Travellers ‘at risk’ from aircraft germs

28th of August 2013
Travellers ‘at risk’ from aircraft germs

Tray tables and seat pockets are among the "germiest" places on board an aeroplane, travellers are being warned.

Toilet sinks and door handles are said to be another potential threat, with E.coli detected on more than 30 per cent of sink handles tested in one study.

And passengers are being urged to protect themselves by thoroughly washing their hands before eating on a ‘plane; drying them with a paper towel afterwards and then using another paper towel to open the lavatory door.

The study into aircraft germs was carried out by cleaning chemical products manufacturer Charlotte Products/Enviro-Solutions. Marketing director Jennifer Meek says passengers should use a hand sanitiser to clean their trays before and after touching both these and other surfaces, particularly before eating.

"A problem with aeroplane lavatory sinks is that the water automatically shuts off very quickly," she said. "You should keep pressing the handle for more water until you have washed your hands for at least 20 seconds." She adds that a hand sanitiser can be used as an extra measure after washing the hands.

The study also showed pillows and blankets to be a potential source of germs, with one survey revealing that some airline blankets are only cleaned every 30 days.

Tray tables are said to harbour large quantities of germs because passengers use them for eating and for resting their books, laptops and magazines. And seat pockets were found to be another problem area since objects such as used tissues, stale food - and in one case, even toenails - have been discovered in these after a flight.


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