Airlines in the United States changed their boarding procedures during the COVID-19 pandemic to try to decrease close contact between passengers and limit the risk of COVID-19 exposure. But according to a new study published in the Royal Society Open Science journal, back-to-front boarding roughly doubles the infection exposure compared with random boarding. Back-to-front boarding actually increases the amount of contact between pairs of seated passengers, and between pairs of passengers in the aisle. The researchers also found that banning the use of overhead bins to stow luggage and keeping middle seats empty can significantly reduce the risk of COVID-19 exposure.