Are Airplanes Full of Germs? Not Compared to Your Office

Last Updated Oct 15, 2007 5:09 PM EDT

Are Airplanes Full of Germs? Not Compared to Your OfficeFlu season is almost upon us. In preparation, business travelers might be stocking up on Airborne--those little pills that promise to keep you from catching anything floating around an airplane cabin. But the news out this weekend is you needn't bother. And not just because those pills are a little dubious.

ABC News spoke with the people who know and their conclusion: the air up there is perfectly safe.

"The air is in fact quite healthy, because of the excellent cabin air filters," said Joe Lundquist, an air filtration expert with Pall Corp. He says state-of-the-art HEPA air filters can capture up to 99.9% of small bacteria and viruses -- even SARS and bird flu virus.
So why are you always getting sick this time of year? For a culprit look closer to home. Rick Seaney, CEO of the amazingly useful FareCompare.com, used his personal blog this weekend to point out that:
a recent report to the House Subcommittee on Aviation, experts stated that "data from epidemiologic studies and microbiologic assays indicate that the risk of airborne infections currently appears to be very low." And an independent published research showed that the concentration of biological microorganisms in planes is lower than in an office building...
Now if only there was a magic little pill to protect you from your co-workers' germs.

(Image of masked traveler by thraxil, CC 2.0)

  • Jessica Stillman On Twitter»

    Jessica lives in London where she works as a freelance writer with interests in green business and tech, management, and marketing.