Soon, Halloween will end, and the season we’re all dreading will start. Why flu season always has to coincide with the season most of us tend to get on an airplane is a vast mystery, beyond the fact that there’s always that jerk who can’t stay home and sneezes throughout the flight. Fortunately, Popular Science has found where not to sit when you spot said jerk.
The reason people so often get sick after a flight is not, as you might think, due to the recirculated air. The air is indeed recirculated in a cabin and mixed with “fresh” air, but it also goes through fairly strong filters in order to prevent, well, exactly what we’re talking about.
No, the real problem, as the video above shows, is proximity. Those most at risk of getting sick are actually to the right and left of the sick passenger; those in front or behind are far less likely to get any flu germs on them. Those in the row, however, thanks to how the air circulation system works, get the germs pulled across them before they’re sucked into the system and filtered out.
And this has gotten worse over time. Airlines are cramming in more passengers, putting more than forty extra passengers on some flights. So, essentially, have fun trying to switch seats. Maybe consider coating yourself in hand sanitizer? That might clear out the whole row!