The health risk increases in the front area of an aircraft
Many travelers reserve seats in the front of the plane for their flight. After all, you don't have to wait long when getting in or out. However, for health reasons, the seats in the first rows of an aircraft are not recommended, as shown in a study.
Health risks when traveling by air
Air travel poses a health risk for various reasons. Not only because the risk of thrombosis is increased on an airplane, but also because studies have shown that there is sometimes toxic air in aircraft cabins that can cause illness. In addition, getting into the machine can pose a risk, since boarding is particularly at risk of contracting infectious diseases. Passengers sitting far in front are particularly at risk.
Tripartite boarding is the worst method
"Air travel is the fastest way to get to your vacation destination, but it is also one of the fastest ways to spread infectious diseases," said an Arizona State University statement.
In a study, researchers from the University of the United States examined how diseases spread during air travel and how the risk can be reduced.
The scientists led by Professor Anuj Mubayi found that the currently common three-part boarding technique, in which passengers have to board first class, middle and rear aircraft, is the worst strategy to reduce the number of infected people.
The reason for this is that passengers are forced to stand close together with other people while waiting to get to their seats.
Pathogens can be easily transmitted. Those who sit far forward are therefore at greater risk as the passengers who have seats behind them have to pass them.
Spread of pathogens is encouraged
Scientists led by Ashok Srinivasan from Florida State University had reached similar results last year. On the basis of computer simulations, they showed that boarding in blocks favors the spread of pathogens.
"When you have multiple zones, people in the same zone tend to be very close to each other, close enough to transmit infections," Srinivasan said in a message.
As the experts found in their study, which was published in the specialist magazine "Physical Review", it would be cheaper if the cabin were instead filled lengthways, ie first to the right and then to the left.
Random principle is safer
The random principle is even better, since the passengers "are less likely to spend a longer time in the vicinity of others," says the study author.
"Overall, random boarding takes longer, but if passengers could choose to sit between Ebola and a few minutes later, we suspect they would prefer the latter."
The study also showed that infections are less common in smaller aircraft than in larger planes, as larger groups of passengers increase the risk of contracting a communicable disease.
The background to the investigation was the Ebola epidemic, which also spread through travelers in 2014 and was rampant in West Africa. At that time, the deadly disease had not been ruled out in Germany either. (ad)