As bad as an airplane cabin can be in terms of cleanliness, airport terminals can be even worse, a new study has revealed.
An airplane cabin’s surfaces are known to house more germs than the average kitchen counter, but a recent study has shown that the surfaces in an airport terminal collect even more germs than the planes themselves.
Like at many businesses — from banks to supermarkets — self-serve kiosks have become increasingly popular at airports.
However, they are also a breeding ground for germs.
The largest number of colony-forming bacteria per square inch was found on these self-serve ticketing kiosks.
Experts from InsuranceQuotes.com conducted swab tests at three airports and on three different airline flights, collecting samples from a multitude of surfaces.
The website would not provide the name of the locations.
Researches uncovered 253,857 colony-forming units on the kiosks.
For comparison, there were just 21,630 CFUs on bench armrests and 19,181 on drinking fountain buttons, according to the Los Angeles Times, which reported on the study.
As far as the planes themselves, the largest germ counts were found — perhaps unsurprisingly — on the flush button of toilets, where 95,145 CFUs were found.
The study also suggested that people traveling on a plane may want to think twice about eating an airline meal.
The researchers also found 11,595 CFUs on tray tables.
Another reason to pack a travel-sized container of hand sanitizer? Seat buckles.
The Times reported that 1,116 CFUs were found on the seat buckles alone, according to the study. This is a much greater number than the 361 CFUs that the National Science Foundation estimated are found on an average kitchen counter.
Almost three years ago, a similar study indicated that the highest concentration of germs found in airports was on the push buttons of drinking fountains.
But since then, as the newspaper pointed out, several major airlines like American, Southwest and United have implemented self-serve kiosks in an effort to speed up the ticketing process for customers.
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