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Study: Empty middle seats make flying safer during COVID-19

Americans have debated the risks of getting on a plane during the COVID-19 pandemic — especially during the summer vacation season — with few clear answers or evidence to guide their decisions…

A new working paper by MIT Sloan professor and aviation safety expert Arnold Barnett, “COVID-19 Risk Among Airline Passengers: Should the Middle Seat Stay Empty?” sheds some light on the issue, finding that empty middle seats do decrease a passenger’s risk of contracting coronavirus on a flight by a factor of about 1.8.