Microbes: The Unwanted Passengers on Airplanes
Concern about bacteria and germs is now the second biggest factor impacting a consumer’s decision to travel (AYTM, 2021). With flying being such a popular mode of transportation, the plane itself is often a breeding ground for microbial growth.
Before entering an aircraft, passengers encounter multiple contaminated surfaces. These include check-in desks, luggage trolleys and security trays. Such touchpoints present ample opportunity for bacteria to spread from surface to surface.
But microbes don't end their trip at the boarding gate.
Once on the plane, bacteria continue to grow and proliferate on key surfaces, including tray tables, window shades, and handles. What's more, the confined spaces of a cabin mean microbes can also spread easily via air droplets.
Antimicrobial Technology: Added Protection for Aircraft Interiors
Microban technology can be engineered into key surfaces on a plane to deliver complementary surface protection. Our proven formulations work to eliminate up to 99.9% of microbial growth in-between cleaning. This not only helps to keep surfaces cleaner but also delivers added peace of mind for passengers. We have listed common treatable surfaces below.
For many of us, a tray table is simply a handy place to rest a book or an ideal location to hold a hot meal served by the flight attendant. However, the tray table is the biggest offender when it comes to harboring microbes. With 2,155 microbes per square inch, this small bit of plastic is far dirtier than a typical airplane toilet seat.
Microban technology can be engineered into the tray table at the stage of manufacture to ensure it actively resists microbial proliferation. This ensures the table stays cleaner and fresher - so you can worry less about bacteria and focus more on enjoying your flight. What's more, selected Microban technologies are approved for use in food-contact applications, being listed on EFSA, registered with the EPA, and permitted for use by the FDA.
Microban tip: Ensure you have disinfectant wipes at your disposal to wipe down the tray before and after use.
Although airplane bathrooms are cleaned more regularly than other areas of a plane, faucet handles are often contaminated with bacteria due to the large volume of people who use the washing facilities during a flight. Just because this is an area where you are required to wash your hands, it doesn't necessarily mean that the faucet handles are clean.
Microban has a portfolio of solutions that can be manufactured into the finish of faucet handles. The technology will work 24/7 for durable antimicrobial protection that won't wash off or wear away.
Microban tip: When using the faucets within an aircraft bathroom, we'd recommend using a piece of toilet tissue to turn it on and off. And of course, make sure that you wash your hands thoroughly!
Hundreds of hands touch airplane seat buckles every day, and this makes them a hotspot for bacteria growth.
But don't worry - Microban can tighten the buckle on microbial growth! Our technologies can be added to all components of seatbelts, including the metal fastener.
Microban tip: Fastening your seat belt is of course mandatory, but you can make the process cleaner by protecting your hand with a piece of tissue when doing so. Throw the tissue into the trash once you've fastened your seat belt. Alternately, a great tip when flying is to carry a small bottle of hand sanitizer with you. If you do have to touch bacteria hotspots such as seat buckles, a quick spritz of hand sanitizer can ensure that you keep your hands fresh.
Seat Back Pockets
When reaching for the safety information from an airplane seat pocket, we often pick up sticky sweet wrappers, food crumbs, and dirt as well. Studies have also found that potentially harmful microbes such as MRSA and E. coli are often lurking here too, making it a very unclean area of the plane.
Microban technology can be built-in to all areas of airplane seating, including the back pockets. Our solutions are successfully utilized in a range of seat materials, including textiles, foam, and even leather.
Microban tip: To maintain good hygiene when retrieving the safety information, we suggest that you use hand sanitizer after returning it to the seat pocket in order to kill off any harmful bacteria and keep your hands fresh and clean.
Aircraft heating and ventilation systems are prone to microbial contamination. Not only are these systems hard to clean, but they tend to circulate contaminated air around the cabin. This can lead to unpleasant odors, reduced air quality, and even cross-contamination.
Microban technology can be manufactured into a range of HVAC systems to help prevent the growth of bacteria, mold, and mildew. This helps to improve both air quality and system performance.
Microban tip: Where possible, ducts and vents should be cleaned regularly so that the HVAC system can perform optimally.
Your luggage has been rolled down filthy sidewalks, dragged through a busy airport, and shoved into an overhead locker. Is it any surprise that it is teeming with bacteria? In fact, one study has shown that your luggage comes into contact with up to 80 million microbes before you’ve even reached your holiday destination.
Microban protection can be engineered into a range of travel accessories, including suitcases, backpacks, and packing cubes. Learn more about our partnerships with Samsonite and American Tourister to see how they're redefining travel products with Microban technology.
Microban tip: Many people neglect to wash their suitcases, but to keep your luggage clean, it is important that you disinfect it. Washing your luggage with warm water and dish soap after traveling is an effective way of ensuring that it remains fresh. In the meantime, make sure that you have antimicrobial hand sanitizer ready for when you need to carry your suitcase before being able to wash it.
Re-Building Passenger Confidence with Antimicrobial Protection
Microban works directly with aviation component manufacturers to integrate our solutions into a wide range of products and surfaces. We become part of the supply chain, delivering high-performing antimicrobial formulations to the relevant component suppliers who operate under OEM specifications.
Whether you're looking to treat a polymer tray table or a textile seat covering, Microban will have an additive to suit both the application and manufacturing process.
Key Benefits of Antimicrobial Aircraft Interiors
The benefits of antimicrobial aircraft interiors are endless, but we've listed a few of the key ones below.
- Stay cleaner in-between cleaning
- Easier to keep clean
- More durable and last longer
- Protection lasts for the expected lifetime of the surface
- Deliver added peace of mind for both passengers and cabin crew
- Offer a distinct competitive advantage for airlines
- Re-build passenger confidence and encourage people to get back in the air
Contact Microban today to discover how our technologies can benefit aircraft interior surfaces.