IT IS an often-heard office conversation. Someone returns from a trip with a nasty bug, and colleagues say he must have caught it from a germ-ridden plane. It is not unusual to come come down with something nasty after flying. And as a fellow Gulliver reported last week, contaminated air on flights is widespread.

Someone has to carry those bugs into the cabin in the first place, before infecting fellow flyers. Researchers at Arizona State University, Florida State University and Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University have found that the way airlines board planes can have a huge effect on the potential for disease contagion. The researchers considered a hypothetical outbreak of the Ebola virus and the effect that different boarding methods could have on infection rates. With the standard boarding method of dividing the plane into three sections and boarding...Continue reading