Millions of passengers travel by plane every day. With so many people passing through an aircraft, it's no surprise that — not the cleanest place. Here are some of the most dangerous, and sometimes unexpected, “hotbeds” infections on board. Let's start with the obvious:
Whether on the ground or in the sky, toilets — one of the dirtiest places, given the ultimate purpose of their existence. Toilet room on board — it is always a cramped limited space with a great many points that absolutely all visitors to the establishment touch: the seat cover, the washbasin faucet, the soap dispenser, the door handle, and so on. According to the rules, the minimum number of toilets allowed in flight — one for every 50 passengers. Not very much, you see.
According to the instructions, the flight attendants visit the toilets twice an hour. This is usually only done to make sure that enough paper towels are available and that surfaces remain dry. Thorough cleaning is carried out by a special team only once a day.
Thus, hundreds of passengers have time to use the institution before it is once again properly cleaned. Moreover, there are no hard and fast rules governing how airlines should keep the toilets on their planes clean.
Another part of an airliner that widely known for its, to put it mildly, non-sterility, — this is a table where we put a tray and not only. Numerous studies have shown that these tables are teeming with bacteria: there are eight times more bacteria than toilet flush buttons.
For years, flight attendants have been warning travelers about dirty tables, as flight attendants know firsthand how passengers use them for a range of other, less hygienic, purposes besides eating. For example, as a pillow or a place to change a baby diaper. And some people find it convenient to put bare feet on the table — so that they don't get numb.
In general, it is worth considering in advance to take a few antibacterial wipes with you for disinfection on your next flight. You can ask the crew for them — most airlines now stock alcohol wipes.
Seat back pocket
Now, finally, an unexpected place, which, surprisingly, is more polluted than toilets and tray tables, — This is the back pocket of the seat in front. The one in which the safety instructions and the booklet of the onboard Duty Free are stored. Many immediately after turning on the scoreboard and announcing the need to turn off their phones put their gadgets right here, in the hotbed of infection. Books and snacks are also sent there. Agree, a very convenient storage compartment so as not to fish all this stuff out of the bag.
If passengers knew that they never actually clean their pockets, they would never want to use them again. While the toilets are disinfected every day, the cleaners only remove large debris and items left by passengers from the seat pockets. Therefore, over time, microbes accumulate here.
A study by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation CBC found mold, yeast, bacteria, E. coli and other pathogens in the back pockets of aircraft seats. This is aggravated by the fact that passengers often put waste — from snotty wipes and half-eaten food to soiled diapers and used masks, think twice before putting your stuff in here.
The seat belt, as you would expect, — one of the dirtiest places on an airplane, especially on airliners with multiple flights a day. While not as dirty as the other places listed above, seat belts are a breeding ground for mold and yeast.
Windows, of course, not all passengers necessarily touch with their hands, however, they are a sure place for contracting colds. Sitting in the “A” chair or “F” at the window, we recommend wiping its surface before sticking your nose in and enjoying the clouds floating below.
Passengers put here their, of course, thoroughly washed heads — do not keep them on weight — and this, alas, is a sure sign of the dirtiest place on board. The CBC study showed that the largest number of bacteria and E. coli were found on the head restraints. When ingested, either orally or nasally, E. coli can cause intestinal infections that lead to abdominal pain, diarrhea, and vomiting.
Due to growing concerns about in-flight COVID-19 infection, airlines have had to step up fight for purity. In fact, it has become a kind of competition between airlines as passengers begin to choose airlines with the best hygiene practices.
Today, most major airlines use high-performance particulate matter (HEPA) filters on their aircraft, which are capable of capturing more than 99 .9% viruses and bacteria. In addition, frequent sanitization of aircraft and deep cleaning are carried out. Passengers are also provided with hand sanitizer and antibacterial wipes.
Even big players like Airbus have begun working to provide passengers with better hygiene by introducing the touchless toilet concept. And soon, special protective barriers will be installed between each passenger seat.