The metal birds of the sky

July 20, 2017

This is why it’s always so cold on planes

Why the constant temperature mind games those pilots play? You’re in the waiting room: boiling. You’re walking to the plane: chilly. You’re waiting on the plane at the gate: hotter than the sun.

When you take off:

You basically have to pack both your winter and summer wardrobes just for the plane journey and be prepared to switch from bikini mode to blanket in a second’s notice.

But why?

The Metro dug out an old study by ASTM International which looked at why passengers faint mid-flight.

The study found that hypoxia, a ‘deficiency in the amount of oxygen reaching the tissues’ was more likely to occur during a flight than while on the ground because of the pressure inside the cabin. And hypoxia can often lead to fainting.

Another trigger for hypoxia is warmer cabin temperatures, so airlines choose to keep the cabins cool to lower the risk of anyone passing out.

Makes sense.

This is what would happen if someone tried to open a plane door mid-flight.

Just this month there have been news reports of passengers trying to do that very thing, which is quite frankly, terrifying. Thankfully the cabin crew have been able to stop them before they reached the door every time.

But what would happen if they hadn’t been stopped?

Well, according to Travel and Leisure, we can all relax a little as opening a cabin door while the plane is at cruising altitude is physically impossible.

Jason Rabinowitz, aviation blogger, told Travel and Leisure: “When at cruising altitude, the pressure difference between the outside of the plane and the inside of the plane, which is pressurised, creates a situation where the door cannot open.”

In fact, the pressure pushing against the plane’s interior is so strong that it would take a hydraulic jack to even get close to opening the door. If it did happen, which, remember, is impossible, then Rabinowitz told Travel and Leisure that this would cause an “explosive decompression”.

At this point pilots would make a dramatic emergency descent and oxygen masks would drop from the ceiling.


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