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Catch a Flight, Not a Cold with Direct Travel

If you’re travelling on a large airplane, chances are at least one person on your flight is ill. While the risks of contracting something truly harmful remain low, you could be exposed to cold and flu viruses or even a dreaded sickness bug which could put a damper on your holiday, so here are our top tips to staying healthy on your flight.

1. Choose your flight carefully

According to a recent Which? survey, who you travel with could have a big difference to the cleanliness of your flight. Ryanair came out bottom in the customer survey, with just under half of passengers contacted saying that cleanliness was below standard, and a quarter of those going so far as to say it was 'poor'. On the other hand, two thirds of fellow budget airline, Easyjet's customers said that they considered the cleanliness on their flight to be 'good', 'very good' or 'excellent'.

2. Seating - window vs Aisle

In tests, aisle seats are found to contain the most germs, as the aisle seats are exposed to more people as they pass up and down the aircraft or in and out of their row. Window seats tend to have a lower concentration of bugs, as well as having the best views, we know where we’d prefer to sit!

3. Wipe down your seat, tray and armrests

We know this sounds a bit extreme, and you’ll probably get some funny looks from your fellow passengers but, many cold and flu bugs can live on hard surfaces for an hour or more. In fact, a recent Canadian study found harmful levels of bacteria and mould on armrests, and we’re very sorry to say, the same study found coliform bacteria in the seat pockets that holds the safety cards, and coliform is commonly found in human faeces…

4. Wash your hands before eating

Even if you’ve wiped down your surfaces and after reading so far, you’re planning to wear a Hazmat Suit, you should still wash your hands before eating or drinking. This is the single best way of avoiding illness on flights and in general. A study by the University of Michigan found that 95% of people didn’t wash their hands well enough to kill harmful bacteria after using the toilet. Need to brush up on your handwashing skills? The NHS has published a guide on NHS - Handwashing Guide.

5. Use hand sanitising gel

If the seatbelt light is on, and you can’t wash your hands then hand sanitiser is a great option. Most gels claim to kill 99% of bacteria and that’s not to be sneezed at, but it’s no replacement for proper hand washing. Norovirus, also called the winter vomiting virus, won’t be defeated by hand sanitisers and only a good scrub with warm soapy water will kill it. You’ve been warned!

6. And finally,

If you’re the one harbouring germs on the flight, remember to follow all the above advice it’s your responsibility to contain your germs as best you can. So, if you have the sniffles, pack some tissues and hand sanitiser, and if you have a dodgy tummy, ask for a seat near the loo to minimise contact with others.

The common cold won’t spoil your holiday, but if you have a pre-existing medical condition or you happen to pick up something more harmful, it’s important that you’re correctly covered.

Here at Direct Travel, we’re very proud of our 20-year history of matching people to the travel insurance policy that best suits their needs. If you’re looking for a quote, click here.