Cabin Fevers

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Does flying make you sick? Now, I'm not asking if the sight of your Louis Vuitton valise being whisked away on a conveyer belt to nowhere makes you queasy. Nor am I asking if you're an AA pilot. I mean, quite literally, does flying on airplanes give you la grippe?

If so, you're not alone. Perfectly healthy people every day board planes to Chicago or Akron, only to deplane as pallid, sickly shadows barely able to ask after their lost Louis Vuitton valises.

Scientists have pretty much eliminated aircraft air quality as the culprit. Airplane air, the scientific community claims, is cleaner than that in most hermetically sealed human-sardine-cans.

What then, causes airplane passengers to have a higher illness rate than, say, station wagon passengers? Some argue that it's a combination of tension, turbulence and the overall gulag atmosphere aboard most flights. Okay. But why is a guy who's on his way from Topeka to Tahiti going to feel tense enough to come down with a bug?

I blame the little air nozzle above your seat that, even when it's turned off, shoots an icy blast directly down the back of your neck no matter how you adjust it. I say ban the nozzle, fight the flu. And while you're at it, airlines, peel me a grape. I feel a cold coming on.

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