These Are the Chances Your Seatmate Will Make You Sick on a Flight

These Are the Chances Your Seatmate Will Make You Sick on a Flight

This study says some spaces on the plane are worse than others, when it comes to catching an infection.

A recent Emirates flight coming into JFK airport in New York from Dubai had to be met by officials from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on the tarmac. About 10 passengers had been hacking their way through the flight, and were pushing fevers over 100.

Fearing an unstoppable infectious disease could be about to set up shop in America, officials checked passengers for signs of sickness, and took those who were ill to a hospital for analysis and monitoring.

It now turns out that those who had fallen ill seemed to have been traveling with a bout of influenza, and nothing more.

(Although, flu can be serious on its own, of course).

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What are the chances that the entire population aboard that plane is now going to fall sick with the same thing, in the coming days?

While it’s always possible to catch something while traveling, experts have some reassuring words.

According to a post on Global News, a study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences you’re not as likely as you think to catch a fellow passenger’s cold. It may seem like sitting beside a sick seatmate would be the worst scenario possible, but science has found this isn’t the case.  If you’re on a four- or five-hour flight on a plane with one aisle, your risk of getting sick is highest if you’re sitting one row ahead, one row behind, or within two seats side-to-side of someone fighting the flu.

People outside this area are at a much lower risk of falling sick. Microbiologists say that you’re unlikely to get sick from just inhaling the air in the cabin since it’s exchanged so often. Good news.

So, it’s possible to catch something, but not always likely. Still skeptical? Get a mask and bring some hand sanitizer and enjoy the flight.


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