Why are planes so cold?

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

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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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Written by Ben

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