Nearly 4 billion passengers boarded planes across all global airlines in 2017, and that number shows signs of increasing as the years continue to progress. Despite so many passengers frequently flying across various airlines, there are many things individuals don’t know about flying. Here are six interesting facts about flying that explain why passengers experience dry eyes, mood swings, and more while traveling on planes.
Taste is Reduced During Flights
While airplane food may appear inherently unappetizing, it’s mostly rendered unappealing due to altitude. When it comes to traveling via airplanes, cabin pressure can reduce taste by as much as 30 percent. With about a third of taste buds numbed, it’s no surprise food eaten on airplanes tastes bland. Interestingly, altitude also tends to enhance savory flavors, making tomato juice so much more appealing.
Cabin Air is as Dry as a Desert
Humidity in a home is, on average, over 30 percent. A plane’s pressurized cabin keeps humidity low, typically less than 20 percent, which is about the average humidity of the Sahara Desert. While low humidity doesn’t present any health risks, passengers are advised to wear eyeglasses to prevent dry contact lenses and discomfort, use moisturizing lotions, and limit consumption of alcohol and caffeine on long flights to avoid internal dehydration.
Turbulence Typically Drops a Plane Only a Few Feet
While turbulence may be jarring to passengers, traditional, run-of-the-mill turbulence typically only drops a few feet in altitude. Moderate turbulence can drop a plane between 10 and 20 feet, whereas severe turbulence has the potential to move a plane 100 feet.
During a Crash, the Tail is the Safest Place
When it comes to choosing seats, the last seats prove the safest. While plane crashes are rare, according to a Popular Mechanics study, passengers who sit near the tail of a plane are about 40 percent more likely to survive a crash than those seated in the first few rows of the plane.
Planes Can Still Operate With Only One Engine
While failed engines are unsettling, commercial jets are actually able to fly with only one operable engine. They are also able to land safely without any engine power.
Traveling By Plane Can Influence Moods
Many passengers admit to feeling emotional when traveling by plane. According to a 1988 study, decreased oxygen and mild hypoxia caused by altitude influences moods. This can cause individuals to experience depressive episodes, become irritable, anxious, and apathetic.