Can you really avoid getting sick on a plane? Scientists say yes – it all depends where you sit
If you’re like me and swab every surface of your seat when you fly, you’ll be interested to learn that US researchers have confirmed you have an 80 per cent chance of getting sick if you are sitting directly next to, in front of and behind someone with a cough, cold or flu.
But this drops to just three per cent once you’re outside this zone.
How did they work this out?
They flew on 10 different cross-country flights and tracked passenger movements though an iPad app, including how often they interacted with each other and how often they left their seats.
People within one metre of a sick person were most likely to fall ill over the course of the flight.
Beating the dreaded plane lurgy
So can you do anything to ensure you escape the plane bug-free?
Get a window seat and stay there as much as you can – middle seats are the next best, while aisle seats are the worst for passing around germs.
The researchers also recommend not touching your eyes, face or shared surfaces.
If you do end up sitting next to someone who is sick, try to face away from them, wash your hands frequently and use hand sanitiser.
Of course, they warn you can still catch something before you get on the plane.
Time to pack the Haz-Mat suit?