Be reassured that the risk of contracting COVID-19, when wearing a mask on board, is very low.
There have been millions of flights since the start of the COVID-19 outbreak resulting in a few confirmed cases of transmission in-flight.
There are several reasons why this is the case:
- Seating position - Most of the time on board, you are seated facing forward rather than facing another person. This makes a big difference in terms of the chance of breathing in someone else’s expelled breath.
- Seat backs - A further barrier to COVID-19 spread is that high seatbacks act as a solid barrier.
- High airflow rate - Research has shown that the airflow in an aircraft (from ceiling to floor) is less conductive to droplet spread than other similar environments or modes of transport.
- Air exchange - Modern jet aircraft deliver high airflow and replacement rates, combined with hospital-grade High-Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) filters that are 99.9+% effective at removing viruses, bacteria and fungi. Cabin air is exchanged every 2-3 minutes.
- Mandatory usage of masks - According to a study from the University of Edinburgh, masks can limit the forward spread of droplets by more than 90% when you breathe, speak, cough or sneeze.
Unlike other modes of transport, the aircraft cabin environment makes the transmission of viruses difficult and we have seen a low occurrence of onboard transmission.
Why is sitting next to someone on a plane low risk?
It's unlikely an infected passenger will even get to sit next to you
Government health screening and departure biosafety measures minimize this
Virus-carrying droplets are unlikely to reach you:
(2) Cabin air flows downwards and is fully renewed with fresh air every 2-3 minutes
(3) Personal overhead ventilation can strengthen airflow downward
(4) All passengers face forwards, not at each other
Masks are a proven and effective barrier
(5) They should be worn throughout the travel process