Coronavirus flights: Pilot dubs planes ‘incubators of disease’ in shocking warning

Flights for many Britons are synonymous with jetting off on a well-earned holiday. However, travel has taken on a more sinister role in recent months following the spread of the deadly coronavirus. International globe-trotting is undeniably behind the pandemic.


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So far there have been 1,203,485 confirmed cases of coronavirus in total and 64,784 deaths.

A pilot has now spoken up about the risks of air travel and how easily disease can spread in a plane.

American pilot, Patrick Smith, detailed the worrying warning on his website Ask The Pilot.

Smith dubbed aircraft “incubators of disease” – but that’s not even the most worrying thing about modern aviation.

“Air travel is, if nothing else, an exquisitely efficient vector for the spread of pathogens,” wrote Smith.

“Not because planes themselves are incubators of disease, but because of how quickly they move vast numbers of people around the globe.

Smith spoke of his own experiences in the article.

“Once after arriving in the United States on a flight from Africa, I noticed a lone mosquito in the cockpit,” he said.

“How easy it would be, I thought, for that tiny stowaway to escape into the terminal and bite somebody.

“Imagine an unsuspecting airport worker or passenger who has never before left the country, and suddenly he’s in the throes of some exotic tropical sickness.

“Actually, it’s been happening for years. Cases of ‘airport malaria’ have been documented in Europe, resulting in several deaths after faulty or delayed diagnosis.

“It’s just a matter of time before this happens in America, if it hasn’t already.”


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Smith concludes by pointing out “how ruthlessly jetliners can, potentially, push contagions from one corner of the globe to the other” –  and that in fact, we’ve actually been lucky so far, given the relatively low death rate of coronavirus.

For those worried about catching something nasty when flying, there are ways you can protect yourself.

One way is to clean your plane seat and the surrounding area.

“Coronavirus is actually easy to kill”, Kelly A. Reynolds, a professor and environmental microbiologist at the University of Arizona, told The Points Guy.

“Studies have shown that disinfecting wipes and hand sanitisers can kill bacteria and viruses that are much more difficult to kill than coronavirus”.

The tray table should be the first area at your plane seat that you should focus on.

A study by last year showed a tray table had 11.595 germ colony-forming units (CFUs), making it the second dirtiest commonly used area of the plane after the flush button on the toilet seat.

It’s also worth wiping down the armrests and seatback displays if there are any.

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