- By Natalie Dreier, Cox Media Group National Content Desk
We know that airplanes can be a breeding ground for germs and other nasty things that could get you sick, but did you ever think about what you’re exposing yourself to before you even get to the jetway?
A study that was recently released found that the airport itself is a haven for germs and bacteria and it is enough to make those who aren’t germaphobic squirm and grab the hand sanitizer.
Insurancequotes.com tested six surfaces at three different U.S. airports, including Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport in Atlanta, over the past holiday season.
The worst the scientists found were the self check-in kiosk where they found 253,857 CFUs (colony-forming units) per square inch. One screen had more than a million.
The second worst, the armrests on the benches at the gate, which had 21,630 CFUs.
Coming in third, the water fountain button which had 19,181 CFUs.
As for the planes, you’ll want to try to not visit the lavatory if possible. The flush button had 95,145 CFUs. The seat back tray where we use our laptops, iPads and eat our snacks had 11,595 CFUs. Finally, the seat belt buckle had 1,116 CFUs.
The Federal Aviation Administration, FAA, doesn’t regulate how and when airlines clean planes, according to TravelPulse. And when there is time to clean, strong disinfectants are not used, only general cleaners, TravelPulse reported.
So what can be done to clean the areas flyers encounter, other than strong cleaners? Dubai International Airports have started using facial recognition for flight check-in where people won’t have to touch kiosks, AARP reported.