Science Daily released an interesting article, based on research conducted at University of Massachusetts Amherst, that shows the low risk of air travel and bacterial illness.
Bacteria that was present in aircraft — with exotic names like Psuedomonas, Bacillus and Staphylococcus — are commonly found on healthy skin and not generally causative organisms of disease.
The research team sampled the air from twelve aircraft (Boeing 767) cabins with flight times of 4.5 to 6.5 hours. The samples were taken from the coach section of the plane at 6 different intervals, including boarding, climb, cruise and deplaning. As expected, the highest concentrations of bacteria was found during boarding and deplaning. When the passengers move through the plane, their activity stirs up dust and skin bacteria, releasing it into the cabin air. During the flight, the bacteria levels decreased, likely due to a decrease in activity in the cabin.