IF you want to increase your chances of avoiding coronavirus and other bugs on a plane, make sure you pick a window seat.
That’s according to new research from the scientists at Emory University, who looked at behaviours of passengers and airline crew across ten, three-hour to five-hour flights in the US.
According to the study by the university’s “FlyHealthy Research Team”, those who were seated in the window had less contact with potentially infected people, National Geographic reported.
Respiratory illnesses, like coronavirus, are generally spread through a person coming into contact with an infected person’s saliva or mucus.
Droplets from a sneeze or cough can land on surfaces, such as tray tables or arm rests, and potentially infect a nearby passenger sharing the enclosed space.
Vicki Stover Hertzberg of Emory University and Howard Weiss of Penn State, who led the study together, discovered that those sitting in window seats had fewer interactions with other passengers — beyond those sitting within two rows of them — thus limiting their chances of interacting with an infected person.
Those seated in aisle seats, however, were more likely to come into contact with passengers moving about the cabin to use the lavatory or with the airline’s crew members — an average of 64 contacts, versus the window seat’s 12.
Professor Weiss told National Geographic: “Suppose you’re seated in an aisle seat or a middle seat and I walk by to go to the lavatory, we’re going to be in close contact, meaning we’ll be within a meter.
“So if I’m infected, I could transmit to you… Ours was the first study to quantify this.”
A 2018 study showed most passengers got up from their seats at some point during the flight. Those seated in window seats were least likely to move from their seats.
Only 43 percent of those seated in the window got up, as opposed to 80 percent of those in the aisle.
The limited research did point out the test was not conducted over long-haul flights, or on planes with two aisles.
However, the research does state that regardless of seating, there is a fairly low risk of transmission of the virus if you’re seated in middle or aisle seats as other passengers will be “moving quickly” down the aisle.
Professor Weiss said: “In aggregate, what we show is there’s quite a low probability of transmission to any particular passenger.”
The study also said the research model does not account for the transmission of aerosols, which is possibly how coronavirus can be spread.
To protect yourself while in close proximity to others, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends washing your hands with soap and water, or using hand sanitiser after touching surfaces. You should also avoid touching your face or mouth.
Countries including UK and US have advised citizens against all but essential travel to China as the death toll hits 170.
Thailand is also facing a crisis as it’s one of the most popular destinations for Chinese tourists.
Terrified passengers have resorted to wearing plastic bottles to protect themselves in public spaces.
This article was originally published by Fox News and was reproduced with permission.