Flights: Flight attendant reveals how coffee is used to disguise bad smells on planes

Flights: An ex-flight attendant reveals how coffee can be used to disguise smells on board (Image: Getty Images)

Cabin crew work long hours on busy flights filled with people, and it is their job to not only keep the passengers safe but to also ensure they have an enjoyable experience onboard. A former flight attendant revealed an everyday item which, if spotted, could signal something smelly.

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The ex-cabin crew member shared the secret on a Reddit forum, and it might make you think twice next time you see this item.

The anonymous flight attendant said: “Often we’d have someone on board with terrible body odour.

“You can set the temperature in one end of the cabin hotter and it localised the smell to one part of the plane.

“If you see coffee filter bags hanging anywhere its because someone smells somewhere on the plane.”

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Indeed, flight attendants have been known to have coffee filter bags close to the toilets for a similar reason.

The flight attendant adds that it may not completely eradicate the smell, but it will make it “smell more like coffee”.

Indeed, coffee grounds can be used on many occasions to neutralise odours.

Angela Brown, House Cleaning Guru from, explained on a Quora post why coffee is so effective in this instance.

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She said: “Coffee grounds emit a strong odour and can overpower or neutralise other strong odours like garlic, onions, puke, animal urine and dead animals.

“Some people swear by using coffee to remove smells.”

However, it isn’t just bad smells from passengers that can send a shiver down the spines of the cabin crew.

Flying with hundreds of people regularly, they witness plenty of foul behaviours.

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Another flight attendant explained on Reddit that they have seen passengers doing very unhygienic things with their tray tables.

They wrote: ”People frequently do disgusting things on their tray tables (I’ve seen people change diapers, clip toenails and wipe boogers to name a few), though these discoveries pale in comparison to human faeces under a seat.”

This is why travellers are urged to wipe down their tray table with antibacterial wipes and be sure not to eat food directly off the plastic surface.

Flight attendant Jamila Hardwick told Inside Edition that the tray tables are, in reality, rarely clean.

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“Oh my gosh, this is disgusting,” Ms Hardwick said.

“When cleaners come on they don’t have time to wipe down every individual tray.”

This means that remnants of prior passenger behaviour could be left on your tray table, even if you can’t see it.

Ms Hardwick explained that this is why cleaning wipes are so vital, saying: “Please bring them on, please clean off your trays before you put anything on here.”