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Travel Tips

The Germiest Place on a Plane Is…

Ever wonder just how gross that tray table is? Or how about the bathroom stall lock? Travel + Leisure's Erika Owen has got the down and dirty details. Don't forget the hand sanitizer.

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 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.