Holiday Travel Special: Are Airplanes Covid-Safe?


With the holiday season approaching, read on to find out exactly how to stay Covid-19 safe and still enjoy your well-earned dream vacation.

Airplanes & Covid-19: Just How Safe Are They?

I remember boarding a long haul Atlantic flight to London around 20 years ago. I was lucky enough to find myself seated next to the CEO of a pharmaceutical company. He was a super interesting guy, and surprisingly humble (we were in coach, for a start, and I’m pretty sure he could afford not to be). He was also utterly fascinated by science. And when I say fascinated, I mean truly fascinated. That guy could light up a room with the way he talked about data, statistics and medicine. He made theory that would have sounded dry, abstract or way too complicated coming from anyone else a true joy. I learnt a lot. It was a cool trip.

I remember, even back then, asking him just how healthy it really was to be sitting in a metal crate crammed with other people, breathing in perpetually recycled air. To breathe in air that had, presumably, circulated just enough to pick up everyone else’s germs before it was dumped right back into my airwaves. I’ll never forget his response, delivered with a laugh;

Why, airplanes are just a petri dish of sh*t’!’

And here’s the thing. He was right. He was paraphrasing a lot of great science of course. But in essence, and with absolutely no disrespect meant to any airline company out there, he really was right.

When it comes down to it, airlines do an incredible job of making cabin air as clean, oxygenated and safe as it is physically possibly can be. But, let’s face it – there’s a limit to how germ-free a cabin can remain when we pack as many humans as physically possible in to it for a limited but significant period of time.


Enjoy your Onboard Aperitif

Here’s an example. You’ve boarded the plane, stowed your baggage, and relaxed into your seat. The plane finds a comfortable cruising altitude. The cabin lights dim and you see the drinks wagon approaching. Nice. Gin & tonic time. You pull down your seatback tray in anticipation, adjust the aircon just so, and get ready to enjoy a well-earned libation.

Congratulations! You’ve just come into contact with two surfaces that carry around eight times the total bacteria per square inch than a toilet seat. And you’re only a few minutes into your journey!

So What Does that Mean for Holiday Travel?

Now, we know that Covid-19 – alongside a bunch of other unpleasant viruses – can last on surfaces for daysSo that means you have to avoid those critters whenever you can – not an easy task to accomplish on an airplane.

At the same time, the holiday season is approaching fast, and we’re all doing the same thing – dreaming of a beach in Maui. Or epic ski runs in Colorado. Or an amazing, cozy family Christmas get-together at our childhood home. Take a few seconds to daydream about just how lovely that last scenario could be. The beautiful gifts under a tree, the stockings by the hearth, the aroma of cinnamon and apple pie escaping from the kitchen. The happy laughs of children mix with the melodic strains of Christmas carolers, as the snow falls softly outside. Yeah…you’re not about to miss that.

It’s been a damn hard year for all of us, and we all deserve a break. But it’s the era of Covid-19, so we still need to ask a very important question before we book those travel tickets: is it safe to start traveling by plane again?


It’s Covid-19 Safe – As Long as you ACT Safe

As a medical practice, we follow science. And because of that, we know that there are some great science-based tips that you can use to safeguard your health while soaring through the skies. Our goal? To help you to enjoy your well-earned vacation feeling as healthy & well-rested as you could possibly be.

Here’s exactly what you need to know.

#1. Use antibacterial wipes

Sounds obvious, right? If not, gear up for some gross germ facts. First, don’t use airport drinking fountains – they are a hotbed of bacteria, carrying around 6 times the germ quotient of an airplane toilet seat. Second, wipe down air vents, seat buckles, seatback trays, and toilet flush buttons before & after using them – every single time. Why? Because they’re the most loaded bacteria zones on the entire plane (and no, the toilet flush button isn’t the worst bacteria hotspot on that list). Finally, it goes without saying that you should wash your hands regularly, too.

#2. Maximize the Benefits of HEPA-Clean Air

The air on an airplane is surprisingly clean – probably even cleaner than your apartment. That’s because it uses HEPA or High-Efficiency Particulate Air – filters, that can leave an airline cabin as clean as an operating theater. Alongside HEPA, fresh air is pumped into the plane from outside around every 3 minutes, keeping that air really fresh & clean.

However, the true benefits of the 99.97% filtration effectiveness of HEPA don’t really kick in until the airplane is fully airborne. That means you’re still being exposed to stale, possibly germ-filled air, while boarding, and during take-off, landing, and disembarking (and when you hit the arrivals lounge, where bacteria exposure becomes a truly international affair!). The best way to avoid breathing in germs and bacteria in those high-exposure moments? Wear a mask.


#3. Reduce Your Viral Load Exposure to Covid-19

In defense of every airline out there, airline technology has progressed a lot in the last 20 years since my CEO friend voiced his petri-dish focused opinion. These days, the air in an airplane cabin can be, surprisingly, some of the cleanest you’ll ever breathe (even cleaner than a hospital operating room, in fact!). But there are still a lot of germs to watch out for. We know from #2, for example, that airplane air filters aren’t maximally effective until the plane is physically in the air. So how else can you protect yourself?

One very effective way is to preemptively use medication scientifically proven to boost immunity, reduce your viral load exposure to Covid-19, and also minimize your risk of contracting ‘long hauler’ Covid. A prescription for antiviral medication provided by a respected health practitioner will significantly reduce your viral load exposure to Covid-19, subsequently leading to less invasive symptoms and a faster recovery. Investing in vitamin and mineral supplements like Vitamin C, probiotics, and zinc that help to support your immune system can really help, too. Getting vaccinated will help you to minimize the severity of symptoms if you do get infected.

#4. Follow the Science

In today’s world, medicinal & health care choices – especially when it comes to Covid-19 – have become increasingly politicized, making health care choices more and more confusing for you – and sometimes dangerous for medics like us. But it’s our job to cut through the noise & pass on the information vital in keeping our clients and their families safe. So we’ll keep on helping you for as long as it takes to achieve that goal.

If you do choose an antiviral as part of your health care strategy, remember that it must be prescribed by a medical professional to be safe.


Secure Your Wellness: Keeping It Covid-19 Safe this Holiday Season

Ultimately, it comes down to this. Before you touch down at your dream destination this holiday season, there’s so much you can do to stay safe. Our travel tips are sure to help you do exactly that, ensuring that your holiday is not only fun, but great for your health, too!

Interested in finding out more? Contact Secure Your Wellness today to check out your antiviral options, or speak to one of our highly qualified Studio Team to find out more about how to optimize your immunity and general health.