Air travel today looks vastly different from what it was before. The fear of COVID-19 transmission has significantly reduced the demand for air travel, causing airlines to cut back their flights. We’ve all been adapting to the new normal over the past several months and travel is now slowly coming back.
While traveling by plane during this time may seem scarier than ever before, according to a recent study, the risk of getting infected on the plane is actually quite low. On a full flight, the odds of infection are just 1 in 4,300, and the odds lower to 1 in 7,700 if the airline has adopted the middle seat open policy. Note that current flights are also generally not full due to low demand in travel.
How does COVID-19 spread?
Current evidence supports that COVID-19 is transmitted between individuals through droplets released from the mouth or nose of an infected person by coughing, sneezing, and even speaking. This is why it is important to social distance, staying at least 6 feet apart from others. Some states also require wearing a face mask in public places, especially where it is difficult to social distance, to further slow the spread, as the face mask keeps the respiratory droplets from reaching others.
What are airlines doing to keep us safe?
If you’re worried about the air quality on the plane, aircrafts are equipped with HEPA filters that eliminate 99.9% of particles, including viruses such as COVID-19. Airlines have also been taking additional steps to limit the spread while at the airport and in the aircraft, such as thoroughly cleaning high-touch surfaces (e.g. armrest, seatbelt, tray table), blocking of middle seats, and requiring its passengers to wear a mask.
Which seat is the safest?
According to study conducted by public health researchers, suggests that window seats are generally the safest. Considering window seats have the least movements and interactions (especially since middle seats are blocked by some airlines), it is no doubt that you're less prone to get infected if you choose a window seat.
Photo sourced from The National Geographic
In conclusion, although we can’t completely avoid getting in contact with others, we can take steps to prevent infection. Observing proper personal hygiene is highly recommended to combat the spread of this virus. By washing your hands regularly, wearing face coverings, and observing physical distancing, our chances of getting infected is very minimal. Should you need any assistance, we are here to help anytime!