Domestic Travel

Tue, 29 Aug, 2017Danielle McCarthy

Why you should never turn the air vent off while flying

Why you should never turn the air vent off while flying

During a flight, when the air vent is blowing out freezing cold air, it can be easy to want to immediately turn it off.

However, a doctor has revealed that turning the air vent off on a germ-infested plane is a travelling mistake many are unaware of.

Dr Mark Gendreau, the medical director and vice chair of emergency medicine at Lahey Medical Center-Peabody, said the vent can help passengers avoid certain microorganisms that cause post-flight sickness.

“For airborne viruses, it is incredibly important to ventilate, since ventilation becomes your main means of control besides isolating the affected person,” Gendreau told T+L.

Airborne viruses, such as tuberculosis and measles, are transmitted by nuclei that can hang in the air for up to five hours.

The air vent on the plane creates an air barrier around you that creates turbulence, which blocks the particles and prevents you from being sick.

The air barrier also helps with viruses associated with the common cold and upper respiratory tract infection.

Dr Gendreau said that many travellers mistakenly think that the air vents on planes spread disease.

“Ventilation on airplanes has gotten a bad reputation, but it’s completely unfounded,” Gendreau added.

"The flow pattern of air on an aircraft doesn’t necessarily work front to back, or back to front. It’s actually compartmentalised into various sections on the aircraft."