From (the always entertaining) Carol Midgley in THE TIMES, 10 September 2018:
Opening my handbag to put it on the tray for airport scanning machines I often get a laugh from the security guards over my antibacterial kitchen wipes, which I consider an absolute travel must-have. The moment I sit down on a plane I whip out the wipes and give the armrests, tray table and seatbelt a good going over. Extra vigour is used if it’s to be a long flight.
I feel no embarrassment about this Howard Hughes behaviour, though my husband reads his paper and pretends he isn’t with me. On a couple of heady occasions other passengers have leant over and asked: “Might I have one of those?” which is most gratifying. Seatbelts worry me most, since they’re usually crusted with the remnants of a 2011 egg sandwich, plus I once saw a man sneeze into his hand then wipe it on the webbing. But apparently I’m hosing the wrong fire. A Finnish study has found the true germ reservoirs are those plastic security trays, which harbour more harmful viruses than anywhere else in an airport including the toilets.
Yes, I see that. They’re touched by hundreds of hands an hour and carry people’s shoes. But so what? You don’t spend 12 hours with your face 8 inches from a security tray. You don’t eat off it or sleep on it. At least those germy basins help prevent terrorism, unlike the previous passenger’s ketchup smear on the
in-flight brochure. So I refuse to get a phobia about them. But I do see why those security staff wear gloves.