Don’t Want to Catch a Bug on a Plane? Put at Least 2 Rows Between You and Sick Flyers
This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.
If you’re sitting within two seats or one row of a sick passenger on a plane, then there is more than an 80% chance that you will get sick, too.
That is one of the findings of a new study tracking airborne viruses passed from passengers and crew in aircraft cabins. Researchers wrote earlier this week in the medical journal PNAS that the location of your seat — and how often you leave it — could make all the difference in whether you arrive healthy or with the sniffles — or even the flu. It all boils down to whether there are sick people on board the flight — and how close you get to them.
The more a passenger gets out of their seat, the more likely they are to come in contact with an airborne germ or virus. Looking at the passengers of 10 transcontinental flights, the researchers found that about 38% of passengers never left their seats, and roughly the same percentage got up just once. About 13% of passengers got up twice and 11% left their seats more than twice.
The good news? According to the study, if you’re not one of the unlucky people within one row or a couple seats of a plane’s patient zero, you only have about a 3% chance of catching a bug.
“Passengers should not be concerned about getting sick from somebody coughing, for instance, five rows behind them,” the lead author of the study, Vicki Stover Hertzberg, told CNN. “The results of this study have not prevented me from flying.”
Hertzberg and her team also found that aboard the transcon flights examined in the study, flight attendants had about 67 minutes of passenger interaction time. Based on that, the team estimates that one sick flight attendant could infect up to five unsuspecting passengers per plane.
A recent plane full of people learned this lesson the hard way. An Emirates flight from Dubai (DXB) to New York (JFK) had to be quarantined upon arrival because at least 10 passengers had fallen ill with flu-like symptoms on board. The plane was met be the Centers of Disease Control at landing, and the sick passengers were taken directly to the hospital via ambulances for further treatment.
Featured image by Shutterstock.
Welcome to The Points Guy!
Earn 90,000 bonus miles and 10,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new card in the first three months of card membership. Offer ends 11/10/2021.
With Status Boost™, earn 10,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, up to two times per year getting you closer to Medallion Status. Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels, 2X Miles at restaurants and at U.S. supermarkets and earn 1X Mile on all other eligible purchases. Terms Apply.
- Limited Time Offer: Earn 90,000 Bonus Miles and 10,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. Offer expires 11/10/2021.
- Earn up to 20,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) with Status Boost® per year. After you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, you can earn 10,000 MQMs two times per year, getting you closer to Medallion® Status. MQMs are used to determine Medallion® Status and are different than miles you earn toward flights.
- Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels.
- Earn 2X Miles at restaurants worldwide, including takeout and delivery and at U.S. supermarkets.
- Earn 1X Miles on all other eligible purchases.
- Receive a Domestic Main Cabin round-trip companion certificate each year upon renewal of your Card. *Payment of the government imposed taxes and fees of no more than $75 for roundtrip domestic flights (for itineraries with up to four flight segments) is required. Baggage charges and other restrictions apply. See terms and conditions for details.
- Enjoy your first checked bag free on Delta flights.
- Fee Credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓®.
- Enjoy an exclusive rate of $39 per person per visit to enter the Delta Sky Club® for you and up to two guests when traveling on a Delta flight.
- No Foreign Transaction Fees.
- $250 Annual Fee.
- Terms Apply.
- See Rates & Fees