This Is the Most Dangerous Place to Sit on an Airplane Right Now
Though flying is still not recommended, if you must travel, avoid this one seat at all costs.
Make no mistake: Flying is still very risky, even as states are starting to reopen. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), it's difficult to social distance by the recommended six feet when you're in a cramped cabin on a plane. (And really, who doesn't despise being stuffed in like sardines, with zero personal space?) But if you absolutely must travel amid the coronavirus pandemic, there is one airplane seat you should avoid like the plague: the aisle.
Though the aisle seat may give you some coveted legroom, it's also a highly-trafficked spot. Think about it: Flight attendants constantly walk right by you and other passengers make regular restroom runs. In fact, roughly 80 percent of passengers in aisle seats moved around during flights—compared with 60 percent in middle seats and 40 percent in window seats—according to a 2018 study published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. This close contact with other people makes it easy for respiratory droplets, like those containing COVID-19, to be passed along.
"If it's a crowded flight, you can't go up those aisles without accidentally touching someone who's just seated there," Mark Gendreau, MD, chief medical officer at Beverly Hospital in Massachusetts told NPR.
If you're looking for the safest place to sit, consider the window seat. The researchers monitored five round-trip bicoastal flights and found that passengers who sat by the window and did not get up during the trip were the least likely to get infected. This is because they're farther from other people, unlike those in the aisle seat in the center of the action.
Another perk? You'll have plenty of room to yourself since most carriers—including Delta, American, United, Southwest, and Qantas—have stopped selling middle seats in order to help keep passengers apart. And for more things you should know before you jet off, check out the 7 Worst Mistakes to Avoid If You Have to Fly Right Now.