Why you shouldn't turn the air con off above your plane seat

Even if it means you're freeeeeeezing, you need it on!

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Why you shouldn't turn the air conditioning on while flying

Sure, you may have an amazing holiday waiting for you at the end, but sometimes plane journeys can be deeply unpleasant experiences.

For starters - why are they always so cold?

See also: Why you shouldn't eat on planes

See also: Would you use your finger as a boarding pass?

Especially, it seems, when you're absolutely knackered and just want to sleep but, owing to the arctic gusts of air con being blown in your direction, can't.

Many of us choose to switch off the air conditioning as soon as we can on a flight.

It's not just the cold that's off-putting, but also the worry air con is one surefire way of spreading the germs of a hundred odd other strangers.

But this is actually way off the mark.

By shutting off the personal air vent on a flight, we may be increasing our chances of getting ill.

Credits: GETTY

Aeroplanes can be germ zones

Dr. Mark Gendreau, medical director and vice chair of emergency medicine at Lahey Medical Center-Peabody in Massachusetts is something of an expert about infectious diseases.

He explained to Travel + Leisure why it is we should keep the vent on.

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"For airborne viruses, it is incredibly important to ventilate, since ventilation becomes your main means of control besides isolating the affected person," he says.

Airborne viruses are transmitted by tiny droplets of nuclei that hang around in the air for as long as five hours.

Dr Gendreau says these droplets can't in fact reach you if the air con is on, because a barrier has been formed around you which prevents this.

Many of us may attribute air con to the spread of germs - but this is incorrect. He adds, "the air that you're typically breathing and exposed to is usually anywhere from two to five rows surrounding your seat.

"The flow pattern of air on an aircraft doesn't necessarily work front to back, or back to front. It's actually compartmentalised into various sections on the aircraft."

So keeping the pesky air con on is a good thing, even if you do feel like you're going to keel over with pneumonia.

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