Having an aisle seat on a plane may seem convenient – no scrambling over other passengers when you want to get up – but there’s a good reason to avoid those seats.
Microbiologist Charles Gerba told io9 that aisle seats were the most likely to be contaminated by other plane passengers because they were the easiest for people to come into contact with.
According to Gerba, there an outbreak of norovirus on a 2008 flight from Boston to Los Angeles which was so severe, the plane had to make an emergency landing in Chicago due to the number of passengers suffering from diarrhea and vomiting.
When the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention followed up with passengers, those found to have most likely caught the bug from the plane were sitting in aisle seats.
He attributes this not only to the seats being closer to the sick passengers as they made their way to and from the bathroom, but because people often use seats to keep themselves stable as they walk in the cabin.
That meant the infection was able to spread through sick and healthy passengers touching the same surfaces.
Perhaps on your next trip, opt for a window seat.