Flying the Smelly Skies

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C. J. Bostic, a flight attendant at Southwest Airlines for 35 years, has learned to spot trouble before it happens. "You have to keep a sharp eye if you see a lady going to the bathroom with a baby," she said. A diaper ditched in the lavatory trash will make its presence known three or four cities later.

That's just one of several "Ew" moments in a New York Times story looking at the filthy state of air travel these days. Airlines, cutting back on costs, cut back on both providing food to passengers and cleaning services. The latter becomes particularly relevant when all those hungry passengers start bringing their own food on the plane and stashing leftover in various places.

Not exactly great marketing. And airlines, if a bit belatedly, are getting that: "If the seat has crumbs in it, then you're probably not doing your engine maintenance — that's how people think," said James F. Whitehurst, Delta's chief operating officer.