Published On 02/12/2019 TO Inside Facility Management
Categories: Thought Leadership

Rest Uneasy

Airport seating presents significant health threats to passengers

Airport Seating and Passenger Health

“The arm rest in an airport seating area holds 105 times more germs than the average bathroom doorknob”...

With millions passing through them daily, it should come as no surprise that airports are jam-packed with germs. Yes, airports are teeming with germs, lurking in some of the most surprising areas. Most passengers are leery of bathrooms as they’ve garnered a reputation as the one place in an airport that holds the most germs. They’re leery of the bathrooms so they remain seated in the waiting areas—areas that are among the dirtiest in the entire airport complete with E.coli and a host of other harmful germs.

Research done by Auburn University shows that E.coli has an affinity for the rubber components found in most airport seating areas. With so many passengers passing through this area, the threat of exposure is constant. This is especially true during the busy travel seasons where passenger volumes spike and the crowds at waiting areas follow this same trend.

“A study done by Auburn University shows that E.coli can live on the arm rest portions found in airport waiting areas and planes for up to 96 hours—a full 4 days”...

This isn’t a matter any airport can take lightly as an outbreak could spell disaster. To keep this from occurring, several steps can be taken including:

  • Hire a reputable facilities management vendor who understands these challenges and is capable of deploying solutions to effectively manage them
  • Build an aggressive schedule that calls for all seated areas to be cleaned throughout the day
  • Perform an extensive cleaning during non-peak hours when visitor volumes are down
  • Provide a wipe station as many passengers have already become knowledgeable of these types of threats

Airports have fast become a necessary part of life but germs don’t have to be. With each year, the number of passengers airports serve grows. This will lead to an increase in the volume of germs and potential for contamination. In order to protect your most valuable asset—your customers, it’s important that you take the necessary precautions.


Bolluyt, Jess (2018 May 29) Retrieved from https://www.cheatsheet.com/culture/germiest-places-on-a-plane-in-the-airport.html/

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