Coughing On A Plane

A Lesson In COVID-19 Manners

Photo by Jon Flobrant on Unsplash

Tim is a pilot. As he checks his instruments, his co-pilot Tom coughs, without covering his mouth.

Trying to be polite, Tim takes out a bottle of hand sanitiser, squirts some onto his palms, and starts rubbing his arms all the way to the elbows.

“It's all right, relax.” Tom drawls. “It’s just the aircon. Always gives me a dry throat.” He coughs again; once more, not covering his mouth.

Tim doesn’t care if it’s the aircon or not, he just wishes Tom would keep his germs to himself.

“You might want to get swabbed.” Tim suggests, “Better safe than sorry, especially with all the passengers on board.”

Tom laughs it off, saying he’s overreacting.

What Tom doesn’t know is that Tim ate an Indian curry yesterday. His stomach feels gassy. As any frequent flyer will know, it is common courtesy in an aeroplane to only release unfortunate eventualities in the bathroom, where any bad odours can be vented to atmosphere, perhaps contributing to global warming.

Tim does no such thing. Shifting in his seat he lets off a bout of bowel turbulence.

Tom wrinkles up his nose. He looks away, involuntarily clapping a hand over his mouth.

“Are you sick?” He mumbles.

“No,” Tim replies. “Must be the aircon.”

It’s not about your rights. It’s not about your party. It’s not even about your own health.

It’s About The Wellbeing Of Others.

Observe Social Distancing.

Cover Your Mouth.

Wear A Mask.



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Daniel Caruana Smith

Daniel Caruana Smith


Daniel is a writer, senior teacher and geographer based in Malta. His main passion is empowering students to fulfill their aspirations and reach their goals.