How Airlines Could Help Slow the Spread of Disease

Many people come down with colds and other minor illnesses after flying. While this is certainly an annoyance for frequent travelers, the problem of disease spreading through an airplane cabin is a major problem with there are major epidemics underway, such as the Ebola outbreak of 2014-16. A group of scientists from two American universities now says that changing the way that airlines board planes could significantly reduce the potential to spread contagious diseases during flights.

After running several scenarios through a computer modeling system, the researchers discovered that the current method of boarding most airlines use- dividing the plane into three or more sections and boarding from front to back- leads to a 67% chance that a contagious disease like Ebola could spread to 20 or more passengers per month. These infected passengers could then go on to spread the illness to more people once they de-plane.

static1.squarespace.com

The problem with the current method of boarding is that it causes passengers to cluster together while waiting for first class passengers and other earlier boarders to put their bags in the overhead compartment. Instead, the researchers suggest that the plane be split into two sections and that passengers be boarded randomly in each section. This lowers the risk of infecting 20 or more people per month from 67% to 40%.

In addition, the size of the plane can also affect the spread of disease. Contrary to what most might think, smaller planes actually reduce the risk of disease transmission. Planes with fewer than 150 take less time to board, which reduces the clustering patterns found when boarding larger planes.

If airlines adopted these boarding procedures and used smaller planes, it could very well lead to fewer people catching colds and other illnesses while flying. The scientists who conducted the study think the likelihood of airlines doing so is very small. It would simply be uneconomical to swap out all their large planes for smaller ones. And it is doubtful that first class passengers would be willing to give up their early boarding privileges.

This research might be helpful, though, when there is a major disease outbreak like the West African Ebola epidemic. Many airlines end up having to cancel flights to these areas due for safety reasons. This sometimes stops much-needed supplies and medical personnel from traveling to these regions, or at least makes it very difficult. If airlines could use smaller planes and change boarding procedures when flying to and from an affected area, they may not have to cancel flights altogether.

For now, no airline has aid whether or not they will adopt these procedures when flying to areas affected by major epidemics. But the researchers are still hopeful. They also intend to use their model to determine if it can be applied to other modes of transportation, such as trains and buses, to see if there are ways to avoid spreading disease there, too.

Next Article
ADVERTISEMENT
  • The Wise Seemingly Mad People Of Gotham

    Throughout history, not many people have been very fond of taxes being raised or new taxes appearing. And that is even true as far back as 1200 when the small sleepy medieval town of Gotham played an incredible rouse all to get out of paying taxes. Gotham a small town...

    Read More
  • As Flashy As A Sea Sapphire

    Growing up any kid would like to be able to control color on demand. Explode into different shades of light and cause your very own firework show. There is actually a creature that is able to flash up brightly and then completely disappear, on the fly. These ant size creatures live in subtropical or warm...

    Read More
  • Camels Disqualified From Beauty Contest Due To Botox Use

    It sounds like such a mad thing to do, to inject a camel with botox. But in the money mad world of Saudi Arabia’s Camel Festival anything is possible. Plastic surgery is now a big problem that organizers of King Adbulaziz’s Camel Festival are having to deal with. This festival...

    Read More
  • The Rapist Hunting Warrior Woman

    The Hundred Year War between France and England was the birthplace of many legends and tales of revenge. Years of turmoil and battles created the perfect outlet for warriors to become legends. Or they became the perfect place for you to seek your vengeance: to hunt your demons. That is what Marguerite de Bressieux did,...

    Read More
  • Swarm Robots Ready For Mass Production

    If you have had ever had nightmares about robots taking over the world, then maybe you should close this article right now. The Zebro swarm robot is an insect hive mind-like robot which is pretty much ready to be mass produced. Why are we potentially causing a Terminator plot like scenario? ...

    Read More
  • When Ants Go To War They Bring The Medics

    A species of aggressive Viking-like raiding ants actually save their wounded and then stitch them up. Yes, it appears they have dedicated doctor and nurse ants ready to save the wounded. And the incredible thing is researchers have determined that this strange behavior actually gives the injured ant a 90%...

    Read More
  • Secret Painting Found Behind A Picasso Masterpiece

    A new scanning technique put together by art researchers in the US continues to undercover amazing art secrets. The newest discovery has been found beneath a Pablo Picasso’s masterpiece: The Crouching Woman or “La Misereuse Accroupie” as called in French. Scanning systems for art pieces have existed for some time...

    Read More
  • The Man Who Fought WWII For 30 Years

    The mission was to stay out of sight and collect information about the Allied troop movements. The Location was the island of Lubang in the Philippines. Lieutenant Hiroo Onoda from the Japanese Imperial Army was tasked with a Rambo-like top secret mission: him and his four man team against the world. At least that is...

    Read More