These are the dirtiest spots in an airport (Hint: Not including the bathroom!)

Airports are teeming with germs, but not in the areas that you might think. While most people avoid the bathrooms at all costs due to the sticky floors and smelly toilets, they’re not actually the dirtiest place in an airport. In fact, if you were to guess the germiest thing at the airport, it probably wouldn’t be in your top three responses.

To find out the truth about the dirtiest places in an airport, InsuranceQuotes.com, a Texas-based insurance website, had researchers conduct 18 tests across six different surfaces at three major U.S. airports and airline flights. They used swab kits to identify the spots with the highest average amount of bacteria and fungal cells per square inch (CFU). (Don’t miss these 12 everyday items that are dirtier than a toilet seat.)

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22 things your flight attendant won’t tell you
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22 things your flight attendant won’t tell you

1. Want to start off on the wrong foot with me?

Put your carry-on in a full overhead bin, leave it sticking out six inches, then take your seat at the window and wait for someone else (me!) to come along and solve the physics problem you just created. By the way, this is what your flight attendant first notices about you.

2. Yes, passengers are incredibly rude...

 

..but stealing a beer, cursing out passengers, and jumping out of a plane is not the way to handle it. You disarm an unruly passenger by introducing yourself, asking his name, and saying something like ‘I’ve been incredibly nice to you for three hours. Why are you treating me like this?’ Generally, that gets the other passengers on your side—and sometimes they’ll even applaud.

3. We don't have a boyfriend in every city.

 And our median age these days is 44.

4. An all-too-common scenario?

I hand you a cup of coffee and say, ‘Cream and sugar?’ You say, ‘What?’ I say, ‘Cream and sugar?’ You say, ‘What?’ Come on, people. What do you think we’re going to ask after we’ve handed you coffee? Your favorite color? (But in all honesty, you probably shouldn't order coffee on a plane.)

5. If you’re traveling with a small child and you keep hearing bells, bells, and more bells...

...please look to see if it’s your child playing with the flight attendant call bell. These are the things you should never do on an airplane.

6. The lavatory door is not rocket science.

Just push.

7. If you have a baby, bring diapers.

If you’re diabetic, bring syringes. If you have high blood pressure, don’t forget your medication. That way, I’m not trying to make a diaper out of a sanitary pad and a pillowcase or asking over the intercom if someone has a spare inhaler. Here are some other little flying etiquette rules you know.

8. Just in case you hadn’t noticed, there are other people on the airplane besides you.

So don’t clip your toenails, snore with wild abandon, or do any type of personal business under a blanket!

9. If you’re traveling overseas, do yourself a favor and bring a pen.

You would not believe how many people travel without one, and you need one to fill out the immigration forms. I carry some, but I can’t carry 200. Here are some more tips to know before your next flight.

10. Passengers are always coming up to me and tattling on each other.

‘Can you tell him to put his seat up?’ ‘She won’t share the armrest.’ What am I, a preschool teacher?

11. I hate working flights to destinations like Vail and West Palm Beach.

The passengers all think they’re in first class even if they’re not. They don’t do what we ask. And the overhead bins are full of their mink coats.

12. Do you really have to go to the bathroom right now, while we’re wrestling a 250-pound food cart down the aisle?

 You can’t wait 90 seconds for us to pass?

13. Is it that difficult to say hello and goodbye?

We say it 300 times on every flight, and only about 40 people respond—saying "hello" is really the one word you need to get your flight attendant to like you.

14. Do not poke or grab me

I mean it. No one likes to be poked, but it’s even worse on the plane because you’re sitting down and we’re not, so it’s usually in a very personal area. You would never grab a waitress if you wanted ketchup or a fork, would you?

15. We’re not just being lazy.

Our rules really say we aren’t allowed to lift your luggage into the overhead bin for you, though we can “assist.” Try these tips for packing light when bringing a carry-on.

16. I don’t care if you want to be in the mile-high club, keep your clothes on.

Who decided the mile-high club was something that everyone wants to do anyway? It’s cramped and dirty in those bathrooms.

17. If you hear us paging for a doctor...

 ...or see us running around with oxygen, defibrillators, and first aid kits, that’s not the right time to ask for a blanket or a Diet Coke. Here are some other pet peeves of flight attendants.

18. The only place you are allowed to pee...

 ...on the airplane is in the lavatory. Period.

19. Don’t ask us if it’s OK to use the lavatories on the ground.

 The answer is always yes. Do you think what goes into the toilet just dumps out onto the tarmac?

20. You really expect me to take your soggy Kleenex?

 Or your kid’s fully loaded diaper? I’ll be right back with gloves.

21. Sure, I don’t mind waiting while you scour the seatback pocket

 ...and the floor for candy wrappers and other garbage, then place them in my bag one by one. I only have 150 other passengers to serve.

22. I’m sorry it’s taking forever to get you a wheelchair.

That’s one thing you can’t blame the airline for. The wheelchair service is subcontracted to the cities we fly into, and it’s obviously not a top priority for many of them. Want more insider air travel info? These are the secrets your airplane pilot won't tell you.

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The results? The dirtiest place in an airport is actually the self check-in kiosk, which contained an average of 253,857 CFU, far above the runner ups. (One specific self check-in kiosk was even found with over 1 million CFU!) Coming in second for the dirtiest place in the airport are the airline gate bench armrests, which contained a little over 21,000 CFU. Water fountain buttons took third place with just over 19,000 CFU.

Researchers also took a look at the germiest spots on an actual airplane, and, while airplanes contain slightly fewer germs than an airport, they too are filled with bacteria and fungal cells. According to the study, the plane bathroom’s flush button is the dirtiest, with an average of 95,145 CFU. The tray table and seat belt buckle follow far behind with 11,595 and 1,116 CFU.

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Of course, when you think about it, none of these dirty spots should really come as a shock, considering the self check-in kiosk and tray tables are all probably the most touched items at an airport and on an airplane. But to put things in perspective airports and airplanes are a lot dirtier than say, an airport’s toilet seat, which contains 172 CFU, or a kitchen countertop with 361 CFU.

So next time you fly, wash your hands and use a hand sanitizer. Make sure you stop making these 16 other airport mistakes before your next flight.

The post These Are the Dirtiest Spots in an Airport (Hint: Not Including the Bathroom!) appeared first on Reader's Digest.

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