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how to cover airplane seats when traveling by air? [2021 guide]


How do you cover airplane seats whilst traveling by air?

Now that is the million dollar question my friends! Time to answer it below.

Not sure if you got the memo, but golly gee traveling is kinda unknowingly dangerous nowadays. 

But the conversation no one is really having which is plaguing my mind night and day is..well, exactly which of all the gazillion surfaces we encounter during our travels are free of germs or not?! I don't know about you my fellow quasi Type-A readers, but if I can't control everything, I sure as heck want to at least control my in-flight experience. Which got me wondering last week: how do we cover airplane seats for our upcoming travels??

Today is your lucky day! Because I have invested hours of research into first seeing if airline seat covers are necessary then learning how to use airplane chair covers in order to bring you the best updated advice, and below I will be breaking this down for you in step-by-step how to guide for how to cover chairs in airplanes so you can win back just a tad more comfort during these uncertain times. Don't let anything come between you and your Snickers...ahem, I mean European travel plans!

It shall go without saying, whenever you travel, be sure to adapt to all the necessary precautions to keep yourself safe from obnoxious, mutating diseases floating about. 

With this pandemic of Covid-19 around the world, where you cannot see the virus, it means the virus and all its little unruly cousins (talking to you Delta!!) can attack you anytime, anywhere. 

So to stay safe from the coronavirus, I personally believe you absolutely must install airplane chair covers on your seats while traveling

But it begs the question, "Do airlines even allow seat covers?

The answer is yes sweet friend. And I am so gosh darn pissed at my friends and family who know how much of a germaphobe I am (since circa '97 yall, covid didnt do this to me....roadtrip gas station bathrooms did...eww) and no one had the nerve to tell me there has already been an entire industry build around covering airline seats!

Umm, excuse me? Say whaaa!

So please be a good friend to your OCD bff's and let them know there is a solution to flight germs!

The airlines want to protect their customers. They will not stop you from installing your airplane seat covers. And this is where control for you and I again, finally begins.

Now on to the juicy bits!

Do you know how to cover airplane seats? 

If no, then worry not. I've got you covered. I got your front and your back! See what I did there. Plus, some of us also want to protect our precious traveling wardrobes! Check out my step-to-step guide below about installing nice seat covers for airplane chairs. 

By the way, after a lot of frantic yet obsessive and borderline fascinating research, I've discovered there are several airline seat cover brands and tons of chair + headrest covers available in the market. From disposable to machine washable, sustainable to downright bad for the planet and everything in between. So much so I had to go above and beyond and narrow down the plethora of options for you in a handy BEST OF airline seat covers list you can find right here.

In addition, just keep in mind there are washable airplane seat covers and airplane disposable seat covers. This is the most important deciding factor for my discerning fellow travelers like yourself. You can choose any flight seat cover according to your choice and wishes, and if your OCD is a bit further along the pendulum than mine, getting rid of germs immediately and never seeing them near you again may ring higher in priority than saving the planet and cutting down on plastic waste. For which, I absolutely will not judge. And of course include those options in that airplane seat accessories roundup for you. #gotyoback


Step-by-step guide about how to cover airplane seats:

Let's cut right to the chase and go over how to do this quickly + easily.

Step 1: Covering front seat of the chair

  • Remove the headrests of the chair if removable.
  • If your airline chair has removable hand rests, then you should remove those hand rests too.
  • Cover the front of the airline seat with your washable airplane seat covers. Make sure to align the designs properly.
  • The airbag tag of your seat cover should match on the location of the airbag of the seat if appropriate to the design.
  • Once your cover is perfectly fit, connect the cover's straps so that the cover should not move and stays in place duration of flight, even during turbulence.
  • Insert the hand rests and headrests back onto your seat, if applicable.

Step 2: Covering rear backrest of the chair

  • Remove the headrests of the chair.
  • Pull out the seat belts to avoid the covering on them.
  • Cover the backrest with disposable airplane seat covers made especially for the headrest section, if you have them.
  • Push the straps from the bottom.
  • Tie the straps from the backside of the seat for a perfect fitting.
  • Now, connect all the loops with the help of clips as per your particular item's design.

Step 3: Covering the bottom bench of the seat (optional)

  • Find out the cover of the bottom bench of the seat.
  • Lift the seat (if possible). The installation will be easy.
  • Cover the bottom of the seat with your disposable seat covers. If your seat covers have zips, then the zips will open from top to bottom.
  • If you have installed the covers, tie the straps to secure them.
  • Hide all the straps under the seat.
  • Push in the seat cover using a thin and hard thing into the seat, such as a card.

Step 4: Adjust your headrest

  • All seat covers have holes for the insertion of the headrests. If you do not find the holes, check the installation of the seat cover manufacturer or brand instructions. Each brand is different. If it is correct, make two holes with the help of scissors on the points of insertion of headrests to help you make this easier.
  • Insert the headrest into its place and cover the headrest with its washable cover.
  • Tie up the straps of the headrest cover so that it can be placed in one place.

Step 5: Seat belts of the seat

  • All seat covers have holes for the insertion of the seat belts. If you do not find the holes, check the installation of the seat cover. If it is correct, make one hole with the help of scissors on the points of insertion of the seat belt.
  • Ensure that the seat belts are not under the cover.
  • Make a hole for the buckle of the seat belt and fasten your seat belt.

Now this may sound like it takes a bit of time, but remember this is a written guide to give you an eagle eye view of the airline seat covers and headrest covers. In actuality, I promise this is as simple as 1,2,3 when you are actually standing in front of the evil airplane chair; gripping your small and mighty yet powerful seat cover that will protect all your sensitive body parts on your way to the gorgeous riviera. It's worth the few minutes don't you think!

Now you know how to cover airplane seats with washable airplane seat covers! Are you going to try this for your next trip abroad

Tell me below in the comments!


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Letitia Elizabeth is the author of EUROPE NOMAD, the travel blog for daydreaming fellow travelers who love cheap countries in Europe, beautiful countrysides, and magical quality of life. Here you'll receive packing lists + guides, Europe travel tips, digital nomad working life advice & living in Europe as an American stories. Welcome!