The ideal thing for people to do right now to remain healthy and infection-free would be to continue staying at home. But if, for some reason, they have to step out and take a flight to somewhere, the window seat on the plane can provide some kind of a safety net. According to a report in the Insider, while the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has warned that “travel increases your chance of getting and spreading COVID-19”, people can take flights right now and ensure their safety.
While personal hygiene, wearing face masks at all times, washing hands after using the toilet can keep you safe, taking the window seat can also reduce the risk of infection.
Charles Gerba, a professor of virology at the University of Arizona has told the Insider that “because people are walking by you in the aisle seat, it’s shown in outbreaks and norovirus that people are more likely to get ill if they sit on the aisle because people are touching surfaces and walking by”.
Agreeing, Howard Weiss, a biomathematician and professor in the School of Mathematics at Georgia Tech and an adjunct professor of biology and public health at Emory University, said: “What we found was under normal circumstances — again, we’re talking direct transmission of large droplet transmitted infectious diseases — if you sit in a window seat, you are more than a meter (3 feet) away from the aisle,” he said. “So if you believe in the one-meter cut-off for infectious droplets, then you’re going to have far fewer close proximity contacts. So yes, there’s some added benefit to sitting in a window seat. It’s modest, but it’s certainly a benefit.”
It should be noted that though the CDC doesn’t recommend travelling, it says “most viruses and other germs do not spread easily on flights because of how air circulates and is filtered on airplanes”.
Needless to say, while flying out, check with your airline and follow the guidelines. Follow safety protocols as directed by the government and keep a mask and face shield on at all times.