The world is huge

Don't miss any of it

Travel news, itineraries, and inspiration delivered straight to your inbox.

By proceeding, you agree to our Privacy Policy and Terms of Use.

Dirtiest spot in the airport

The Dirtiest Spot in the Airport Is Something You’re Probably Touching

The dirtiest spot in the airport isn’t found in the bathroom or near the trash—it’s out in the open, and it’s something you’re probably touching every time you fly. According to a new study done by, the screen on the self check-in kiosk is the dirtiest spot in the airport.

The Dirtiest Spot in the Airport

Over the holiday travel season, InsuranceQuotes conducted germ swabbing tests at three major U.S. airports, and found that the self check-in kiosk has an average of 253,857 CFU (colony forming units) per square inch. Compare that to the amount of CFUs found on an average toilet seat (172) and you’ll be a mobile check-in convert.

The other dirtiest spots in the airport are the airline gate bench armrest (21,630) and the water fountain button (19,181).

You’re not safe once you’re on the plane either—the study found that the toilet flush button was the dirtiest spot on the plane, followed by the tray table and seat belt buckle.

My advice? Pack some sanitizing wipes and quickly wipe down your seat area (tray table, seat belt buckle, entertainment screen, headrest, armrest, and buttons) as soon as you fly. Also bring a travel-sized container of hand sanitizer and use it after checking in, going through security, and using the airplane lavatory. Then, try to relax and forget about germs and focus on the fun you’ll have on your trip!

More from SmarterTravel:

After writing about the dirtiest spot in the airport, Caroline Morse Teel will always travel with hand sanitizer. Follow Caroline on Instagram @TravelWithCaroline for photos and advice from airports and other fun spots around the world.

We hand-pick everything we recommend and select items through testing and reviews. Some products are sent to us free of charge with no incentive to offer a favorable review. We offer our unbiased opinions and do not accept compensation to review products. All items are in stock and prices are accurate at the time of publication. If you buy something through our links, we may earn a commission.

Top Fares From