How to Avoid Catching the Coronavirus While Flying

airport, people, surgical masks

If you are taking to the sky soon for an upcoming trip, one of the first things on your mind is likely the recent coronavirus outbreak. Recently renamed as COVID-19 by the World Health Organization (WHO), the coronavirus has many people paranoid as subway riders in New York City and travelers in international airports are starting to sport face masks. With so much paranoia in the air, the best thing to do is be smart – whether you’re a traveler, pilot, or aircraft dispatcher. Our experienced crew at our South Florida aviation school are happy to give you peace of mind by discussing how to avoid catching the coronavirus while flying.

Should I Wear A Mask?

Contrary to popular belief, wearing a surgical mask during the pandemic is not that effective. Air can seep through the gaps, which still leaves you susceptible to infection. If you’re adamant on wearing protection for your face or you’re traveling to an area where illnesses have been reported, our aviation crew at our aircraft dispatcher school in Fort Lauderdale highly recommends purchasing an N95 respirator, which is a heavy-duty mask that contours to the face, filtering out 95% of smaller air particles.[1] However, keep in mind that it’s very difficult to breathe through the N95’s tough material.

Wash Your Hands

Sure, you can clean out the front counter of your local pharmacy by stocking up on hand sanitizers, but nothing really quite does the trick like good old soap and water. As stated by health professionals, the most effective way to avoid catching the coronavirus while flying is to wash your hands consistently. If you consider where your hands have been over the last 24 hours – the railing of a moving walkway or the door handle of a lavatory, especially if you bite your nails, touch your face, or rub your eyes – it’s time to start a serious hand-washing routine.

The Good News…

Amidst the mass paranoia towards the recent COVID-19 pandemic, the good news is that contracting the virus while traveling is low. According to David Powell, a physician and medical adviser to the International Air Transport Association, the coronavirus cannot survive on seats or armrests for an extended period. “The risk of catching a serious viral infection on an aircraft is low. The air supply to a modern airliner is very different from a movie theater or an office building. The air is a combination of fresh air and recirculated air, about half each,” said Powell. “The recirculated air goes through filters of the exact same type that we use in surgical operating theaters.” [2]

He went on to explain you’re more likely to catch the virus from shaking someone’s hand than non-biological material such as a dry surface. Normal cleaning should suffice; however, should you come into contact with someone contagious, additional cleaning is necessary.


Keeping these precautions in mind should help you avoid catching the coronavirus while flying and lower any anxiety about the pandemic. For more information about traveling during the coronavirus outbreak or if you need professional assistance looking for aircraft dispatcher jobs, contact a member of our Sheffield team at 954-581-6022 today.





[1] U.S. Food and Drug Administration – Masks and N95 Respirators

[2] Bloomberg – How to Avoid Coronavirus on Flights: Forget Masks, Says Top Airline Doctor

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