Does Airplane Air Really Get You Sick?

Posted in In the Air

Here at Fly&Dine, we’re not just concerned with food as it relates to eating. Food is a bigger issue, integral to survival and economics and a whole bunch of other categories. Today, we’re talking about food and health. Specifically the age-old question: Does airplane air really get you sick?


Common sense would dictate that cramming a bunch of disgusting animals (i.e. humans) into an enclosed space would get everybody sick. The truth, though – according to an interview with Dr. Adesh Adalja, an infectious disease physician at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center – is that airplane air quality is actually higher quality than that of most office buildings. That’s because airplanes have major filters that take care of the recycled air and a good chunk of the air you’re breathing actually comes from the atmosphere outside anyway.


The real trouble comes when you touch things – the door handle to the bathroom, your tray table, the wall next to your window seat. The good news is that pathogenic bacteria can only last for a few hours, so your odds of staying healthy are pretty good. If you’re really worried about it, bring some anti-bacterial wipes and wipe off your tray table before using it and squeeze a little Purell into your hand for extra coverage as you move about the cabin.


So does airplane air really get you sick? Not so much. Unless of course, your seatmate is carrying the norovirus and coughs on your repeatedly. If that’s the case, find the Air Marshall and borrow his/her taser. Nobody will fault you.


The real reason you leave a plane feeling icky is simple dehydration. Luckily, there’s a solution for that: drink water. Instead of that tomato juice or ginger ale, just ask for a glass of water. I prefer to ask for one with no ice so I’m not stuck waiting for extra cubes to melt and unlock the watery goodness within.


Stay healthy, Fly&Diners! Don’t forget: you can win $50 to The Counter just by leaving your favorite burger topping in the comments section of my interview with Hack My Trip. With locations at SAN and MIA, you’ve got free burgers on the horizon. Enter now!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *