little plastic tray is the single germiest surface in the entire plane. The tray table surface actually has almost 10 times more germs than the flush button in the plane's bathroom.

The reason is simple: these things are only wiped down once a day, at most. That means you could be swapping germs with two or more passengers from earlier in the same day. Ew! Put a napkin down, at least.

2. Wearing contact lenses

If your eyesight is that bad, it's better to bring along your old pair of glasses than wear your contacts on the plane. The air in the cabin is so dry it will irritate your eyes, especially with the lenses in.

Plus, people tend to fall asleep on long flights, and that's a bad idea with your contact lenses in. For your own comfort, leave them at home.

3. Putting ice cubes in your drink

Tell the steward you'd prefer your drink without them. You'll thank us later.

A 2004 EPA study found that only 15% of aircraft water supplies passed health standards. While most airlines stopped serving tap water as drinking water following the report, that dirty water is still used to make ice cubes. It's also used for cooking, which explains a lot about airline food.

4. Falling asleep before takeoff or landing

We invite you to catch up on your sleep while in the air, but wait until you're really in the air. While you change altitude, the air pressure in your ears adjusts to the new height. You need to keep your mouth open and moving to help them adjust painlessly.

If you fall asleep, you're more likely to get a headache from the pressure change. Chew gum until you're in the air or on the ground, just to be safe.

5. Drinking wine or beer

Alcohol lowers your immune system, which is already under siege when you're crammed onto a plane full of people. Plus, it's twice as effective at a high altitude, which means you'll get loaded before you realize it.

6. Drinking coffee or tea

While coffee and tea are a little healthier for you, they're both made from that gross airplane tap water we mentioned earlier. Even if it's been boiled, we wouldn't want to take a chance by drinking it.

7. Not drinking enough water

We realize you're getting mixed signals, but while you should go easy on the liquor it's still important to stay hydrated. Flight attendants know to drink 16 ounce of water on each flight, and even more on international hauls.

If you don't follow their lead, the cabin's low humidity and thin air (equal to as much as 5,000 feet in the air) will wipe you out.

8. Walking around barefoot

Flight attendants say they've seen everything from vomit to blood hit the carpet, and as we've discussed it doesn't always get a full cleaning before your flight. Some even worry about bits of broken glass getting stuck in the carpet.

Plus, most people are walking to the bathroom when they tiptoe barefoot down the aisle, and that's a bad idea. It's just too gross to touch with your bare skin. Which reminds us...

9. Touching anything in the bathroom

While your tray table is the single germiest surface on the plane, the combined total of the bathroom's surfaces give it a run for its money. Experts recommend keeping your hands to yourself, and using toilet paper when you touch the flush button.

10. Drinking soda

Sorry, here's one more beverage that's off limits.

The reason is that in a plane's cabin, pressure changed can cause the gas in your body to expand by up to 25 percent. Add in the fizzy soda and you can start to feel seriously bloated and queasy. Trust us: stick to bottled water.

11. Sitting down for the whole flight

There's a certain kind of blood clot in your legs called a deep vein thrombosis (DVT). It's so common on long airplane flights that it has been dubbed "economy class syndrome."

All you need to do to protect yourself is get up and move around. Walk down the aisle (with your shoes on), get up and stretch, or even just lift your knees a few times.

12. Using the blankets

You guessed it: they're not running these through a rinse cycle between flights. At most, the stewardess will refold one after a long flight, before handing it right over to you.

13. Turning off your air vent

For decades, people have debated whether or not it's safer to leave your vent on. Some worry the vent is just blowing out gross, recycled air, while others say it makes the cabin more comfortable.

In fact, science says the small jet of air keeps germs away from your seat. Nobody wants to step off the plane feeling woozy, so don't turn your vent off.

Keep these in mind on your next flight!

I write about all sorts of things for Shared, especially weird facts, celebrity news, and viral stories. CONTACT: zachary@shared.com