Hygiene of airline passengers are most contaminated

Study warns of shaking the hands of strangers in an airport

BRUSSELS, Belgium — In a study sponsored by the Federation of Lavatory Operators (FLO) and reported here at the annual convention of the International Association of Airport Operators (IAAO), it was noted that airline passengers are the most contaminated passengers of any transportation system.


“On a bus, in a taxi and on many trains and boats, you can open a window to get some fresh air. You can’t do that in a commercial airliner,” said Cruz Resterneau, spokesman for the Federation, adding, “but that’s just part of the problem. Lack of access to and more importantly, the improper use of sanitary lavatory facilities are significant factors contributing to airline passenger contamination.”

Among the study’s findings was that, worldwide, only 47 percent of the people observed washed their hands after micturating in an airport restroom while 23 percent failed to wash their hands after — as Cecelia Francille, one of the authors of the report put it — “a Number Two event.” Resterneau noted that these figures are well above the percentages of passengers using lavatories in other transportation terminals.


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Also noted in the study was that female travelers were, on average, less hygienically responsible than males and that travelers in the southern hemisphere had twice the contamination than their counterparts north of the equator. 

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