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Too Hot? Too Cold? There’s an App For That

Too Hot? Too Cold? There’s an App For That
Taylor Rains

The summer months in the Southwest and Southeast regions of the United States can be brutal, especially in places like Florida, Arizona, and Nevada. Likewise, the northern regions of the country can experience very cold winter temperatures, icing over runways and planes. In everyday life, this weather can be easy to avoid by simply staying in a temperature-controlled home or office, but what do people do when they are trapped on a blistering hot or freezing cold aircraft?

Today, there is only one regulation controlling aircraft temperature: the cabin and flight deck temperatures must not have a difference of more than five degrees Fahrenheit, but there is nothing in the law defining a specific range that each must remain in. Because of this, the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA (AFA), one of the world’s largest flight attendant unions with over 50,000 members, launched the 2Hot2Cold app as a way to collect data to persuade the Department of Transportation (DOT) to establish aircraft temperature standards.

What Is the 2Hot2Cold App?

2Hot2Cold is an app available on an iPhone and Android. It’s used for reporting extreme temperatures on an aircraft. It’s maintained by the AFA and has been collecting data since 2018. When filing a report, the user must answer the following questions:

  • Temperature onboard
  • Airline
  • Aircraft type
  • Flight number
  • Departure airport
  • Arrival airport
  • Date
  • Phase of flight
    • Departure airport with boarding door open
    • Departure airport with boarding door closed
    • Inflight
    • Arrival airport with boarding door open
    • Arrival airport with boarding door closed
    • Diversion airport (if applicable)
  • Location of extreme temperature
    • Cabin
    • Crew rest facility
    • Flight deck
    • Other
  • Was the aircraft delayed on the ground for 30 minutes or more with the boarding door closed before you measured the temperature?
  • Does anyone on the airplane require medical attention or first aid as a result of being exposed to the extreme temperature environment?
  • Select the statement(s) that accurately describes the situation on the airplane when you measured the temperature:
    • Cold or hot air, as applicable, was blowing from the air vents
    • At least one person complained about the temperature
    • At least one person was visibly sweating or shivering
    • A pilot was onboard
    • None of the above apply
  • Tail number (optional)

I’m sure not many people travel with a thermometer, so most passengers will have to use estimates when reporting the aircraft’s temperature; however, according to AFL and TWU (another flight attendant union), they will be handing out some 60,000 keychain thermometers to their flight attendants to help report more accurate temperatures.

Why Is It Important?

 

Three-digit highs in the middle of summer and below zero lows in the flux of winter can make it difficult for aircraft to maintain a reasonable temperature, causing many passengers and flight crews alike to complain of uncomfortable conditions. The Association of Flight Attendants-CWA’s website explains the health and safety concerns of extreme temperatures on aircraft:

“If it’s too hot, crew and passengers can experience symptoms ranging from the mild (fatigue, dizziness) to moderate (heat exhaustion) to catastrophic (heat stroke).”

“If it’s too cold, health effects range from cold stress to hypothermia.”

“Extreme temperatures also impact cabin operations, by degrading the crew’s awareness of possible security threats, increasing stress that can lead to air rage, medical emergencies, a return to the gate, and other operational disruptions.”

In my experience, the worst cabin conditions are at the gate when the auxiliary power unit (APU) is inoperative or the station does not hook up the pre-conditioned air hose (PCA). Both of these systems help cool down or heat up the aircraft as necessary, otherwise, it can be very difficult to maintain a comfortable environment.

Current Statistics

Airbus 320

Since its launch in the summer of 2018, the app has collected over 2,800 reports from passengers and flight crews. The website updates its data regularly, providing statistics on the most reported aircraft type, temperature location, and phase of flight. The Boeing 737 and Airbus 320 have two of the highest complaints, which may suggest the numbers could be a little skewed considering these planes are the workhorses of the industry, and therefore flown more frequently than other aircraft types. AFA will need to collect more data in the coming years to create a better picture. You can read the current 2Hot2Cold app statistics here.

AFA Petition

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In July 2018, the AFA submitted a petition to the Department of Transportation (DOT) outlining their concerns about the lack of aircraft temperature regulation. They asked the DOT to implement a “reasonable cabin temperature limit” developed by the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air Conditioning. The proposal would require the following:

  • Target range inflight and on the ground: 65-75 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Maximum allowed temperature on the ground: 65-80 degrees Fahrenheit (85 degrees if all inflight entertainment is operating)
  • Maximum allowed temperature inflight: 80 degrees Fahrenheit

Have you ever experienced extreme temperatures on aircraft? What do you think about the AFA’s petition? Let us know in the Cabin Temperature by Airline thread!

View Comments (4)

4 Comments

  1. helping

    January 24, 2020 at 4:26 am

    Temperature with no consideration to humidity is pretty meaningless. As the tropopause (the top of humidity) is mathematically 36,089 feet, most airliners pressurise bone dry air. 22-24C/71.6-75.2F is the typical temperature range inside an airliner.

  2. Kensterfly

    January 24, 2020 at 5:34 am

    When outside temps are very cold, people are already dressed for cold weather: thicker shirts, heavy sweaters, jackets.
    It’s not necessary to overheat the cabin. That makes it miserable.

    Cold natured people can always put on another piece of clothing. I’m only allowed to take off so much.

    Flight attendants tend to overreact when someone complains about cabin temps.
    Even if one person complains they’re cold, the FA will jack the temp up ten degrees, then people complain it’s too hot. Little tweaks of a couple degrees is usually quite sufficient.
    Before adjusting the cabin temp, they should wait to see if others are complaining and not react to just one.

    International flights are the worst because few long range aircraft have individual air outlets. I can tolerate warmer cabins if I have some moving air. So I have to carry a small USB fan on International flights. I’m also prepared to change into shorts and a T-shirt, even in Business Class, if need be.

  3. ConnieDee

    January 24, 2020 at 8:35 am

    I’d be glad to use this app, but first it would have to meet these specifications: you can open it up in airplane mode, enter your data, and save it on your device. Then you can upload the data after landing and reconnecting. (Related to my pet peeve that airline apps don’t work automatically with the free airline wifi.)

  4. CEB

    January 24, 2020 at 2:48 pm

    ConnieDee, FYI the United App (at least mine) works while you’re in the air. Can’t access anything else, but the United information does work!!

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