Flying in the presence of Corona
Many ask me about the dangers of flying from the point of view of the danger of contracting the corona virus, and recently, with the opening of the sky, I received requests for advice about flight, where to sit, and other questions pertaining to our safety in flight. If you are worried because of the long downtime of the entire industry, you can read this article.
So here is my recommendation for a flight during the Corona era
Important Note: I remind you that I am neither a therapist nor a doctor, and in any case of conflict between my recommendations and those of experts – listen to them. It is always mandatory to obey the aircraft crew.
As I detailed in the article on airflow in an airplane, it is important to remember that the air in the airplane is constantly changing. We breathe air that came from outside, right from the free air and there is no tangible danger of infection. This air comes to us mostly from the ceiling of the plane, there are different models of planes, but generally, it is true. The air continues from the passenger compartment to the cargo holds, and on its way back to us it passes through filters that are supposed to filter over 99% of the particles in the air. These filters that meet the High-efficiency particulate air HEPA standard guarantee us a very high level of certainty against bacteria and other particles that carry viruses.
The air (blue) enters the plane, is compressed and heated (red), passes through the passenger compartment and the cargo bin before it is released out behind the plane
Hence the risk arising from the air in the aircraft is very low. Much less than staying in a room, driving a car, sitting in a restaurant, and more.
Where to sit on board the plane?
In my opinion, the main danger of infection stems from two sources:
1. Touching contaminated surfaces
2. Exposure to a sick person
In the first case – all the rules that have unfortunately been used in recent months – apply; Avoid touching surfaces (or wear protective gloves and throw them away after use). Such surfaces are present in the terminal, in the guardrails, and also inside the aircraft. On the plane, however, you are usually more protected because the planes are disinfected between flights. Still, accessing toilets for example is a place where you may encounter such surfaces – so be careful. In the case of exposure to a patient, here are some recommendations:
1. Avoid crowding when getting on or off the plane. If necessary wait on the side until there is no pressure.
2. Seat type? If possible, sitting in the business class or any preferred seat like an emergency exit or seats with larger legroom will provide a better distancing.
3. Forward or backward? There is no big difference, except that in the first row of the plane there is no one sitting in front of you, which reduces the number of people around who can sneeze, cough, and endanger you.
4. Window or aisle seat? I certainly recommend selecting a window seat! The reason is that it guarantees you one side where no passenger is sitting. Our only danger is from being close to another passenger so a window is preferable.
Flight is still a safe activity, where any risk for an unsafe event receives comprehensive treatment, for more details on the leading concept of aviation, look at this article. Even at this time, with all the uncertainties, the aviation world gives a correct answer to the danger of infection, and your correct behavior will ensure a safe and healthy flight.