Air travel is a wonderful and truly amazing accomplishment of man, and every time you get on a plane and get to fly through the sky to another destination it is actually an immense privilege that you should be grateful for. Saying that, the fact remains that just about every fucking time you board a plane with a bunch of people, sit down with them, and breathe in the same air as them for hours and hours, you end up with some form of virus that takes over your body and can ruin your holiday, or your return home.
That is why everyone generally has their own little tips and tricks in order to try and stay healthy while also trying to achieve some semblance of comfort, jammed into their economy seat next to a man who is openly sneezing on you every five minutes, or avoiding a shark tornado.
Some people use hand sanitiser constantly throughout travel in order to attempt to not touch anything a germy child may have touched, or perhaps they might go as far as to wear a face mask. But it turns out that the one thing most of us do, and usually it is the first thing we do upon sitting down, has been completely wrong this entire time.
You should actually be turning the air vents on.
When the vent above you is on and blowing down air onto your face, it can sometimes feel almost like it is directly coming out of the mouths of the other passengers, so your instinct might be to turn it off, in order to try and stop germs spreading throughout the plane and into your facehole.
But according to an expert on diseases and air travel, Dr Mark Gendreau, this instinct is wrong, and you should in fact always have the flow of air happening, even if only on a low level. He explains that for airborne viruses it is extremely important to ventilate, because that becomes your main means of control.
By using the vent and turning it on medium or low, you can create an invisible air barrier around you that creates turbulence, while simultaneously blocking particles and forcing them to the ground faster. Planes also have low humidity, which means your mucous membrane can dry out during a flight, making you heaps more susceptible to contracting a virus.
So the very next time you are on a plane, try to resist the impulse to turn off the vents, and let that air blow down on your face. Also because cold particles can really get around, it’s a good idea to do this in combination with wiping down surfaces, washing your hands, and avoiding touching your face.
Air travel is a miracle. A gross, germ infested, diseased miracle that we love and are lucky to have.