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This Is the Germiest Place on an Airplane

Flight attendants weigh in on the things they don't want passengers to know.
IMAGE Getty
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It's no secret that traveling can wreak havoc on your immune system. Between the recirculated air onboard the plane and having to take your shoes off during security, the whole experience is a germaphobe's nightmare. Now, the good people of Reddit have given hypochondriacs even more reason to be concerned: Apparently, tray tables on airplanes are absolutely teeming with bacteria.

Buried in a thread of flight attendants spilling their secrets, one commenter noted that the trays are "rarely if ever sanitized." Another recalled seeing a woman change her baby's diaper on the surface.

Needless to say, I'll be bringing my own wet wipes on flights from now on.

To make matters worse, the Reddit rumors are backed up by science. During an experiment orchestrated by the publication Travel Math, a microbiologist collected 26 samples from five airports and four flights in an attempt to determine the dirtiest places on airplanes and at airports.

Granted, a sample size of 26 is rather small, but the investigation still determined that airplane tray tables, with an average of 2,155 colony-forming units (a.k.a. bacteria) per square inch were dirtier than the airplane bathroom.

Other insights the airline employees offered up on Reddit include counting the number rows to the closest exit, just in case your vision is impaired in an emergency, and an all-caps suggestion that walking around barefoot could be hazardous to your health.

Now, excuse me while I take a bath in hand sanitizer.

This story originally appeared on Townandcountrymag.com.
* Minor edits have been made by the Townandcountry.ph editors.

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Caroline Hallemann
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