Airplanes Aren't As Gross As You Think

Illustration for article titled Airplanes Aren't As Gross As You Think

If you’ve ever been sick after traveling, you know how hard it can be to get on plane and try to ignore all of the smells, drafts and feelings you get from sitting in a tube full of other seemingly gross people. The good news is that the plane is not actively blowing germs around the cabin.


The latest video from SciShow on YouTube approaches the myth that the recycled air on airplanes is what spreads the other gross people’s germs into your clean and pure body, causing you to get sick. Turns out that’s not the case!

Basically, yes, planes do recycle about 50 percent of the air in the cabin, with the rest of the air coming in fresh from compressors in the engines.

What does get recycled doesn’t just get blown back into the cabin without running through a filter first, with most planes using High-Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) filters, which are the same filters used in hospitals.

The way the plane’s air flow works also means that you are not getting the same air sucked in from a different part of the cabin because it doesn’t cycle from the front to the back. Instead, it flows in from the ceiling and gets sucked back in for filtration through the walls.

You mostly likely get sick from something in the Uber, the airports or, sa Olivia points out in the video, because of someone in your row sneezing or coughing in what is, you really swear, the nastiest sounding way possible.

Open your lungs and take your vitamins, folks.

Reviews Editor, Jalopnik


They are unhealthy because the airlines cheap out and don’t fill the plane with pure oxygen, as the food babe told us