Coronavirus Travel: Filling Middle Airplane Seat Doubles Risk Of Infection

As coronavirus restrictions ease, people who've been cooped up in quarantine are looking to travel again — but at what cost? Some airlines put a cap on the amount of tickets sold so that customers can social distance properly, but others don't, and a new study shows that putting a passenger in the middle seat doubles your risk of getting sick.

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New research by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology shows that when all coach seats are full on an airplane, the risk of contracting COVID-19 from a nearby passenger is 1 in 7,000. If airlines were to leave every middle seat empty, that risk falls to approximately 1 in 14,000.

The study also says that, according to these statistics, it's implied that uninfected air travelers are more likely to die from the implications of coronavirus than they are in plane crashes, though the likeability is still probably less than one in a million.

Although many airlines have implicated new safety procedures, the CDC maintains that it's best to stay 6 feet apart from others when traveling, which isn't always possible in airport waiting areas and on airplanes. Before booking your next trip, weigh the pros and cons of traveling to decide if its right for you. One thing to keep in mind is the percentage of adults at high risk for coronavirus complications in your state.