The key to reducing your chances of catching the flu or someone while on a flight depends on where you sit.
According to new research published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, sitting in a window seat will give you the best chance of not getting sick.
“Get a window seat and don’t move,” explained the study’s lead researcher, Vicki Stover Hertzberg of Emory University in Atlanta.
The study involved researchers flying around the United States during peak flu season. Testing surfaces and the air for viruses, they also looked at passenger movements to determine disease transmission movements.
"During the 10 flights, which lasted between 3.5 and five hours each, they only observed one person actively coughing. Swabbing and testing seatbelt buckles also didn’t turn up evidence of any of 18 different respiratory-illness-causing viruses on any of the planes, even though eight of the flights occurred during flu season," Time reports.
As for your chances of catching an illness from a sick passenger, unsurprisingly, those sitting closest have a greater risk.
"They found that the 11 people seated closest to a hypothetical sick passenger — the two others in their row, the three passengers in the rows in front of and behind them and the three passengers seated in these rows across the aisle — are the most likely to get sick, while nearly everyone else on the plane has a negligible risk," the publication added.
"Outside this radius, people in window seats have the lowest overall risk of getting sick."