Priority boarding might be good for your health.
A study by Arizona State University and reported by the Los Angeles Times has found that current plane boarding practices are an excellent way to get sick.
According to the study, infection rates increase when people are crowded together, as when participating in general boarding practices. As an example, should there be an Ebola outbreak in location, then current general boarding practices would increase the risk of getting the disease from an airline by 67%.
The study also has some suggestions, saying that passengers are less likely to get sick when they take part in staggered boarding to avoid congestion.
In the case of an Ebola outbreak, Anuj Mubayi, an assistant professor at ASU’s School of Human Evolution and Social Change who worked on the study advices that rather than totally banning flights to a destination, the risk of infection could be better reduced by using smaller planes.
Because de-boarding is a faster process, it presents very little risk of incurring disease.
The study’s leaders have presented their findings to airlines, which can be used not only for Ebola outbreaks, but also other contagious diseases like the flu. They hope to also use their findings to help stop the spread in other crowded environments like airports, shopping centers, school campuses and other gathering points of modern life.
In the meantime, until the airlines take notice of disease control, maybe try to stop crowding on too tightly or avoid general boarding altogether.