fly the healthy skies
Study says to avoid getting sick on an airplane, pick a window seat
Airplane window seats: They let you curl up a little easier, avoid getting hit by the beverage cart, keep an eye out for gremlins on the wing, and apparently cut your risk of catching the flu.
In a study published Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, a team led by Vicki Hertzberg of Emory University wrote about the model they put together, called "Fantasy Flights," that showed how pathogens spread through airplanes. The team put together different simulations of how passengers move around the cabin during a transcontinental flight lasting three to five hours. They would make one person ill, and then see the probability of another passenger coming into contact with them.
Hertzberg told NPR that passengers overall had the greatest chance of getting ill when they sat next to or in the row in front of or behind the sick person. The window seats were safest because those passengers come in contact with fewer people, leave their seats less often, and are farther away from people walking in the aisle. "I have always chosen window seats," Hertzberg said. "But after this study, I have stopped moving around as much on flights." Germs are also on surfaces like the armrest or headrest, so wherever you're sitting on a plane, doctors advise using a hand sanitizer with 60 percent alcohol throughout the duration of a flight.