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How Clean Is the Air On Planes?

Do you ever wonder about the quality of the air inside an airplane? With the limited circulation of air, and the close proximity of passengers, it’s important to understand how clean the air on airplanes really is. In this post, we’ll explore the process of airplane air circulation and the safety measures put in place to ensure the air inside the cabin is of the highest quality. So read on to find out more about airplane air and how clean it really is!

The Air On Planes Is Actually Pretty Clean

When you fly, you want to make sure that the air on the plane is clean and safe for everyone. The good news is that the air on airplanes is actually quite clean. This is because of the airplane filtration, ventilation, and filter systems that are in place.

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Airplane filtration systems use a combination of mechanical filtration (like HEPA filters) and air circulation to remove particles, allergens, and other pollutants from the air. Airplane ventilation systems also help keep the air on planes circulating to prevent stale air. On top of that, many aircraft use a charcoal-based filter system to trap additional contaminants.

These combined systems help to ensure that the air on planes is much cleaner than the air outside. In fact, studies have found that cabin air on airplanes can be up to 100 times cleaner than outdoor air. So while there may be some risks associated with flying, you can rest assured that the air on planes is actually quite clean.

The Air On Planes Is Filtered And Recirculated

When you board an airplane, you may wonder about the air quality. Is it clean? Are there germs and bacteria floating around? The good news is that the air on airplanes is filtered and recirculated.

Airplanes are equipped with state-of-the-art ventilation systems that help to filter out germs and other airborne particles. Air is drawn into the cabin from outside and passed through an airplane HEPA filter, which is designed to trap over 99% of particles such as pollen, dust, and other allergens. The air is then circulated throughout the cabin using fans and vents.

To ensure a healthy environment on board, airlines regularly inspect and replace the filters. Some airlines use special high-efficiency particulate absorbing (HEPA) filters that can filter out even smaller particles, like smoke, fumes, and bacteria.

Airplane ventilation also helps reduce the risk of getting sick while traveling. The air in the cabin is exchanged with fresh air from outside every few minutes, ensuring that the air on planes is clean and healthy.

There Are Some Health Risks Associated With Flying

Flying can be an exciting adventure, but there are some health risks associated with it. Airplane cabins are pressurized and can cause dehydration, air pressure changes can cause ear pain, and air quality can be a concern. Here is a look at five health risks associated with flying on a plane.


Airplane cabins are pressurized, which means that the air is much dryer than the air we breathe on the ground. The air inside the plane can cause dehydration, which can lead to headaches, fatigue, and nausea. It’s important to stay hydrated during flights by drinking plenty of water.

Ear Pain

Changes in air pressure while taking off or landing can cause pressure in the ears. This can cause pain and discomfort. To relieve ear pressure, yawning, swallowing, and chewing gum can help.

Air Quality

Air inside airplanes is filtered and recirculated every two to three minutes. However, there have been concerns about air quality in airplanes as cabin air is not changed as frequently as it is on the ground. Some airlines are better than others when it comes to air quality.

Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT)

Sitting for long periods of time in cramped airplane seats can increase your risk of DVT, a dangerous blood clot that forms in the legs. DVT can cause swelling, pain, and in rare cases can be fatal. Taking frequent breaks, stretching your legs and wearing compression socks can help reduce the risk of DVT.

Jet Lag

Flying across different time zones can cause jet lag, which is a temporary sleep disorder caused by disruption of your body’s natural rhythm. Symptoms of jet lag include difficulty sleeping, tiredness during the day, and difficulty concentrating. To minimize jet lag, try adjusting your sleep schedule before flying and taking melatonin or other sleep aids if needed.

Some Airlines Are Better Than Others When It Comes To Air Quality

Air quality on airplanes can vary depending on the airline you fly with. Some airlines, such as Delta Air Lines, have better air filtration systems than others, which means the air on their planes is cleaner. The air on most planes is filtered using an airplane HEPA filter, which removes dust and other particles from the air. It also circulates the air in the cabin to help reduce the spread of germs. However, some airlines may use a less effective airplane filter or not circulate the air as frequently as others, resulting in poorer air quality.

When choosing an airline, it’s important to look into the quality of their air filtration system. Some airlines go above and beyond to ensure the air quality on their planes is as safe as possible. For instance, some have implemented ultraviolet light to help kill germs and have added additional filters to their aircrafts. You can usually find information about an airline’s air filtration system on their website or by calling customer service. Knowing which airlines take air quality seriously can help you make an informed decision when booking your flight.

You Can Take Steps To Protect Yourself From Air Pollution While Flying

Flying can be a stressful experience, and air pollution can add an extra layer of worry. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to protect yourself from air pollution while flying.

First, it’s important to book a flight on an airline that has a good reputation for air quality. This includes airlines that have high-efficiency filters and recirculation systems. If possible, also look for flights with lower occupancy rates, as this can reduce the amount of air pollution in the cabin.

It’s also wise to plan your flight route carefully. If possible, try to avoid areas that have known air pollution problems, such as large cities and industrialized regions. The higher up you fly, the less likely you are to encounter pollutants in the air.

On the plane itself, you can limit your exposure to air pollutants by limiting your time in the bathroom, opting for seats away from the lavatories and galley, bringing a plant on a plane and selecting window seats with the least amount of air circulation. You should also consider wearing a face mask on the plane. Wearing a mask can help filter out some of the air particles, reducing your exposure to air pollution.

Overall, there are steps you can take to protect yourself from air pollution while flying. By booking a flight on an airline with high-efficiency filters, avoiding areas with poor air quality, limiting your time in the bathroom and wearing a face mask, you can reduce your exposure to air pollution while flying.

Can I Get COVID On A Plane?

The short answer is yes, you can get COVID on a plane. However, it is not as likely as being exposed to the virus in other enclosed spaces. The air on planes is filtered and recirculated to reduce the risk of transmission. Most airlines also have strict measures in place to ensure the safety of passengers and crew, such as mandating masks, social distancing, and extra cleaning protocols.

That said, there are still potential risks involved with flying. Many people are packed into an enclosed space for extended periods of time, and it can be difficult to maintain social distancing. Additionally, the air on airplanes is typically recycled every 2-3 minutes, which means that any contaminants in the air can be spread quickly.

It’s also important to keep in mind that while the air quality on planes is typically better than other enclosed spaces, it is not perfect. There is still a risk of exposure to the virus and other airborne pathogens, so it’s important to take the necessary steps to protect yourself and others while flying.

Does Wearing A Mask On A Plane Help Prevent Getting Sick?

The short answer is: yes! Wearing a mask while flying can help protect you from getting sick. Masks are effective at blocking large droplets that contain pathogens and reducing the spread of airborne diseases like colds, flus, and other respiratory illnesses. Wearing a mask also helps prevent you from unknowingly spreading germs to those around you.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) now recommends wearing a face mask or covering in public settings, including airports and on planes, where social distancing is difficult to maintain. You should always wear a clean face mask that covers your nose and mouth when you board the plane and keep it on until you reach your destination.

In addition to wearing a face mask, there are other steps you can take to protect yourself while flying, such as regularly washing your hands with soap and water or using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer, avoiding touching your face with unwashed hands, and maintaining a safe distance from others when possible.

Overall, wearing a face mask on a plane is an important step to keeping yourself and those around you safe. It is always important to practice good hygiene and other preventive measures to reduce the risk of contracting or spreading illnesses while traveling.

The Bottom Line

When it comes to air quality on planes, it is actually pretty good. Airlines use advanced filtration systems to ensure the air you breathe on board is clean and free from pollutants. However, there are still some health risks associated with flying and it is important to take steps to protect yourself while on board. Wearing a face mask while flying is an important way to prevent the spread of illnesses such as COVID-19. Ultimately, flying is generally considered safe in terms of air quality, but it is important to be aware of the risks and take precautions to stay healthy.

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