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The simplest precaution can help you stay well in flight

March 23, 2018 Headline News 1 Comment Email Email

A paper published this week in a prestigious US scientific publication has shown, surprisingly, that the easiest way to stay healthy in flight is to choose the right seat – and it’s very easy to pick the right one.

The right seat is the window seat – any window seat.

The rationale is pretty obvious. Choose a window seat and stay there throughout your flight and you are less likely to come into contact with a sick passenger.

A paper published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences in the US says passengers in aisle seats are most likely to come into contact with potentially ill passengers or cabin crew. So the further away from the aisle, the better.

Researchers flew on 10 US domestic flights taking swabs and otherwise conducting research. They created disease transmission models based on passenger movement patterns, drawing on knowledge about the way respiratory illnesses are spread.

Obviously, the closer you are to a sick person coughing, sneezing or wheezing, the more likely you are to catch something. But apart from that, people in window seats have the lowest overall risk of catching something and getting ill, the researchers write.

To read more, and see the methodology, access the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences site here.

As well as avoiding disease, there’s another good reason to choose the window seat – quite apart from the fact that other passengers don’t clamber over you.

Some years ago, Sydney-based specialist travel and tourism lawyer, Anthony Cordato, noted in his advice to travellers that: “Baggage cases stowed in overhead lockers on aircraft can fall on your head in-flight – so too can a duty free bottle of whisky in a plastic bag. It’s a real and ever present danger. You run a greater risk of personal injury if you sit in an aisle seat – it increases the risk profile – compared with an inside or a window seat.”

So a window seat may keep you healthier and safer.

Written by Peter Needham

Currently there is "1 comment" on this Article:

  1. Owen Olsen says:

    Maybe so but if your immune system is weak in the first place it won’t matter where you sit. Bacteria in the air will travel the whole length of the cabin. I would suggest anyone flying to seek medical advice before travelling. If you require any medications or vaccinations get them sorted out several weeks before flying. Besides aisle seats have their advantages too. You are free to get up and walk and not clamber or hassle anyone in the process. You get served directly instead of getting your food tray handled by others. If you need something from the overhead locker and require to use the step to reach up you won’t be leaning over anyone else. If others need access to the locker you can get out of the way easily. In the unfortunate case of evacuation, you are out quicker. There are probably other good reasons too.

    As for the overhead lockers opening midflight…always make sure they are secured before sitting down. The FAs check these before takeoff anyway. If they open during a rough landing or in an accident there’s little that can be done. And not always will the contents strike the person in the aisle.

    Lastly if the person next to you is the one coughing or sneezing and you are the one closed in at the window wouldn’t it be better to be in the aisle seat so that you can get away when required…?

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