I have always gone for the aisle seats but those days are finished now!
As if window seats aren’t already popular enough with air passengers, scientists now say sitting by the aisle leaves you more exposed to germs.
It puts you physically closer to passengers going to and from the toilets. Furthermore, people hold on to aisle seats when walking to keep their balance, increasing the risk of contamination.
Researchers also suggested that passengers should steer clear of the toilets, although they admitted that could prove a problem on long-haul flights.
Dr Charles Gerba, a microbiologist at the University of Arizona, collected swabs from the most frequently-touched areas on more than 20 flights, including arm-rests, taps, sinks, trays, seat pockets, overhead lockers and toilet handles.
He found that aisle seats tended to harbour more germs than those in the middle or by the window, as they were touched by so many people as they moved through the aircraft.
Dr Gerba urges passengers to avoid using the toilet – or restroom as it is termed in the US – as it is used by up to 75 other people but not cleaned during the flight.
‘The airplane restroom is the germiest you’re going to come across,’ he said. ‘There’s so much traffic and no one cleans them.
‘If you can hold it, hold it. You’re more likely to pick up something from going to the bathroom than just sitting in your seat.’
The microbiologist said passengers should also avoid using the fold-down table until they have wiped it thoroughly. He found that it contained worrying levels of bacteria and viruses, including flu, norovirus and MRSA.
In an interview for American TV Dr Gerba said: ‘Tables often have large numbers of bacteria because they’re not commonly disinfected and cleaned between every flight.’
He compared eating on an uncleaned tray table with eating on a toilet seat.
And if that is not enough to consider, passengers should also resist rooting through the seat pocket in front, which can contain – aside from the inflight magazine – germs from discarded tissues and uneaten food.
However, Dr Gerba did have one comforting message. He said that contrary to popular belief, germs aren’t usually spread by the re-circulation of stale air on the plane.
‘Usually the air is not much of a problem because it goes around and is filtered,’ he said. ‘So when we’ve seen cases of influenza on aircraft, it’s usually only the person right next to them that has to worry.’
He offers a number of key tips to passengers to avoid becoming ill while flying, including regularly rubbing their hands with sanitising gel and thoroughly cleaning the fold-down trays with disinfectant wipes.
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-2854637/You-sitting-closer-GERMS-New-research-shows-aisle-seat-contaminated-place-plane.html#ixzz3KkCPJ65c
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