Have you ever been stuck on an airplane that felt too hot or too cold? You’re not alone if the temperature on a flight has ever left you feeling uncomfortable. The temperature inside an airplane’s cabin can pose health and safety risks to passengers.
Headlines were made during the summer of 2017 when a woman and her infant son needed ice bags due to the intense heat inside an airplane cabin during a delayed United flight to Denver. Both needed to be rushed to an ambulance. Luckily, the woman and her infant recovered. Incidents like this have propelled some people in the airline world to move forward with plans to regulate the temperatures on flights.
There are currently no standards in place when it comes to aircraft temperatures. This is something that affects both passengers and crew members. The very young, the very old and people with medical conditions can have some very serious health consequences when extreme temperatures are experienced on planes. People can experience dizziness, disorientation and heatstroke if conditions on a plane become too hot. In addition, cold conditions can result in everything from cold stress to hypothermia.
It should come as no surprise that flight attendants have been the most vocal about pushing for regulations regarding flight temperatures. These are the men and women who work inside airplane cabins day after day. The Association of Flight Attendants-CWA is citing many examples of temperature-related dangers as it urges the Department of Transportation to take measures to regulate the temperatures on commercial planes operated by carriers in the United States. The union represents a total of 50,000 airline workers with 20 different airlines. The Department of Transportation has received the group’s petition and is considering the possibility of taking action.
An industry group called Airlines for America doesn’t think that official regulations regarding aircraft temperature are necessary. The group represents most of the nation’s largest airlines. Airlines for America insists that flight attendants already work with pilots and maintenance teams to adjust the temperature inside each cabin on a case-by-case basis.
The group is quick to point out that current regulations do require a plane’s cabin temperature to be within five degrees of the cockpit’s temperature. This ensures that pilots are in tune with the comfort levels being experienced by passengers and crew members in other areas of a plane. However, no maximum or minimum temperature level is set by law.
What is the ideal temperature for an airplane? The consensus among airlines, union members and manufacturers is that a plane should maintain an interior temperature between 65 degrees and 75 degrees. Most agree that 85 degrees is the maximum temperature that is allowable. However, issues that arise with power units or heating and cooling systems on planes can sometimes cause temperatures to vary wildly.