If you flew over the holiday season, you likely brought more with you onto the plane than just a carry-on.
During the 2017 holiday season, Insurancequotes.com played Grinch by conducting 18 swab tests across six surfaces from three major US airports and airline flights to see where most germs are thriving. What they found would make anyone’s skin crawl, but where they found it is even worse.
The gross swabs were sent to a lab and analyzed for colony-forming units (CFU), which is a nice way of saying the number of bacteria and fungal cells per square inch.
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The results from those swabs are in and, whether you like it or not, here are the most disgusting places in the airport that you’ll want to avoid from now on. They’re the gifts that keep on giving (and there’s no return policy).
1. Self Check-In Kiosks
Not too surprising, seeing as how many people use this service and how unlikely it is that these machines ever get wiped down, let alone sanitized. Researchers found that self check-in screens had more than 253,000 CFUs per square inch, nearly three times more germy than the runner-up. And without further ado, the second germiest place is…
2. Airport Gate Bench Armrests
A lot of things have rested on these, and they aren’t all arms. The swab test on these innocent looking respites clocked in at 21,630 CFUs.
3. Water Fountain Button
In last place, but still gross. Water fountain buttons averaged 19,181 CFUs, which is surprisingly low when you consider how expensive bottled water at the airport is.
As for the germiest spots on the plane, the winning petri dish is the lavatory flush button (95,145 CFU), followed by the tray table (11,595 CFU) and the seat belt buckle (1,116 CFU). Make sure the Purell is in your carry-on bag.