Brrr... what's with the temperature on planes?

MICHAEL GEBICKI
Last updated 10:56 05/08/2014
Opinion poll

Do you find the temperature comfortable on board planes?

Yes

No

Vote Result

Cold Plane
Getty Images
BRRR IT'S COLD: Keeping temperatures at the lower end of the range on a plane can be a better option than having passengers fainting.

Relevant offers

News

Marlborough wineries urged to cater for Chinese tourists Interislander ferry Arahura mixes water with fuel to cut costs Passports for adults to be valid for 10 years Tourism agents from around the world visit Waiheke Island Cocktails and oysters in Air New Zealand's new Sydney Airport lounge Lonely Planet's guide to surviving anything International airfares will rise new departure tax 5 things worth seeing on Surf Highway 45 How many memes can you detect in Delta's latest inflight safety video? Freedom camper's caravan impounded

The pilot has overall control within a range of about 20-28 degrees, but within those parameters the actual temperature control is left up to the flight crew, who will generally set is at 22 or 23 degrees.

If the temperature drops to 20 degrees passengers start to shiver and complain, but anecdotal advice from flight crew suggests that more passengers faint when the temperature rises above 24 degrees.

This is supported by a study conducted by a study published by the American Society for Testing and Materials, which concluded "There is evidence that cabin pressure and temperature may contribute to the occurrence of syncope", the medical term for fainting.

This results from a deficient blood flow to the brain, which might happen when a passenger rises after a prolonged period of inactivity.

Fainting is more likely to occur following a sedentary spell in an aircraft than at home, sitting in front of the TV for example, because air pressure in the cabin at typical cruising altitude is equivalent to the outside air pressure at 1800-2400m above sea level.

At that altitude, less oxygen is available to be transported in the blood stream, which increases the incidence of fainting.

Flight crew also suggest that passengers sitting in the rear of an aircraft are more susceptible, along with overweight males, elderly passengers and those with cardiovascular conditions.

Ad Feedback

- Sydney Morning Herald

Comments

Special offers

Featured Promotions

Sponsored Content