Traveling by plane doesn’t necessarily increase the risk of contracting a communicable disease more than another kind of mass transit, according to the World Health Organization, as ventilation systems on aircraft use filters to trap bacteria and viruses before air is recirculated.
“Ventilation rates provide a total change of air 20 to 30 times per hour. Most modern aircraft have recirculation systems, which recycle up to 50% of cabin air. The recirculated air is usually passed through HEPA (high-efficiency particulate air) filters, of the type used in hospital operating theatres and intensive care units, which trap dust particles, bacteria, fungi and viruses.”
“Transmission of infection may occur between passengers who are seated in the same area of an aircraft, usually as a result of the infected individual coughing or sneezing or by touch,” WHO noted on its website. “This is no different from any other situation in which people are close to each other, such as on a train or bus or in a theatre.”