Don’t Panic, But You Can Actually Get Lice On a Plane

published Aug 11, 2018
We independently select these products—if you buy from one of our links, we may earn a commission. All prices were accurate at the time of publishing.
Post Image
(Image credit: Maria Savenko /

We hate to ruin any holiday travel plans you might have, but the next time you sit in an airplane seat, you might want to think twice before leaning your head back. First, it was reported that bed bugs can be transported on their human hosts to airplanes. Now, it only makes sense that lice can be transported too.

Who knew these infestations of bugs enjoyed traveling so much? A few weeks ago, it was reported that a case of bed bugs had been found on an Air India flight. Now, it has been revealed that lice can also be spread on airplanes.

It makes quite a bit of sense that lice can easily be spread on airplanes, as they are known to spread quick and fast. If someone boards a plane with lice, they can transfer that lice if they lean their head back on the headrest. Then the next person who sits there can pick up the lice. Lice don’t fly or hop, they can only crawl, so lice only are transferred via direct contact.

Now, don’t start a mass panic, every plane you get on won’t be carrying lice. Dr. Sharon Wong of the British Skin Foundation is the one who confirmed the terrifying news. Dr. Wong said:

“Most commonly they infect another person via close contact and survive by blood feed from the scalp,” but she then elaborated, “However they can survive off the human host for up to 48 hrs – so within that time frame lice and eggs which have dropped off the hair shaft or hair strands which are infested with lice can potentially be cross transferred to another person by objects such as pillows, hairbrushes… and headrests.”

This means that while every plane isn’t infected if someone gets on a plane and they have lice and they have not used the lice shampoo treatment yet, the lice can live off of their human host for 2 days. This mainly pertains to children, as lice are often spread in young school-aged children.

So, those families traveling with small children, please, we beg of you, check your child’s head before boarding a plane!

H/T: Metro UK