Find Out What the Germiest Place on the Airplane Is (Hint: It's Not the Bathroom)
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Find Out What the Germiest Place on the Airplane Is (Hint: It's Not the Bathroom)

Why Do Airplanes Dim Lights on Takeoff?
Vicki Beaver / Alamy

Tray tables take the cake for most germs per square inch on airplanes

Airports and planes are breeding grounds for germs—this most likely isn't a surprise for anyone, given how many people travel through them every day. Travel Math, a website focused on breaking down trips by the numbers (think: miles traveled, cost of driving, flight times, etc.), recently released some information shining some light on the germiest places in said travel hubs.

A microbiologist visited five airports and four different flights to take some samples to determine the bacteria population on each per square inch. You can check out the full infographic here, but we pulled out a few particular, um, problem spots. Read on (and don't forget the hand sanitizer on your next trip!):

Tray Tables

If you thought airplane bathrooms were gross, you don't even know the half of it. As it turns out, tray tables host the most germs on airplanes with a bacteria population of 2,155 per square inch.

Water Fountains

Only second to the germ-laden tray table is the communal water fountain. Coming in at 1,240 bacteria populations per square inch, you may be better off shelling out the extra money for bottled water.

Bathroom Stall Locks

Surprisingly, stall locks in airplane and airport bathrooms came in at the bottom of the list with only 70 bacteria populations per square inch.

The Good News: No E. Coli

All 26 samples came back negative for fecal coliforms (it's as gross as it sounds), meaning there was no E. Coli present in any of the airports or airplanes.

Erika Owen is the Audience Engagement Editor at Travel + Leisure. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram at @erikaraeowen.

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