Consider this an anecdote from my recent Houston trip. While returning the ASM meeting (and how about next year we not hold it in states where those are pregnant can’t attend safely and also not over a federal holiday and Father’s Day?), I realized that it had been an exhausting couple of weeks, and since I’m not spending a ton of money on indoor dining or travel (none akshually), I upgraded to first class*.

That gave me an opportunity to see who was masking. I think only about ten out of 180 (or slightly more) in economy class were masking, while among those of us in the Olympus of first class**, five out of twelve were masked, with four of us wearing N95s.

Just like #DavosSafe, maybe we need a new hashtag #FirstClassSafe?

Seriously, if there is a place you should wear a mask, it’s a plane. That said, it does seem, compared to Canada or the UK, that the prevalence of COVID is low and steady right now, so I doubt there was any transmission on the plane.

*Between free luggage and a low upgrade fee, it really wasn’t expensive at all.

**Given how shitty air travel is compared to a couple of decades ago, it’s all cattle class by comparison.

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3 Responses to #FirstClassSafe

  1. John says:

    I haven’t noticed that air travel is any worse now than twenty years ago. In fact, I haven’t noticed it being worse than a quarter century ago, or 30 years ago.

    I agree about masks, though. I flew on vacation this month, and the planes were full of unmasked travelers. I expect every flight to be a mild spreader.

  2. Stormcrow says:

    Not a “mild” spreader.

    A veritable Covid cesspit.

    Journal article that was published 2 weeks ago: SARS-CoV-2
    airborne infection probability estimated by using indoor carbon dioxide

    In a typical outpatient setting, the required indoor CO₂ concentration at which R₀ does not exceed 1 is below 620 ppm with no mask, 1000 ppm with a surgical mask and 16000 ppm with an N95 mask.

    CO₂ concentrations in airliners pretty much start at 2000 ppm, and go up from there.

  3. Bill Seymour says:

    I recently completed a trip, Amtrak on this side of the Pond, and flying between Boston and Varna, Bulgaria. I blogged about it at


    Although I didn’t mention it in any of my blog posts, I was one of the very few wearing an N95, indeed any kind of mask at all, on any of the trains and planes I rode on. Also, although I didn’t count them, I’d guess that fewer than ten percent of some very smart people at an ISO standards committee meeting were wearing masks. I’ve given up trying to figure it out.

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