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There’s a TikTok video going viral thanks to Skiplagged reposting it to their Instagram feed. The original video was posted by @truthfully1031 with the caption, “This guy next to me on the plane after that lady started coughing. I feel ya bro.”

In the video, which is embedded below, you can hear a woman hacking like she should be in the hospital. And some of the captions are spot on:

Omg I’d be looking for the eject button! 😳

That happened to me and I was sick for over one month.

This is why I still wear a mask on planes, people are disgusting 😂

I wear a mask because sick people love to fly!!!!! Just got off a plane filled with coughing children and adults who do not care for anyone but themselves. I wear a mask because I need to NOT spread germs to a sick person I care about whose immune system is not as robust as mine 🤬


@truthfully1031 #funny #airtravel #travel ♬ original sound – Cartier Kapone

If you subscribe to my newsletter, then you know that my two biggest pet peeves when I travel are people who watch videos without headphones and people who don’t cover their mouth when they cough. The latter should be against the law.

Even before Covid, I was a germaphobe. Thanks to Facebook Memories, I stumbled upon a post from over a decade ago that shows what I mean. See the screenshot below from 2013, where I wrote: “Guy next to me on the plane was sick as a dog and coughing all over the place. Am I paranoid or smart?”

That’s right, I carried face masks back then and usually wore them only when I was feeling under the weather. I learned this habit from visiting Asia, specifically Japan. It’s so crazy but back then, I used to feel the eye darts when I put a face mask on, which I never understood because I was wearing it to protect others around me.

Back then, airlines weren’t flexible with changing tickets and it would cost at least an extra $150 to change a ticket, so many people flew when they weren’t feeling well. That’s why one of the best things to come out of the pandemic was the fact that many of the U.S. airlines waived change fees for good in the hopes that people wouldn’t fly sick.

It works, at least for me and my family, but unfortunately, I still encounter a lot of sick people on airplanes, including two weeks ago on my flight to Hawaii. BTW: My post about the pilot canceling the flight because he wasn’t ‘feeling it’ since the engine was having problems, went viral. You read and watch the video here.

What I didn’t mention in that post was that the family across the aisle had a little girl who would not stop coughing and she wasn’t covering her mouth. As a germaphobe, it really stressed me out especially the fact that the child’s parents never once told her to cough in her elbow or cover her mouth somehow. They couldn’t have cared less. The person next to me put on a mask, which was smart.

After about an hour or so, I offered the parents one of my special Italian honey cough drops to give to her. I bought a case of them on Amazon for about $25 after a friend in the travel business highly recommended them. Thankfully, the parents took one and gave it to their daughter. It did the trick!

Shockingly, I didn’t get sick, maybe because I had my air vent on or she wasn’t contagious. I do know some people, like my brother-in-law, cough for other reasons (he’s not contagious) but it still bothers me when he doesn’t cover his mouth. Travelgal5 commented on that post saying: “My cough is like that due to sinuses and weak bronchial tubes. It’s never contagious but always embarrassing 🥺”

If this happens to you, here’s my advice:

1. Ask a flight attendant to change seats if it’s not a full flight.

2. If the person isn’t covering his or her mouth, politely ask them to cover it or ask the flight attendant to ask them since they don’t want to get sick either.

3. Offer a cough drop … or a whole package. I always have a couple packs of Honees in my carry-on. I wrote about this thanks to my friend Laura Davidson who said she always travels with two packs of cough drops on a plane: one for her and one to give any coughing passengers next to her.

4. Turn your air vent on and direct the nozzle towards you to create a force field around you. While this is commonly recommended advice, I once asked a Boeing executive this question on a conference call right after the pandemic began: “Do you recommend passengers point the air vent jet on them to create a force field?”  I wasn’t recording his answer but I was shocked when he said there’s a mix of answers in the industry. Some say to open the gasper valves (I didn’t know that’s what they’re officially called) and some recommend closing it. He also said that Boeing is actively studying that right now and some airlines choose not to install them at all. Another journalist chimed in and said, “Boeing is just now studying that?” Shocking, I know.

5. Wear an N95 or KN95 face mask.

6. Use a Wynd Portable Air Purifier. During the pandemic, I traveled with this device constantly and I really wished I’d had it on our flight to Hawaii.

And of course, if you’re the person coughing, consider rescheduling your flight, always cover your mouth or wear a mask.


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2 Comments On "'I feel ya bro': This passenger's reaction to hacking cough on airplane is all of us"
  1. Diana|

    I have asthma and am terrified of coughing on a plane. The dry air on a plane sometimes sets me off and it is miserable. Not everyone coughing is contagious, and not everyone who is contagious is coughing, or even knows they are sick. It’s always a good idea to wear masks in confined spaces, and wash your hands often.

  2. Marlin|

    It’s a lot of paranoia (I feel), I fly about every month at least once and never get sick from flying, I also avoided masks during COVID as much as possible and never had COVID (at least not that I knew about, lol).
    I also cough quite easily from breathing in spices, vinegar, powdered sugar etc.

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