I often hear people say that they always get sick after a long-haul flight. “It’s all that stale air everyone is breathing”. Sure. So why are pilots and cabin crew not always sick?
The atmosphere outside the aircraft at 43,000 feet is a pretty hostile environment. You only need to look at climbers on the 29,000-foot Mount Everest to understand the challenges humans face in these conditions. As a result, the cabin of an aircraft is designed to keep the occupants comfortable. Not only in the ability to breathe easily, but also keeping that air fresh.
Are you more likely to get sick on a flight?
According to the World Health Organisation, research has shown that there is no greater risk of communicable diseases being spread on a flight than any other type of transport. In fact, due to the regular changing and cleaning of air in an aircraft, passengers on a flight are likely to be breathing better quality air than that on a train or bus.
Other studies have shown that there are low cases of bacteria and fungi, often less than is found in public places and private homes. Even during the SARS outbreak in 2003, the risk of transmission on aircraft was found to be very low.
So how do the pilots’ actions and the aircraft systems keep the air so clean?
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