The fastest means to travel is by air, but it can be an unpleasant experience. Wi-fi can keep you busy and distracted enough that you may forget some of the anxieties that flying can generate, but there is a lot of information that is not disclosed to passengers, and most of them can play havoc on the health. Microorganisms are everywhere. Airports and airplanes, being where people from different parts of the world come together as they travel within and outside their countries, are perhaps the best places to demonstrate this.

Airport hygiene exposed

A microbiologist was sent by TravelMath to collect samples from four flights and five airports in order to carry out a study to determine how hygienic the airport and airplanes are. According to his findings, they are dirtier than our homes. He revealed that the dirtiest of all the surfaces and locations tested was the Tray Table. Often times, people change their babies’ diapers on the tray table. In fact, some leave their body fluids on it, thereby making it a breeding ground for most germs that can cause harm.

Air passengers are advised to avoid making direct contact with their food and the tray table. Other dirty places on airplanes include lavatory, flush button, seatbelt buckle, and the overhead air vent, while the dirtiest places in airports include the bathroom stall locks and drinking fountain buttons.

According to statistics, there are 230 CFU of bacteria and fungi on the seat belt buckle, 265 CFU on the lavatory flush, and 285 CFU on the overhead air vent. A CFU, or colony-forming unit, is the unit of bacteria or fungi present in a sample. Surprisingly, one of the cleanest surfaces tested was found in the bathroom. This may be hard to believe, but there is a possibility that regular cleaning and frequent sanitization of the lavatory keeps germs away.

How to avoid getting infected

Because the airline staff is pressured to deboard arriving flights and board departing flights with haste, there is little or no time to sanitize the airplane. The cleaning of the airplane, which is done at the end of the day, should be done in between flights to ensure the safety of passengers.

While the cabin crew does not have enough time to clean the airplane after deboarding, passengers are advised to travel with wipes and hand sanitizers. The wipes can be used to clean the tray tables while the hand sanitizers can be used during and after the flight.