HONOLULU - An airline cabin can double as a flying petri dish when not maintained properly. 

The enclosed space, recirculated air and large numbers of people make planes prime breeding grounds for bacteria. 

The tray table, the place where passengers rest their food, was by far the most contaminated surface tested. 

It was followed by the overhead air vent, the laboratory flush button and the seat belt buckle. 

So what can travelers do to help fend off illness above cruising altitude?

  • Carry antibacterial wipes and hand sanitizer
  • Wipe down tray tables seat belt buckles armrests and seat back pockets when you sit down
  • Hydrate, because the air in the plane's cabin is recirculated it contains less humidity than most people are used to
  • Choose a window seat

People who sit by the window have the smallest risk of infection because they have the least contact with other passengers.