It has long been observed that airplane cabins have contained more than their fair share of bacteria. This belief was confirmed by the results of a recent study that found that the cabins of commercial planes had much higher amounts of bacteria present than the average kitchen counter. But what the study also found was that surfaces in airport terminals contained even more germs than those inside the planes.
The largest concentrations of bacteria in airports were found to be on self-service ticket kiosks that are becoming popular airports around the country especially those airports that receive the most traffic such as Los Angeles International Airport of John F. Kennedy Airport in New York.
Officials working with Insurancequotes.com performed the study and did so by using swab tests to check for bacteria on surface areas at three major airports and airlines. The website was not willing to reveal the names of the airlines and airports that was the subject of the testing.
Germ counts were measured by the term ‘colony forming units’ and were highest on planes at the bottom surfaces of toilets at 95,145 CFU’s. Tray tables were a distant second at 11,595 CFU’s and seat belt buckles were third with 1,116 according to the study. According to the National Science Foundation, a typical kitchen counter has 361 CFU’s.
The screens of airport kiosks were highest for terminals and overall at a staggering count of 253,857 CFU’s. The armrests on benches in terminals and the buttons found on drinking fountains also possessed a considerable amount of germ activity.
A study conducted three years ago named drinking fountain buttons as the biggest culprit for the presence of germs in airport terminals but the rising popularity of kiosks have changed this dynamic.
Health officials find the results of these study to be especially troubling due to the flu epidemic that has wreaked havoc throughout the country this flu season.