How Not To Get Sick on a Plane

How Not To Get Sick on a Plane

There are typically three reasons why someone in a house gets sick. They are because one member of the household:

  • Still goes to school, which is a germ factory without equal
  • Works in an office where the boss frowns upon people calling in sick, leading to creation of a germ factory
  • Just took an airplane flight

It doesn’t take Alexander Fleming to know that airplanes are a petri dish of germs. People from across the country and around the world, all crammed into a compact area, and who knows which ones go to school or what kind of horrible “you’re not really sick” bosses they have?

Now comes the part where we remind you that sneezes can travel 200 feet, if not covered at the source. Ugh.

Still, plenty of seasoned travelers fly all around the planet and don’t get sick. How do they do it? By reading tips like the ones you are about to read.

Don’t Use the Bathroom

Right before passengers line up to board your flight, use the bathroom at the airport. Don’t drink tons of water before your flight. The reason why is that airplane bathrooms are used by, well, everyone. And germs tend to gather on the sink, toilet seats and door handles. If your flight is short enough, avoid the bathroom.

Drink Water, Not Coffee or Alcohol

You do want to drink water once you get in the air, though. The reason why so many people pick up colds – in addition to the close quarters with many other people – is that the humidity in the air is far lower than what our bodies are used to on the ground. Membranes in the nose and air passages can dry out, making you more susceptible to bacteria and viruses. Water will keep you hydrated and those membranes moist. Coffee and alcohol will dehydrate you, so avoid them.

Keep Hands Clean

The bacteria that causes colds and flu can live for hours on skin, seatbacks and chair arms. Then you touch them. Then you eat some peanuts with your fingers. Then, you’re home with the flu a few days later. It’s always a good idea to keep your hands clean, especially on a plane. Use hand sanitizer or wash with warm, soapy water.

Don’t Touch Your Face

Yes, this is what you tell kids in certain situations. But it really works on airplanes, too. Biting your nails, eating with your bare fingers, scratching your nose – all this provides a really easy transport system for any bacteria or viruses that get past your hand washing or sanitizing. Don’t make it easy for them.

Use the Air Vent

Ever notice the seasoned business traveler who always turns on the air vent and has it blow on her? That’s to blow any airborne germs away from her face. And that’s a smart thing to do. As we indicated in our 2016 article “Airline Air Quality” on average, cabin air is completely refreshed 20 times per hour, compared with just 12 times per hour in an office building. On most aircraft, air is also circulated through hospital-grade HEPA filters, which remove over 99% of bacteria, as well as the airborne particles that viruses use for transport.

If You’re Injured

You especially want to follow all these rules if you are injured. Fortunately, by working with the airlines or hiring a professional non-emergency medical transport company, you can get assistance in getting a seat that is the most comfortable, staying hydrated, etc. For other tips on traveling while injured, look here.

Let’s face it. There’s no guarantee you won’t get sick on a plane. But these tips help thousands of people get through a flight with no problems. Just be prepared and you have a better shot at arriving at your destination bacteria and virus free.

What Is The Best Seat on an Airplane?

What Is The Best Seat on an Airplane?

Everyone wants to find the best seat on an airplane, but everyone has different wants and needs. Depending on your preference and situation, you can seek out a window seat for great views and the best sleeping, an aisle seat for easier access, a middle seat to get closer to the front, seats close to the exit doors for peace of mind or seats close to the bathroom (for obvious reasons).

These days, boarding a plane can become a free-for-all. Many airlines do not give out seat assignments. Finding the right seat requires having a plan. Those who don’t sometimes end up being featured on those YouTube videos about angry airplane passengers.

You don’t want to be one of those people! Consider these suggestions before you even get to the airport and have a plan before you board.

Choosing the Window Seat

This is the first choice of many. That’s why these seats fill up fast. They are great for the obvious reason – you get a view out the plane. Another advantage is that you can use a hoodie or jacket for a pillow and lay your head against the inside wall of the plane. That’s one of the best in-flight sleep positions you can find. If you want a window seat because of the view, just make sure you don’t pick one that’s over one of the wings.

Choosing the Aisle Seat

Aisle seats have a bad reputation because your legs get bumped by other passengers and (even worse) the drink cart pushed by flight attendants. You can avoid this by staying awake and paying attention. The hassle is worth it if you need a seat that you can get into and out of quickly because you want to stretch your legs or make frequent bathroom trips.

Choosing a Seat Near a Bathroom

If you suspect you’ll need to make frequent bathroom trips, then an aisle seat near the front or the back of the plane puts you where you want to be.

Choosing the Middle Seat

Who would choose the middle seat? You would, if you’re a relatively small or thin person who wants to sit near the front and be among the first people off the plane. The middle seats are often the last ones taken. You’ll be surprised to find how easy it is to find a middle seat near the front, even if you are among the last group to get on a plane.

Which Seat to Choose If You’re Injured or Impaired

Those flying with injuries or physical impairment should always call ahead and make arrangements with the airline. They will usually find the best seat for you (typically at or near the front). Make sure to arrive earlier than usual. You’ll want a seat that allows you the most room possible. You also can’t sit in the exit row. And you want to be near the bathroom to lessen the distance you must move if you need to make a bathroom trip. A smart move is to call a Non-Emergency Medical Transportation company, which not only can set all of this up for you but also have a nurse fly with you.

Other Tips

A few other things to think about when choosing a seat.

  • Quickly scout out the people around you if you can, looking for loud talkers or crying babies
  • Bring a book and start reading as soon as you’re seated if you’re not in the mood to have someone talk to you
  • Dress in layers, it can get cold at 30,000 feet
  • This is more luck than anything, but try to find a person who isn’t leaning the chair in front of you back

Those are some tips to keep in mind to make your flight that much more pleasant. Again, the key is to have a good plan and follow through. In this age of air travel, you must look out for yourself or risk getting stuck where you don’t want to sit.