What is the dirtiest part of an airplane?

Do you know what is the dirtiest part of an airplane? Through this short write-up, you will learn more about the dirtiest part of the airplane and how to protect yourself from the viruses within it.


The common misconception

Many people think that the dirtiest part of an airplane is the toilet.  However, that is wrong. To prove my point, I did a poll on Twitter, and here are the results of what people think the dirtiest part of an airplane is:

A chart of what people think about the dirtiest part of an airplane | Twitter poll by Sohail Sawlani

As you can see, the majority of the people voted “toilet” as the answer, with less than 30% for tray table and 10% for the others.

What is the dirtiest part of an airplane?

According to a study conducted in 2015, the tray tables are actually the dirtiest part of an airplane! There is actually 2,155 CFU (Colony forming units) per square inch of a seatback table, which is more than 8x more than a toilet flush button!

Why is it so dirty?

Cabin crew rarely have the time to individually wipe-down every single table properly onboard during a short layover. Instead, they tend to rush and wipe- down as quickly as they can, even during the COVID-19 pandemic. Due to this, all of those germs from the previous passenger when they ate or used the table for other reasons remain on your table and continue to multiply until a long layover and deep clean.

A photo of the interior of a British Airways aircraft

The wet wipe solution

Firstly, you can wipe down your tray table with antibacterial wet wipes before and after using it. This will help to eliminate most of the germs on the tray tables and prevent them from infecting you or the passengers flying after you. During the COVID-19 pandemic, airlines like Singapore Airlines have been giving out care packs with wet wipes to wipe down your surroundings. So, if you do fly in the next few months, remember to use them!

Did you know about how dirty tray tables were before you read this article? Comment below

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Sohail Sawlani
Sohail Sawlani
Aviation Reporter - Sohail is an avid aviation enthusiast and having been a previous Editorial Intern, is now an Aviation Reporter with Travel Radar. With a passion for Commercial Aviation and the machines behind the operations, he regularly contributes to the News & Analysis sections at Travel Radar. Outside of TR, he can be found on the Twitter realm as 'Planeopedia', posting about all things aviation!


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