Airplane Bacteria Hotspots

written by Emily Best, North America Marketing Manager, Built In

Airplane Bacteria Hotspots

Did you know that around 8 million people use air travel every single day? With airlines being such a popular mode of transportation, the aircrafts themselves can be very busy, congested environments. Not only can this make flying an uncomfortable experience, but with so many people in a confined space, it can create issues when it comes to on-board cleanliness.

The stale, recycled air within an aircraft, combined with the limited space for movement, creates a hot, humid environment that microbes thrive within - and with both passengers and luggage introducing additional microbes to the aircraft, it is vital that the airlines disinfect and clean their aircrafts regularly and thoroughly.

Before you jet off on your next flight, take a look at the information below which identifies the areas of an aircraft that are most susceptible to bacteria growth. We'll also explain how Microban antimicrobial technology can assist airlines in the fight against bacteria growth.

Tray Table

For many of us, a tray table is simply a handy place to rest a book or an ideal location to hold hot meal served by the flight attendant. However, the tray table is the biggest offender for when it comes to harboring microbes. With 2,155 microbes per square inch, the table tray is far dirtier than a typical airplane toilet seat, making it an extremely unsanitary surface.

To ensure that your tray table is fresh, use a disinfectant wipe to clean the surface both before and after using it. We would also recommend putting something down (such as a clean tissue) to prevent contact between your food and the tray table.

Airplane Faucet Handles

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 and fresh to touch.

When using the faucets within an aircraft bathroom, we'd recommend using a piece of toilet tissue to protect your skin from making contact with the handle. And of course, make sure that you wash your hands thoroughly.

Enjoy a cleaner airport experience. SecureTray® by SecurityPoint Media is treated with powerful antimicrobial technology to prevent the growth of bacteria on airport screening bins.

Airplane Seat Buckles

Hundreds of hands touch airplane seat buckles every day, and this makes them a hotspot for bacteria growth.

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 the 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. Not only is this unpleasant, but studies have found that potentially harmful microbes such as MRSA and E-coli are often found here, making it a very unclean area of the plane.

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.


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.

Many people neglect to wash their suitcase, 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.

How Microban Can Help Airlines Fight Against Bacteria

Microban antimicrobial technology can be built into a number of airplane products and surfaces which are prone to bacteria growth. Microban has already partnered with manufacturers of security screening bins to create a cleaner airport screening experience. From bathroom flushes, to table trays or even your luggage case, our technologies are built into products at the point of manufacture and work around the clock to prevent the growth of bacteria on surfaces. Microban technology does not wash off or wear way, and keep product surfaces cleaner in between cleanings.

To discover how Microban antimicrobial technology can benefit your air industry products, contact a member of the Microban team today.