April 13, 2021 / The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released a study where it suggests that blocking middle seats on commercial flights could reduce risk of Covid exposure by up to 57 per cent, when compared with full flight.
Researchers conducted the study based on laboratory modelling of exposure to the virus on single-aisle and twin-aisle aircraft in November 2020. The research is based on the risk of exposure when face masks are not worn.
The CDC’s research is also backed by results of a separate study into potential coronavirus transmission on a 10-hour international flight in March 2020, when 16 people were ultimately infected. That study found 75 per cent of infected passengers were seated within two rows of a symptomatic passenger, suggesting these passengers could have contracted the virus from that symptomatic passenger.
While many airlines initially temporarily introduced the blocking of middle seats in order to keep passengers comfortable, particularly amid a period of low ticket sales, a vast majority have now dropped (or announced their intention to soon drop) the policy, the last one to do so in the US being Delta Airlines (DL). (Photo Wikimedia Commons)