The “funny” part about trips within Africa is that you are treated as a common citizen of a developing country. Although tunnels are there, they are only used for trips coming and going to Europe or some other lucky destinations. If you are coming or going to another African country, you have to walk. By walking I mean you go over a bridge go down or up the stairs (depending if you are leaving or arriving) cross a couple of planes and some luggage trucks, watch the airport workers perform their tasks, in brief it is a kind of an airport tour that you never paid nor asked for. However, the crew has a bus waiting for them, while we had to walk carrying our carry-on bags (I am so thankful they don’t make us carry our own luggage to the plane).
Anyways, when I settled in the plane and before takeoff, as a measure of health, an insecticide had to be sprayed. The crew member announcing that did not miss to inform us that this spray is safe. “For those who may be bothered by the smell however, they can close their noses” the hostess stated.
I even don’t know how many times I went through the same process when flying to some African destinations. This time was a bit different though because the crew member did not dispose of the container as she should and being the nosy me, I got a hold of the empty container and I took pictures of so I can find out more about this “safe” product.
Apparently the product follows the World Health Organization (WHO) formulation. Although I don’t know how safe is the d-phenathrin but I assume that the WHO knows what they are doing (key word being assume). However, on the instructions, it says that the crew should inform us to avoid inhalation. I never remember anyone letting me know throughout multiple trips that I should avoid inhalation. In one of the flights I even recall the hostess stating “it is perfectly safe”. The instructions are repeated again on the container “Do not breath spray mist” all in capital letters.
The other thing I noticed is that they should keep the empty can and hand it to health/quarantine officer upon arrival as per the instructions. This was the first flight for me where the hostess decided to leave this empty container in the head compartment with my bag.
I know one thing for sure, a container that describes its content as “extremely dangerous to fish and other aquatic life” cannot be perfectly safe for me. So fellow travelers, be sure to not breathe when traveling. Well, at least do not breathe that spray!