If you dread stepping onboard an airplane for fear of getting sick, then you might want to double check your seat assignment. When it comes to immunity, nothing is a guarantee, but apparently you can increase your odds of avoiding sickness if you select a window seat and remain there for the whole flight.
According to a study published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, travelers moving about the cabin is more of a cause for concern than the recirculated air that gets such a bad rap. Since your seat assignment largely determines the likelihood you’ll get up from your seat, it also determines your chance of coming in contact with germs that will make you ill.
People sitting in the aisle seats are 80% likely to walk about the cabin, while only 62% of middle seats and 43% of window seat customers do the same. So if you can pick, go with the window. There’s nothing inherently less germ-ridden about the window seat — it’s just that window seat passengers are less likely to get up during the flight, or be disturbed by others to get up, and come in contact with additional passengers.
If your inner germaphobe is freaking out right now, you can relax a bit. While the media might have you certain you’ll contract illness on board, the study concluded that on a flight of about 150 people where one person is infectiously sick, only one person was likely to contract the illness themselves.
But regardless of what seat assignment you get, the next time you sit down on a flight with someone clearly sniffling, clutching a wad of tissues in their fist, turn on your overhead air vent to try to ward off as many germs from your space as possible.
(h/t Travel + Leisure)