help! Where is the safest seat on an airplane?

My son is flying from Los Angeles to New York City thanks to the. I gave him a ticket on Delta Air Lines because they were blocking the middle seats. That said, the seating configuration of the aircraft is 2-3-2. I have heard that window seats are the safest, but there is always a risk that someone will sit next to them. what do you recommend? Susanna

Deciding whether to sit on an aircraft has always been an exercise in strategy and skill: how to get the most legroom, the best shut-eye, the fastest exit. The stakes certainly sound high now.

Before we start, some numbers to calm your mind: In its third quarter, Delta’s passenger weight factor – the percentage of available seats – fell from 88 percent last year to 41 percent this year, according to the airline Latest investor report, Does not mean a lot of flights. new data It also states that when everyone is wearing a mask and other protocols are found, the planes – with their high efficiency, virus-zapping air filters – are less risky than grocery stores. But I will leave the nuances of viral spread to scientists and try to outline some things that your son can avoid sharing with a stranger.

Before the epidemic, the Boeing 767 aircraft that your son is scheduled to fly would have boarded 165 passengers in economy class. Currently, many cabins in the Delta have a 70 percent capacity limit, including economy class, which can carry passengers up to about 115. Even on a flight where the economy class is 70 percent, about 50 seats are guaranteed to be vacant.

My original plan was to pick up the number 115, go out on Delta.com with a seat map and find out the possibility of my son sitting alone when the plane is up to 70 percent. This, I learned, is a huge waste of time.

Delta, Unlike many of its peers, will continue Intervening seats Through at least Jan. 6 in an effort to separate small parties of one or two. Parties of three or more can book with adjacent – middle seats. On planes without middle seats – say, 2-3-2 configuration of economy class on the 767 – other seats will be blocked as tickets are purchased and seats are selected. The more people sit together, the more likely it is that your son can sit alone when the plane is 70 percent full, but there is no way to estimate how many people will fly individually, in pairs or in groups.

There are still ways to be active; For example, your son may use Fly delta app Changing seats until about one hour before boarding. Just as someone can refresh the fantasy football score or election results, your son is sitting atop the seat at the gate. He can continue to make changes on the gate agent and (informally, perhaps) the ship.

Additionally, in an emailed statement, a Delta spokesperson said, “If customers are uncomfortable with where they are sitting, they can be rebooked for a second flight at no charge or difference.”

I asked Sandra AlbrechtAn assistant professor of epidemiology at Columbia’s Mailman School of Public Health and the chief epidemiologist behind it. “Dear Epidemic,“A scientific communication effort on social media, if she sits next to someone she will cancel her flight.

“Of course not,” he said. “As with everything related to Kovid, the risk spectrum is a sliding scale. You can think of sitting that you can slide one notch up and one notch down, but there are some other things you can slide, like, 10 points up or 10 points down.

Risk tolerance and health vary, so let’s return to your question about window seats. If the goal is to sit as far away from strangers as possible, then your hunch is theoretically correct.

“If you are on the window seat and the corridor seat is not occupied, the nearest passenger will be in the middle section or on the other side of the aircraft,” Arnold Barnett, A MIT Sloan School of Management has statistics professor Studied the effects of keeping the middle seats open On the possibility of getting sick. “It is already a distance of several feet. If everyone is wearing a mask, this is a good situation. “

However, it is not open-closed. Suppose you have selected the correct window seat and boom: the screaming child sends an angry passenger to Kemar pastry – next to his son. Or a seat is not bent, causing its occupant to move. Or the aircraft is 70 percent full and the math suggests that a handful of single passengers have to sit together.

If you are someone who cannot tolerate that kind of uncertainty, sit on the corridor in the center section – the corridor will be on one side and an empty middle seat on the other side.

“The advantage is that you have no one sitting near you, so you are away from other people for a continuous period of time,” Dr. Albrecht said. “But you have different kinds of people in the corridor, so you have the possibility of intercourse with a lot of different people.”

Fortunately, Drs. Barnett said, when someone (on the way to the bathroom) says, “It’s such a short time you’re in proximity and you’re wearing a mask.”

We can only anticipate and control this much, so experts recommend focusing on exactly what we can predict and control.

Dr. “We should not let the seat-assignment question distract us from thinking how we can be safe during the rest of the travel process,” said Albrecht.

This means leaving your mask at home or at the airport to eat, and wait until the crowd gets on the plane. It also means having some perspective: we are in an epidemic According to the agency, air travel – on November 1, the number of people passing through TSA checkpoints was equal to about 38 percent of the previous year. Is going on Till here holiday trip Expected to be down; Airports can get busy around Thanksgiving, but the numbers are almost certain what they are doing normally.

And because your son is flying a week in advance – a particularly smart move any year, but especially now, when crowds bring safety concerns – he is likely to end up with a lot of elbow room. As I suspected, the seat map confirms: there is still a sea of ​​open window seats.

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