Scientists have ranked the dirtiest places on planes.

Because planes weren’t terrifying enough already.

If you were asked to identify the dirtiest place on a plane, what would you say?

The bathroom? The floor?

If so, you are very, very wrong.

A microbiologist from Travelmath recently collected samples from airports and planes, and found that the dirtiest place is actually your tray table.

You know, the thing you use to eat?

Dirtiest places on plane
An artist’s interpretation of germs on a plane’s tray table. Source: iStock

After this, the overhead air vent was a distant second place for dirtiest spot on an airplane, followed by the lavatory flush button in third, the seatbelt buckle in fourth and the bathroom stall locks in fifth place.


Luckily, a helpful infographic created by Travelmath assures us that a dog’s tennis ball is still more dirty than a tray table. But to be honest, it’s not as far off as we would like.

Infographic looking at Airline Hygiene is courtesy of Travelmath (post continues after infographic).

Dirtiest place on plane

As the infographic helpfully points out, e-coli  (“fecal matter”) was not present in any of the samples though.

Silver lining?

What’s the most disgusting experience you’ve had on a plane?

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