These Are The Germiest Spots On An Aeroplane

These Are The Germiest Spots On An Aeroplane

It’s impossible to completely avoid germs, but when you’re trapped with them at 35,000 feet you might want to know where they like to hang out the most. The dirtiest place, it turns out, is right in front of your seat.

A recent experiment, from travel time calculator Travelmath, had a microbiologist collect 26 samples from five different airports and four different flights to see where the most germs actually lived on an aeroplane. Surprisingly, the flush button and door locks in the lavatory were some of the cleaner surfaces sampled on all four flights. The tray table, however, was found to be the nastiest place for germs on each plane. Coming up behind the tray tables was drinking fountain buttons in the airports themselves. Fortunately, none of the 26 samples contained faecal coliforms like E.coli. There are a couple things you can do to help avoid germs on an aeroplane, proper hand hygiene being the number one priority. Still, you might want to rethink setting food, tablets, and children’s toys directly on the tray table for your own peace of mind. You can learn more about the methodology at the link below.

Airline Hygiene Exposed [Travelmath via Mashable]

These Are the Germiest Spots on an Aeroplane


  • Interesting, yes. But not the whole story.

    The bacterial load grown in vitro from swabbing a surface isn’t the whole story.
    1. The number per se doesn’t imply how pathogenic or otherwise the bacteria are. Having loads of commensals on a surface doesn’t worry me too much, but a few anthrax spores would.
    2. Not all bacteria grow well in the lab. Many really unpleasant ones (e.g. Coxiella) are almost impossible to culture yet may be present in abundance.

  • And yet people aren’t coming down with serious bacterial infections every time they fly. This pretty much shows that such scary sounding statistics are pretty irrelevant; either that or it’s saying you’re safer eating your in-flight meal in the lavatory.

    • I have gotten sick a couple of times travelling to fairly clean places like the US. Not sure if it’s the travel gersm, or being exposed to a different ecosystem of sicknesses all at once or just being jetlagged and a bit rundown.

      • It’s probably a lot of things combined – jet lag, other ill people around you, the dehumidified plane air drying out your protective mucus linings (that snot serves a purpose!)

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