Tommy Lloyd
Author: Tommy Lloyd, Managing Director

Tommy has over 15 years experience within the insurance industry, and his primary focus is helping travellers find the right cover for their medical conditions.

7 min read

Over the last few years, the coronavirus pandemic meant flights were cancelled and people’s movement was restricted, but now that the world has opened back up again, travel is back in full flow. People are making up for lost time and are booking flights to destinations around the world that they have always dreamt of visiting.

However, as a result of the pandemic and with the cancellation of flights in recent months, it has proved that not only is travel insurance for people with medical conditions vital, it is important for everyone to purchase travel insurance before they go on holiday.

If you are flying, then you should look to get travel insurance as an aeroplane can be a petri dish for germs to thrive as you are in close quarters with other people, there is a frequent passenger turnaround and recirculated air.

This shouldn’t put you off missing out on a once-in-a-lifetime trip as there are many ways you can stay healthy on a plane.

How to avoid germs on a plane

  • Wipe down your area
  • Wash your hands regularly and use hand sanitiser
  • Consider having a flu jab
  • Wear a mask
  • Relax
  • Use the overhead air vent on a plane
Wipe Down Your Area

Wipe down your area

Aircraft cabins are usually cleaned when the plane stays overnight at the airport, but the flu virus can last up to 24 hours on hard surfaces, and germs can linger between flights.

Tray tables, seats, seatbelts and buckets, armrests, and buttons for the fan and light are all surfaces that can have germs living on them and it is wise to use disinfectant wipes to wipe these areas.

Ali, the travel writer behind Travel Made Simple, advises: “Read the instructions on your wipes ahead of time so you know how they work. It takes time for the antibacterial magic to do its thing.

“You’ll need to wipe enough that the surfaces are wet, and they actually need to stay wet for the time stated on the package. Usually, this is anywhere from 30 seconds to several minutes, so be patient.”

Washing Hands

Wash your hands regularly and use hand sanitiser

When you are on a plane you should wash your hands regularly with water and soap for at least 20 seconds to stay safe and clean.

Another alternative is to pack an alcohol-based hand sanitiser, but you need to make sure you buy one that has at least 60% alcohol content so that it can neutralise germs.

The Somerset Toiletry Co. talks a bit about the benefits of using hand sanitiser: “A sanitiser is any solution that contains ethyl alcohol, benzalkonium chloride, or isopropyl alcohol as the active ingredient. All of these elements help to get rid of bacteria and viruses. Alcohol is known for killing microbes as it breaks down the protective layer of proteins and disrupts their ability to grow.”

And remember: Don’t touch your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands. These are the portals into your body for viruses.

Flu Jab

Consider having a flu jab

If you are flying during the flu season, you can help your immune system by making sure you’ve had the flu jab. The likes of influenza are spread by droplets made when people sneeze or cough and if you are on a plane, it means you can easily pick up colds.

Although there is not a guarantee that getting a flu jab vaccine will prevent the flu, it does lower the chance of you getting it and should you contract it, the illness will not be as severe.

Wear A Mask

Wear a mask

Wearing face coverings is no longer a legal requirement, but mask-wearing can reduce your chances of catching a cold from a fellow passenger. It is also a measure that can keep others safe as you may be carrying a virus and by wearing a mask on a plane it reduces the chance of you passing it on to others.

Certain people can be more vulnerable to getting ill, including those of you whose immune system is affected by a medical condition or a form of medication that you are taking. Those of you who are taking medication for an illness or a condition could be more susceptible to catching a cold and wearing a mask in a crowded public setting, such as on a plane, might not be such a bad idea. If you are travelling with medication, you might need to let the airline or holiday firm you have booked your trip with know that you will be bringing medication onboard.

If you would like to wear a mask when you are flying, then you can purchase an anti-germ mask for flying from a number of retailers. Some airports sell anti-germ masks for flying, but to be safe it would be best to buy a mask before you arrive at the airport.

Seat Sitters, a retailer who sells health products for travel, talks about the correct way to wear a mask: “Make sure the mask covers both your mouth and nose properly. Do not touch the mask without sanitizing your hands to prevent germs from transferring from surfaces you touched into your body.”

Relax On A Flight


Stress can lower our immune system and our ability to fight off germs and let’s be honest, a day at the airport can frazzle the nerves of the most experienced traveller.

Getting to the airport, navigating your way through security and finding the right gate can be extremely stressful experiences. As a result, we can start engaging in anxious behaviours such as biting your nails and rubbing your eyes.

You should try your best to eliminate these stressful situations by getting to the airport early for your flight to downloading relaxing music on your phone that you can listen to on the plane.

Cazzy Magennis, who is one half of the team behind the Dream Big Travel Far blog, recommends colouring as a relaxing activity to try on a plane. She said: “Colouring isn’t just a fun activity for children on long haul flights, it’s perfect for adults too. Bradley brought me an adult colouring book a few years ago and I love it.

“Colouring is really therapeutic and relaxing, so it’s a perfect activity for a long-haul flight.

“You can even do it whilst watching a movie that doesn’t need your full attention.”

Air Vents On A Plane

Use the overhead air vent on a plane

According to some studies, the filters on most planes block and capture 99.97% of nasty airborne particles over 0.3 microns in size. Using the overhead air vent on a low setting can create an air current that will help to move germs away.

So, if you are wondering how to avoid germs on a plane, then one of the first things you should do is to use the air vent above your seat.

We hope the above tips have been helpful and prove useful for your future travels on a plane. By following these tips, you can enjoy a wonderful time on your holiday and don’t need to worry about catching a cold or virus during your flight.

For more tips, guides, and advice, make sure to visit our blog.

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