a row of seats in an airplane

There’s something truly tragic about shelling out a small fortune for a vacation in paradise, boarding a plane, catching a brutal cold and spending you entire time in paradise, cooped up in a hotel room with the chills. There are plenty of steps you can undertake to avoid getting sick on the plane, but even with the best practices – where you choose to sit can make all the difference! A new scientific study from Boeing and Emory University shows where you’re least likely to get sick on an airplane, so here’s everything you need to know.

a view of the wing of an airplaneBest Practices

Before we get into the best seats, it’s worth knowing a few tips to keep you from getting sick, wherever you prefer to sit. The single best way to avoid getting sick on a plane is self catering. Bring your own water, snacks, entertainment and try to touch as few items on board as possible. The tray table is a germ factory, so is the seat back entertainment screen, the safety card and just about everything else. A scarf can be a clever way to politely shield your nose and mouth if someone is sneezing, as well. And hot tip: the shorter time you spend in the lavatory, the better.

Window Seat

Emory University conducted a study on behalf of Boeing and the results are interesting. The study sent scientists on flights all over the country, examining dirty surfaces on planes and surveying passengers. Yikes! The people most likely to get sick on any plane are the 11 people in a radius around a sneezing person. The two people on either side of the person and the people seated in the rows immediately in front of or behind the sneezing passenger are most likely to be impacted by the spray of a cough. But despite the sneeze radius, one seat yielded the best resistance to illness: the window seat.

Stay Seated

Window seat passengers are on average 19% less likely to get up during flight than middle seat passengers, and almost half as likely as aisle seat dwellers. Clearly, some passengers have not read the guide to plane etiquette. By avoiding other passengers, self catering and staying near the circulating air vents along the walls, window seat passengers were proven less likely to fall ill during a flight. Vicki Hertzberg PhD, the studies lead researcher from Emory University told the New York Times if a passenger wants to avoid getting sick “get in that window seat, and don’t move”.

HT: New York Times

Gilbert Ott

Gilbert Ott is an ever curious traveler and one of the world's leading travel experts. His adventures take him all over the globe, often spanning over 200,000 miles a year and his travel exploits are regularly...

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