I used to fly a lot for work. After getting sick a few times (and seeing the movie Contagion) I started being hyper-aware of everything and everyone I touched. Like a lot of people, I assumed planes were filthy places riddled with germs. And — spoiler alert — they are. 🤢
But, according to a recently published study, your risk of catching the flu on a crowded airplane actually isn't as high as you might think, and there are apparently a few things you can do to keep it low:
Stay in your seat. People who get up and move around are more likely to be exposed to sick passengers. And using the lavatory means you'll be touching things dozens of other passengers have touched.
Avoid the aisle. People in aisle seats have the most contact with other passengers, and the tops of the aisle seats themselves tend to be dirtier because passengers touch them as they move around the cabin. The best seat for germaphobes is the window seat.
Sit at the front or back of the plane. Passengers in the middle of the plane have more contact with other people than those who sit near the front or back.
Practice good hand hygiene. If you do have to use the lavatory, wash your hands and then use hand sanitizer once you get back to your seat. For bonus points, bring a sanitizing wipe and wipe down the tray table, arm rests, and seat belt buckle.
I feel a little better knowing planes aren't quite the disease factories I thought they were. How about you?