Flying by airplane can be a convenient and efficient way to travel, but there are some risks associated with it. Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) is one of the most common risks, as well as ear pain and temporary hearing loss. Flight crews and frequent flyers may also be at risk of developing a range of health problems, from cancer and cardiovascular disease to vision and hearing loss, mental disorders, and cognitive decline. When shipping cargo by plane, there are additional risks to consider.
Human error, extreme weather conditions, turbulence, cargo fires, and the shipment of hazardous materials can all lead to accidents or delays. Turbulence can be especially dangerous if cargo is not properly secured or if crew members are injured. It can also cause cargo to move and shift, resulting in breakages, scratches, and dents on fragile items. The most common cause of accidents and cargo damage is human error.
This can include errors in judgment, distraction from attention, fatigue, non-compliance with orders, indiscipline, documentation errors, improper labeling, inadequate loading and unloading, and more. Documentation errors such as incomplete or incorrect information in declarations, customs documents, and labels can prevent air transport from being delivered or cause significant delays. In addition to the risks associated with flying itself, travelers may also be at risk of becoming seriously ill due to the sudden change in environment when they reach their destination. This includes low humidity and air pressure in the aircraft cabin as well as potentially different food, water, and temperature at the destination.
Boeing researchers have used computational fluid dynamics (CFD) to track how particles from coughing and breathing move through the aircraft's cabin.