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What’s the Ideal Temperature for A Flight? Flight Attendants Want to Set A Standard

What’s the Ideal Temperature for A Flight? Flight Attendants Want to Set A Standard
Scott Dylan

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.

View Comments (7)

7 Comments

  1. htb

    August 16, 2018 at 10:54 pm

    I think around 20° sounds about right.
    I would find it most helpful if the airline published their aircraft temperature so that people can prepare. ANA is consistently warmer than LH, and American based airlines usually remind me of the inside of a freezer.

  2. ericw

    August 19, 2018 at 2:03 pm

    The temperature is one of the reason that I’d rather fly North American airlines than Asian airlines transpacific, especially in crowded Y. It is similar for tropical country-based airlines – I guess people there are just more used to the heat…

  3. Xnuiem

    August 19, 2018 at 2:10 pm

    LH is usually so warm I can’t sleep, even in F and J. But to be fair, I am an American and I like it way cooler than my European friends.

  4. RoadDog89

    August 19, 2018 at 6:58 pm

    68, its the temperature we keep rock and roll tour busses at.

  5. Sweet Willie

    Sweet Willie

    August 21, 2018 at 1:36 pm

    Cooler temp = better sleeping (for most)
    Cooler temp = less sweat/odor from other travelers
    Cooler temp can be combated with more clothing layers, whereas warmer temps one can’t do much about
    clearly cooler temp is the way to go

  6. Tizzette

    August 22, 2018 at 5:40 pm

    Workers moving around always like it cooler than people who are sitting still. FA uniforms need to be cooler. Yesterday I got sick from exposure in an overly air conditioned restaurant than must have been 65 or less even though I brought a warm sweater. 65 is too low, I always dress warmly for planes and even then must add a second sweater and sometimes also my jacket, I hope they settle on and ideal temperature of 72, which is the recommended thermostat setting in homes and should be tolerable for everybody.

  7. MARINFLL

    August 22, 2018 at 9:00 pm

    68-70 would be ideal. I HATE it when people complain about it being cool and they crank up the temp to 75+, making it miserable to sleep. I wish they would make a rule saying they would never make it hotter than 70 degrees, period!

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