Many studies have found that air travel is less than clean when it comes to germs. Everything from your armrest, to hand railings, to self check-in kiosks have high levels of germs due to the high amount of traffic they see daily. But a new study released by researchers at the University of Nottingham and the Finnish National Institute for Health and Welfare have found the highest contender for airport germs-and it’s not the toilet bowl.
The study, which analyzed germ levels across various airports in the winter of 2016, found that the security clearance trays had the highest levels of at least “one respiratory virus”. As the report concludes, “Of the surfaces tested, plastic security screening trays appeared to pose the highest potential risk, and handling these is almost inevitable for all embarking passengers.” This makes sense – not only does this tray come in contact with your hands, but many times will also come into contact with travellers’ phones, laptops, shoes, and other items that are handled frequently by an individual.
The study called for airports to provide more opportunities for travellers to sanitize their hands, especially prior to getting to screening areas.