TransMira tested surfaces for germs on various airlines around the world in 2019. TransMira used a globally recognized monitoring system, EnSure by Hygiena, to measure the bacterial load during flights across continents. While the results varied, the conclusion is clear: flying is dirty. The following graph illustrates a sample of those findings ranging from high to extremely high bacteria counts.
The research found:
- Overall germ levels at the seat pocket, head rest, seat belt, arm rest, averaged 1,297 RLU, over 35 percent more than the lavatory handle and flush.
- 870 average RLU on a tray table, more than the lavatory flush.
- 610 average RLU on plane screens, a data point that is being researched to compare to other technological devices.
What’s in the germs?
No one knows what is on any given tray table from one flight to the next. However, some research has been done to examine the germs on various surfaces. Here is an example from Insurance Quote.
Flying since Covid-19
News reports during the Covid-19 global pandemic frequently focused on travel routes as much as hospital stays to track the spread. As recently as February 2021, passengers arriving in the United States by plane were required to have proof of a negative Covid test in order to enter the country. Similar travel bans and requirements were imposed around the world as the spread of the disease was linked to travelers. Covid is only one transmittable disease that has the potential to spread quickly through modern travel habits. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, touching contaminated surfaces on airlines, ride-share vehicles, hotels and trains can spread respiratory and gastrointestinal illnesses as well as skin infections.
How TransMira can help
TransMira continues to increase awareness of the risks involved in touching contaminated surfaces. TransMira is collecting data to help passengers make the best decisions to protect themselves and their families.