The Germiest Place On A Plane Will Make You Cringe

Health | Did You Know

The Germiest Place On A Plane Will Make You Cringe

There's a proper etiquette that accompanies travelling on a plane - don't hog the overhead storage, always remain seated, be careful when you recline your seat, don't be loud - you get the picture. Air travel can be stressful, so these unwritten rules exist to ensure every passenger has a comfortable and enjoyable experience.

While we're busy abiding by these rules, we end up forgetting about another issue that we should really start paying more attention to - hygiene.

Between the tight seating arrangements and small lavatories, airplanes aren't the most sanitary places. Past studies have found bacteria like E.coli and MRSA on various parts of the plane including arm rests and seats, but the latest revelation will make you think twice about what you touch on planes.


TravelMath, a web-based travel resource, carried out an experiment to determine the germiest parts of airplanes and the results will have you do a double take.

The company sent a microbiologist to round-up 26 samples from four flights of two major carriers and five airports. The test results showed that most areas harbor colony-forming bacteria that could cause serious harm to one's health.

In airports, drinking fountain buttons ranked at the top followed by bathroom stall locks. As for airplanes, the lavatory flush button, seatbelt buckles, overhead air vent were a few of the dirtiest spots containing no less than 230 bacteria per cubic square inch, but surprisingly enough there's another unexpected area that took the top spot.

Click on the next page to find out what the grossest part of the plane is.

According to the TravelMath results the bathrooms were some of the cleaner surfaces contrary to popular belief. This is probably because these surfaces tend to be cleaned and sanitized more frequently. This also means that there are other areas of the plane that gets neglected including the table tray.

A typical tray had about 2,155 bacteria per cubic square making it the dirtiest surface on airplanes. Previous research revealed that cleaning trays is a task that's only completed at the end of the day and apparently, the carriers are to be blamed for the lack of proper sanitation procedures.

"Airline staff are under more pressure in recent years to quickly deboard arriving flights and board departing flights to maximize profit for their carriers. There are many things that the cabin crew must attend to, so tray tables are often only cleaned at the end of the day," explains TravelMath.

Flight attendants encourage passengers to try their best to keep their food from coming in contact with the table trays because they're not just being used for meals. Sometimes they're treated as foot rests or baby changing tables.

To protect yourself from nasty germs, always carry hand sanitizer or disinfectant wipes when you travel and avoid touching your face, mouth and nose as much as possible.

Share this with friends who love to travel!

[H/T: TravelMath]

Blair isn't a bestselling author, but she has a knack for beautiful prose. When she isn't writing for Shared, she enjoys listening to podcasts.