Can You Get Head Lice From Airplane Seats?

Jet airliner docked at airport boarding gate

Here you are…you have arrived at the airport and are ready to fly off on your annual vacation. All of a sudden, you get a little anxious; your friend picked up a case of head lice on her last foray from home. Could she have gotten those annoying creature from the plane seat?Airplane seat

You are about to spend four hours sitting on those seats. Just how clean are they? We don’t know exactly what goes into cleaning seats between flights, but we do know that it is very unlikely that you will get a case of lice from an airplane seat. The reason for that is that lice do not usually leave a human head (where their food supply is: human blood) unless they have another head to go to. If they do crawl off the head and onto a seat, they will likely die within a few hours.

To protect yourself on a plane

We suggest that you take a tissue and wipe off the seat before you sit down. In the unlikely chance that there is a louse there, you will wipe it away. Nits (Lice eggs) are glued to the hair and it is even less likely that they will fall out. If a nit does get pulled out of the hair, it will not reattach under any circumstances.

So as you spot your plane on the tarmac, envision your upcoming vacation enthusiastically. As commonplace as lice are, the most likely way to get lice is through head to head contact. It is not at all likely that you will contract a case from a plane seat. Bon voyage!  

Airport interior lines of people and signs