Travel SOS: Why are planes so cold?

Adam is flying from Townsville to Spain and has to take a jumper just for the flight.

Why are planes so cold?

Adam is flying from Townsville to Spain and has to take a jumper just for the flight.


Q. Adam
My wife and I will be travelling from Townsville to Spain next week. The weather is wonderful up here in sunny north Queensland and is expected to be the same when we arrive in Spain for a two-week holiday. We would love to pack light for this trip, but unfortunately we both feel the need to take jumpers with us, just for the plane trip. I don’t understand why planes are so damn cold. Could you please explain the reason for this?

A. You certainly are not imagining things, Adam. Airlines do deliberately keep the temperatures when flying, however, you will be relieved to know that they do it for a very good reason rather than just to annoy passengers.

The reason it has become standard practice to conduct air travel with low air temperatures in the cabin is because of health issues. It has been found that people are more likely to faint in the air than they are on the ground. This is partly due to a condition called hypoxia.

Hypoxia is a medical condition that occurs when the body doesn’t receive enough oxygen. Hypoxia can occur in healthy people at high altitude. One of the triggers for hypoxia can be an overheated cabin.

This is why most airlines keep the temperature set below what is considered comfortable for most people.

There is some good news on the way, though. Most new aircraft are able to regulate temperature more precisely because they have more advanced thermostats that allow the temperature to be adjusted by row. This may mean your flight might not be as cold as some others you have been on in the past.

How do you find the temperature when you travel? Is it too cold for your liking?

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    Karl Marx
    29th Jun 2019
    All airlines I've been on supply a blanket
    30th Jun 2019
    If you get given a blanket on a plane, make sure it's wrapped. If it's not, it's been used before and all nasty bugs, etc can be on it.
    Karl Marx
    30th Jun 2019
    All seats have a blanket in a sealed bag & a pillow with all the airlines I fly on. More bugs & nasties on the carpet, armrest, table etc most likely. Takes antiseptic wipes with you is the best advice
    1st Jul 2019
    Unfortunately, the blankets are only washed on average, after 7 uses. Just because they're wrapped doesn't mean they've just been washed.
    Capn Dan
    29th Jun 2019
    I prefer cool to warm and dress for it.
    29th Jun 2019
    I wouldn' t consider it a big issue personally to take clothing to keep me warm when travelling. I prefer it to be cool rather than stuffy when you can't breathe properly.
    30th Jun 2019
    Too cold! As are movie theatres (random complaint). Also sometimes long-distance trains. Or maybe I just feel the cold. I take a jacket for all these.
    The Bronze Anzac
    1st Jul 2019
    We all seem to complain about things we cannot control ourselves. And everyone is different. Just do what makes you comfortable & stop complaining.
    3rd Jul 2019
    I just flew from Heathrow to Beijing. The Air China cabin was incredibly warm. I miss the personal air flow nozzles aircraft used to have above each row. At least the air flow could help keep you cool.

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