It seems like air travel is designed to make you miserable. First, there are those tiny seats that have zero legroom and even less butt-room. Then, there’s the handy reclining feature, which you can’t actually use because then the guy behind you will get upset that you’re encroaching on his one square foot of allotted space. Then, there’s the guy who sits next to you who won’t stop asking stupid questions even though it’s clear that you just want to read your book already. But the worst part is the temperature. Because no matter how many blankets you ask for and how many layers you wear, your fingers and the tip of your nose are going to be like ice pretty much from the moment you take off to the moment you touch down, however many hours that may be.
What is the deal with the temperature on airplanes? Is it all part of some very cruel plot to make you uncomfortable, because it’s not bad enough that you have to pay fifty bucks to check a bag and you can no longer expect any nourishment while en route beyond some weird cookie and a half a can of ginger ale, so they have to make it freezing cold, too?
Would you believe that there’s actually a medical reason? Not for the lack of legroom/butt-room and the weird cookie, but for the freezing cold temperatures. According to Travel+Leisure, airplanes are kept cold because people sometimes faint on airplanes, and they’re more likely to do that when the cabin is warm. So basically, the airlines are erring on the side of making everyone freeze to death rather than risking a fainting passenger. So why do people faint on airplanes in particular? There are plenty of hot rooms in the world and no epidemic of fainting. Well, evidently it’s due to a medical condition called hypoxia, which is what happens when part of your body doesn’t get enough oxygen. Hmm… so why don’t they just increase the amount of oxygen in the cabin instead? Travel+Leisure doesn’t say, but it’s probably a safe bet that it’s cheaper to keep everyone nice and frozen than it is to keep them all breathing. Happy flying.
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