How to Eat on the Plane and Not Get Sick

While some aspects of pandemic air travel – like wearing masks on board an aircraft when you don’t eat or drink – are still very important, others are slowly returning to their pre-COVID iterations. Take, for example, on-board service: there was a period of time when it was significantly reduced or completely stopped, but now, depending on the length of the flight, the airline’s food and snacks are back on the table (tray). …

And although we have been assured (repeatedly) that the constantly filtered air circulating in planes is safe, the risk of contracting coronavirus or other pathogens, although small, still exists. Wearing effective face masks reduces this risk, but what if you take yours off while you eat? Here’s what you need to know about eating safely on airplanes.

Is it safe to eat while flying?

According to a study published earlier this year in the Journal of Travel Medicine , if passengers on a 12-hour flight take off their masks for an hour-long lunch, it increases their risk of contracting COVID by 59%, compared to if they all didn’t take off their masks throughout. flight.

But as Elazar Sontag points out in a recent article for Eater , it’s unrealistic to ask people not to eat or drink for 12 hours. Here’s what he suggests doing instead.

How to eat properly on an airplane

According to the researchers who participated in the study, the main reason for the increased risk of contracting COVID while eating is that so many people take off their masks at the same time. And while they are recommending that airlines change their meal plan – serve groups of passengers and keep the rest of them wearing their masks – Sontag notes , it is unlikely that such a policy will be adopted anytime soon.

In the meantime, he recommends that you wait a few minutes to eat (or drink) after you’ve been served in-flight delicacies. This way, you can keep your mask on while others are taking it off to eat, and you can take off yours after they put on their mask again and their dirty mouths are securely covered again.


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