Risk of infection on the plane

Air travel can be exciting, but there’s also a concern that many of us share: the risk of infection on planes.

In this article, we’ll go over the facts and give you practical tips on how to protect yourself from illness while flying.

Learn how to make your trip safe and healthy without losing the joy of flying.


Table of contents

What is the likelihood of contracting corona on an airplane?

You want to finally pack your bags, book a plane ticket and hit the road? Corona has given many a traveler a run for their money. And, of course, there is the question of how high the risk of infection with Corona is on the plane. We have compiled the most important information for you.

Air travel in the age of Corona?

The first relaxations of the measures against Corona give hope. But is this hope justified? Finally, since the beginning of the corona crisis, there have been warnings about larger groups indoors as a driver of infection. Home offices and contact restrictions did not come about by chance – and is an airplane in the end nothing more than a closed room in which numerous people hold out for several hours on their way to a dream vacation spot?

In fact, sophisticated filters are used to ensure virtually virus-free air in the cabin. In addition, however, passengers should observe further hygiene measures in order to give Corona no chance on the plane either.

Airlines with sophisticated hygiene concepts

If you want to protect yourself from infection with the new type of coronavirus, but would still like to travel, you should find out in advance about the airlines’ hygiene policies. These measures should definitely be part of the concept:

Disinfection is mandatory

Does the airline provide sanitizer for cleaning hands before boarding? Ideally, there are also well-stocked disinfection dispensers in the airport and guests are encouraged to disinfect their hands again before boarding.

Mask obligation

By now, most people have become accustomed to the mask. And it should also be worn consistently on the plane. Especially on shorter flights, this should not be a problem – and required by the airline.

Staggered boarding

Do you remember the last time you boarded before the Corona Crisis began? In no time at all, most of the passengers were lined up in a large cluster to get on the plane as quickly as possible. For greater safety, the airline should have a good strategy ready for boarding at a distance.

Queuing is avoided

If queuing, then with distance. However, it would be better to have a fast check-in, so that passengers do not have to queue up for a long time, but can board and take their seats directly.

Before the flight

Before your flight, of course, you’ll have a few tasks to do to keep yourself – and those around you – safe. These are the things you should think about before your flight:

Negative corona test

At least one rapid test, better a PCR test should be available at departure. Thus, there is already a certain degree of certainty that you are not contagious at the time of the flight.

Sufficient masks

Masks should be changed regularly – otherwise they become a breeding ground for bacteria and viruses. Therefore, make sure you have enough masks in your hand luggage so that you are well supplied even on a long-haul flight.

Sufficient disinfectant

In principle, you should not disinfect your hands too often, but during your flight you should ensure perfect hand hygiene.

HEPA filter in airplane

The abbreviation HEPA stands for High-Efficiency Particulate Air. These are filters designed to clean the air in the cabin and filter aerosols from the air. This should reduce the number of aerosols in the cabin. Because the lower the number of aerosols in the air, the lower the risk of infection.

However, the air exchange in the aircraft takes too long to completely expose the risk of infection. That’s why you should definitely wear a mask even on the plane.

How exactly is aircraft air purified?

The air is cleaned by the HEPA filter as follows: the used air is drawn out of the booth into ventilation slots between the floor and walls, cleaned and then mixed with fresh air. The air mixture finds its way back into the booth through nozzles mounted on the ceiling. The goal is to have a vertical airflow between the nozzles on the ceiling and the suction to the floor. This should allow regular air exchange without problems and keep the number of aerosols low.

Risk of infection on the plane low but still possible

Since the procedure of exchanging all the air in the cabin takes several minutes and passengers are sometimes seated close to each other, the risk of infection is still present. Thus, if an (undetected) coronapositive person is on board, he or she can still infect other passengers, especially if the distance of 1.5 meters is not maintained. Nevertheless, the risk of infection is reduced due to the HEPA filters.

Additional own protective measures can be useful

The negative coronatest is at the start, you have suitable masks in your bag and kept a proper distance during boarding? In addition, be sure to carry disinfectant to clean your hands after contact with objects that also touch others.

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