8 Germ-Filled Areas on Planes (And How to Avoid Them)

germs airplanes

Every day, thousands of people board and de-board the planes of major airlines and every day, millions of germs are transferred from those people to various surfaces on the plane. In this blog, our PHL Airport parking company lists eight of the most germ-filled areas on a plane and what you can do to avoid picking up those germs.

Tray Tables

Tray tables come in at #1 for the most germ-harboring area on a plane. Each flight, tray tables are unfolded and folded back up countless times by passengers without being cleaned. The plastic surface is the perfect material to trap germs.

Seatbelt Buckles

Just like tray tables, passengers lock and unlock their seatbelt several times during a flight and after several flights, the seatbelt, buckles, and release buttons have all been handled by the hands of many different people.

Air Vents

What’s one of the first things you do after you take your seat? You probably adjust your air vent to make sure you’re comfortable. In addition to the many other people who adjust the same air vent, the “ceiling” probably isn’t the first thing to be cleaned when the airline wipes down the plane’s interior.

Toilet Flush Button

When you go to the bathroom, you don’t wash your hands until after you’ve flushed the toilet. This means that any germs you bring into the bathroom are left on the toilet’s flush button before you wash them off.

Entertainment “Remote”

These days, many airlines include personal seat-back televisions where you can watch television shows and movies. Whether the remote to adjust these is on your arm rest or is its own hand-held device, it’s likely harboring the many hand germs of other passengers.


Despite what you may think, many airlines reuse their pillows and blankets. If you do decide to use a pillow or blanket, make sure they’re in sealed bags. If they’re not, they’ve likely been used by many other passengers before you.

Seat Pockets

After you get comfortable in your seat, you probably stock the seat pocket in front of you with your reading material, mp3 player, tablet, snacks, and more. If you do, try to keep your belongings as close to the top of the pocket as possible. The deeper areas of the pocket are a collector of germs.

In-Flight Magazines

In-flight magazines and safety pamphlets are rarely replaced and likely aren’t cleaned, so no matter what in-flight material you read, you’re likely rifling through pages of germs.

What to Do to Avoid Picking Up Germs:

Every time you travel, pack antibacterial hand wipes and antibacterial hand soap. Before touching any germ-filled surface on your flight, use the wipes to wipe them down and antibacterial hand soap on a regular basis to reinforce the fight against germs.