Hand luggage comes with all sort of rules and restrictions these days. Baggage is scanned and even sometimes hand-searched by airport security to make sure nothing prohibited is taken onboard the aircraft. The bags are placed on a conveyor belt to pass through the machine while loose items are placed in a provided security tray.
However, an airport insider has warned why you should try to avoid doing this.
A US Transportation Security Administration (TSA) spokeswoman explained that putting items in the security bin can be a rather unhygienic move.
Lorie Dankers, Spokesman for TSA Idaho, told local news site Idaho News that the trays aren’t really cleaned that often.
Therefore it’s best to put as many items as you can in the hand luggage itself.
Passengers are advised to limit their contact with airport security bins, especially amid the coronavirus pandemic.
“That bin is a common use item,” Dankers explained.
“Think of it as the nation’s park bench, as we try to make the bins clean as much we can.
“We can’t make it clean for the next person.
“So it’s a common use item, treat it like a common use item.”
Research has shown to what extent the trays at airport security are a hotbed of germs.
An investigation was carried out by the University of Nottingham and the Finnish National Institute for Health and Welfare in 2016 to find where the dirtiest spot was in an airport.
The team tested a number of surfaces at Helsinki Airport in Finland.
They examined those which are frequently touched by travellers and airport staff.
These surfaces included toilet handles, armrests in waiting areas, kiosk screens and handrails on escalators.
However, out of all the items examined, airport trays were found to be the worst culprits.
Half of the trays examined in the study tested positive for flu and cold viruses.
The problem with the trays lies with the fact that passengers place a plethora of dirty items in them a regular basis.
These range from dentures, inhalers and toothbrushes to dirty shoes, children’s dummies and nappy bags.
What’s more, fliers are required to grab hold of the trays with their hands when passing through security.
Passengers are therefore advised to pack hand sanitiser in their cabin luggage and wash their hands after going through security.
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