Forget about a fear of flying, for those who suffer from germophobia; getting on an airplane just might be your biggest fear, for very different reasons. It’s no secret: airplanes are a large breeding ground for bacteria. With crowds of different people (from different walks of life and areas), to enclosed spaces and recirculated air; flying on an airplane for business or personal travel can certainly test an individual’s immune system.
With that in mind, online site Travelmath.com recently embarked on project to see which areas within an airplane are the dirtiest. The company ordered microbiologists to five different airports across the U.S., as well as four flights by two major airlines, and took 26 samples from various areas.
Once all was said and done, and samples were taken to the lab; results showed that it was the airplane tray (an area used for everything from reading, to eating, to conducting work) as the dirtiest area tested. Travelmath suggests travelers eliminate any direct contact of flight food to the tray table to avoid bacteria intake.
When it came to all things dirty in an airport or plane, second place went to drinking fountain buttons within airports; third was overhead air vents; fourth position was the flush buttons on lavatories; fifth place went to seatbelt buckles; and the sixth dirtiest area in an airport or plane, went to bathroom stall locks.
After reviewing the list, one might be taken back at the fact that tray tables did top the list; however Travelmath points out this may largely be due to the fact that flight staff generally don’t have much time between flights to clean seats and trays properly – whereas washrooms, given their nature, are cleaned often.
CNN reports that it’s important to note, that while Travelmath did not mention what types of bacteria they discovered, they did note that all 26 samples found tested negative when it came to potentially infectious fecal coliforms, like E. coli.