Where most germs lurk on the plane
According to a survey, most passengers on the plane prefer a window seat. There you can enjoy an unobstructed view of the clouds and you can lean better. But what about virus protection?
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MAn can look out, lean against the wall while sleeping and is not disturbed by fellow travelers who climb over you on the way to the toilet – the advantages of a window seat on the plane are obvious. A survey by the flight search engine Skyscanner confirms this: According to this, 60 percent of all passengers prefer a seat by the window, 39 percent prefer to sit in the aisle, only one percent consciously choose the middle seat.
There is another reason that makes the window seats the most popular on the plane: If you sit there and don’t get up on the way, you have the best chance of not catching germs or viruses from other passengers – because statistically you are in contact with fewer other people on board comes as in the other places. An important seat advantage in times of coronavirus.
Specifically, window seat passengers only have contact with an average of twelve people on a flight, while on the middle seat there are 58, and those who sit in the aisle even get 64. The numbers – regardless of the coronavirus – were found by the Fly Healthy Research Team of 2018 Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia. For the study, passengers and crew members on ten flights to the USA lasting three to five hours were examined.
Where most viruses are transmitted on the plane
The study results partly coincide with a study by the World Health Organization, according to which viruses in aircraft are mainly transmitted where people sit close to each other in the same area of an aircraft – the WHO speaks of a risk of infection within two rows of seats.
However, the WHO study does not take into account the fact that many people stretch their legs on board, others go to the toilet or rummage in the overhead locker – all of these are further contact and virus transmission options that the American study classifies more realistically.
So what can you do to reduce the risk of infection on the plane? First of all, what you have already learned in kindergarten: Anyone who sneezes or coughs holds a handkerchief to their mouth or sneezes into the crook of their arm. Then you can of course try to reserve a window seat, which in a typical airplane with a central aisle and rows of three seats will only be possible for a third of the guests.
Otherwise, do not touch anyone on board – if we had the opportunity, we could also get rid of the impolite bumping into the narrow aisle, that would not only be a step forward from a medical point of view, but also a civilizational gain for everyone. You should also refrain from going to the toilet – this reduces the contact with fellow passengers and you don’t even expose yourself to the bacteria and viruses that naturally lurk in the on-board toilet.
How Naomi Campbell protects herself from germs
However, there is another place on the plane that is much more contaminated with germs than the toilet and that every passenger has right in front of their noses: the folding table.
According to the travel planning portal Travelmath, which commissioned a corresponding study in 2018, the bacterial load of an airplane folding table (regardless of whether it is a window seat or not) is around eight times higher than the toilet flush button because the table surface is cleaned much less frequently and less thoroughly. So if you want to be on the safe side, don’t even use the folding table or have a disinfectant with you to sterilize the shelf.
Supermodel Naomi Campbell apparently got wind of the study – at least she confessed in a Youtube clip in 2019 that she puts on disposable gloves before every flight and wipes the table, armrests, remote control and wall paneling with wet wipes.
“I clean everything I touch, on every plane I get on.” She always wears a face mask on board and she always has her own blanket with her to cover the seat, which she regularly uses after landing Hotel wash.
However, the risk of having too close contact with fellow passengers is manageable with her, because she does not travel in the narrow wood class, but prefers first or business armchairs.
This article was first published in March 2019.
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