Unless you want to wear a bio-hazard suit, here is a list of what you can do to avoid catching the Flu on an airplane.
According to National Air Traffic Controllers Association resources, there are an average 26,527 passenger flights per day and 5,000 aircraft in the sky at any given time over the United States.
The latest NATCA data also indicates that 928,900,000 passengers were served during 2016. That averages to more than 2.5 million passengers per day across the USA.
Especially during Flu Season, odds are that many of those travelers are likely carrying the flu on an airplane (or a ‘cold’)…
USE BATHROOM BEFORE HEADING TO THE AIRPORT.
Try to empty out your bladder beforehand and avoid hydrating too much before or during the flight. Why? Because you should avoid using the toilet on the plane.
DON’T USE THE TOILET ON AN AIRPLANE.
Unless you absolutely must go, stay out of the restroom. Typically there is approximately 1 toilet per 50 passengers on an airplane. Hundreds upon hundreds of people use these bathrooms during the day. Need I say more?
BETTER HABITS TO AVOID GERMS IN AIRPLANE BATHROOM.
If you must go, use a napkin, towel, or ‘wipe’ to open the door latch. Then throw it away. Use your elbow to open the bathroom door inward.
Use a sanitary wipe and/or seat cover for the toilet. Note that not only the toilet, but the area around the tiny sink is notoriously teaming with germs.
Wash your hands (20 seconds) before leaving the bathroom!
AVOID THE AISLE SEAT.
While most people like the aisle seat, they are the most likely to contain germs, infections, virus, flu, etc..
Why? Because passengers will use the aisle seats to stabilize themselves as they walk in the cabin aisle. If they’re sick or infected with the flu (or whatever), their hands may contaminate the surfaces that they contact. (Maybe they sneezed into their hands earlier, or wiped their nose…)
IF IT ISN’T YOURS, DON’T TOUCH IT.
Avoid touching surfaces that you don’t need to touch. Sometimes you must, however you have a choice.
For example don’t thumb through the magazines in the seat-back pocket in front of you. Bring your own reading material.
CLEAN THE ARM RESTS AND TRAY TABLE WITH SANITARY WIPES.
While presumably there is some sort of cleanup between flights , don’t count on disinfection. Bring your own.
Don’t use or touch the tray table unless you must. Otherwise, ‘wipes’.
DON’T USE THE SEAT-BACK POCKETS.
They tend to be filthy and accumulate all sorts of ‘stuff’ form other passengers.
With a sanitary wipe, clean your tray table (only if you’re going to touch it and use it).
IF SOMEONE COUGHS OR SNEEZES NEARBY, HOLD YOUR BREATH!
Hold it for (at least) several seconds. Longer if you can. Similarly, look away from the cough (particles can infect via the eyes too). The ventilation system will draw it away after a bit…
AIRPLANE VENTILATION SYSTEM (HOW IT WORKS)
Fresh air from outside the plane is bled from the engine’s compressors. Then HEPA filtered, heated, and processed in an air conditioning pack and pumped into the cabin. Cabin pressure is controlled to approximately 8,000 feet altitude by outflow valves.
The filtered airflow direction in most airplanes does not flow from front to back, but from the ceiling to the floor. This also minimizes cross-contamination of breathing someone else’s air – except from those immediately next to you.
DON’T RUB YOUR EYES, NOSE, MOUTH.
Don’t touch your potentially contaminated hands to your eyes, nose or mouth. This is primarily how the flu or other germs will ‘get in’.
BAND AID ANY CUTS THAT YOU MAY HAVE.
Preemptively make sure… if you have any cuts, deep scrapes or wounds that you have them covered up (band-aid, etc.). An exposed cut or even slight skin tear can be an easy entry point for the flu or other such germs into your bloodstream.
AVOID FLYING ALTOGETHER!