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Typical max altitude for LAX-SJC? Need to run experiment

Typical max altitude for LAX-SJC? Need to run experiment

Old Jun 28, 14, 9:47 pm
  #1  
dtc
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Typical max altitude for LAX-SJC? Need to run experiment

What's the typical max altitude for a flight from LAX->SJC?

Does it matter from model of plane?

What should I look for if I'm looking to reach the max altitude?

Should I fly into SFO instead?

Context: Many moons ago, my companion ("dtc2") developed a nose/ear problem that makes dtc2's inner ear hurt. We've reached the limits of the art of medicine - professionals say there's nothing that can be done and to go enjoy life - including flying. Needless to say, dtc2 has been very concerned. At the same time, this lack of flying has really impacted our lives. The idea came up that we would drive to LA, and then fly back home to SJC. It's a short flight - if things go awry, we could go straight to a medical professional. If things went well, maybe we'd go onto take a longer flight to SEA, then maybe all the way to HNL/JFK.
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Old Jun 28, 14, 10:00 pm
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Typical max altitude for LAX-SJC? Need to run experiment

No matter the airline, plane type, or route a flight from the LA area to the SF area would at least be 30,000. Southwest flies as high as 38,000 feet on this route, and even United's CRJ's get up to 32,000 feet or so.

If you really want to try a basic level of altitude, I suggest a prop flight. SFO-MRY could work. It would be on a prop and it wouldn't get above 10,000 feet. If all goes well, I'd suggest then going to SoCal and so on.

If the docs are clearing her, then I would hope to think all would go well. I completely understand the anxiety about it though!

I hope you find something that works and I wish you and your companion the best!
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Old Jun 28, 14, 10:14 pm
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I'd suggest using FlightAware to look at the various options. Just plug a flight number into the url (http://www.flightaware.com/live/flight/_______) where _______is the flight using the three digit airline identifier (AAL, UAL, SWA, DAL etc.) followed by the flight number. For example (http://www.flightaware.com/live/flight/AAL2592).

Cheers,
Cameron
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Old Jun 28, 14, 10:15 pm
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Inner ear problems can be affected by a number of issues, such as having a cold or other infection.

Bear in mind that cabins are pressurised to a set pressure, regardless of what altitude and determined by the crew. (I'm sure someone more knowledgeable will be along to confirm this).

Some aircraft, like the 787 are designed with higher cabin pressure in mind. However, what may really be the issue is rate of change of pressure on climb out....which is difficult to determine.

Maybe hire a light aircraft and pilot to see how you go?
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Old Jun 28, 14, 10:28 pm
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No matter what the altitude of the plane is, the cabin will be pressurized for about 8,000 feet.
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Old Jun 28, 14, 10:30 pm
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Cool

Originally Posted by SherlockHerbert View Post
Inner ear problems can be affected by a number of issues, such as having a cold or other infection.

Bear in mind that cabins are pressurised to a set pressure, regardless of what altitude and determined by the crew. (I'm sure someone more knowledgeable will be along to confirm this).

Some aircraft, like the 787 are designed with higher cabin pressure in mind. However, what may really be the issue is rate of change of pressure on climb out....which is difficult to determine.

Maybe hire a light aircraft and pilot to see how you go?
Cabin pressure is independent of altitude in pressurized craft.

An easier test would be to drive up to Tahoe or Donner Pass. You could just turn around of it got painful.
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Old Jun 28, 14, 11:35 pm
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Originally Posted by UAL250 View Post
If you really want to try a basic level of altitude, I suggest a prop flight. SFO-MRY could work. It would be on a prop and it wouldn't get above 10,000 feet. If all goes well, I'd suggest then going to SoCal and so on.
And so from tonight's thread, I learned that there actually flights from SFO-MRY. I never knew that. (Incidentally, prices are $10xx rt, $7xx one way - !)

Thanks for all the info in this thread!
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Old Jun 29, 14, 9:48 am
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Originally Posted by dtc View Post
And so from tonight's thread, I learned that there actually flights from SFO-MRY. I never knew that. (Incidentally, prices are $10xx rt, $7xx one way - !)

Thanks for all the info in this thread!
On the positive side, SFO/MRY is one of the routes UA often advertises close-in sales for. Not that that makes it worth doing from a cost-to-fly versus cost-to-drive perspective.

I like Doc Savage's suggestion of driving up I-80 to Donner Pass. The road tops out at around 7,200 feet elevation. The air pressure there would be similar to the approximately 8,000 foot pressurization in an aircraft cabin.

If that drive is comfortable then try a short flight. As SherlockHerbert noted, sometimes the issue is not the 8,000 foot pressurization but the rate of ascent or descent. That rate has affected me once or twice when I had a sinus problem while traveling.
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Old Jun 29, 14, 10:46 am
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Great ideas! Thanks everyone.
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Old Jun 29, 14, 11:54 am
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Typical max altitude for LAX-SJC? Need to run experiment

I had such severe problems as a child I would cry from pain. Tried everything from medicine to flight attendants giving me two cups each with napkins soaked in hot water from onboard dispenser for each ear. Later at about age 10 I decided to stop as I boarded to explain problem. The captain did a slower pressurization and de pressurization and that solved the problem along with me doing the well known diving technique of holding my noise and equalizing my ear drums. Instead of doing a test flight have you ever though about going to a scuba diving facility and practice GOING DOWN in water? Think out of the box.

Last edited by Centurion; Jun 29, 14 at 5:18 pm
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Old Jun 29, 14, 1:32 pm
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Typical max altitude for LAX-SJC? Need to run experiment

Scuba diving is a great idea as well!

If the rate would be a problem, don't take a 757 flight anytime soon

(Especially out of SNA!)
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Old Aug 22, 15, 3:33 pm
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On the way from OGG SJC the other day, I used an altimeter app on my Samsung Galaxy 5, and it reported around 7,300 ft cabin altitude once we were at cruise. The captain afterwards told me he set the pressure to around 7500 so that's close enough. As OP pointed out, a 787 will be much better, around 5,000 ft.

Regarding rate of pressurization and depressurization, 727s were brutal in that regard, but one hopes they're not in passenger service anywhere you will fly.
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Old Aug 22, 15, 4:36 pm
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There are places within a few hours of the Bay Area where you can drive to 10K feet, as well. Horseshoe Meadows and White Mountain (both near Whitney) are about 10K, and there are are other places around there you can drive to as well. The nice thing about that is that you can pick the ascent rate and turn around immediately if you need to.
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Old Aug 22, 15, 5:57 pm
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By coincidence I was on the SJC LAX flight in a regional jet. The captain said the cruising altitude was 27,000 ft and cabin altitude was set to 5,000. I measured 3,700 using an altimeter app on my phone which appears to run a little on the low side.

Some crew when asked after the flight talk about PSI, typically 8, or on this flight, about 6... I guess it depends on the instrumentation on the plane. My recollection is that the psi dial and control is quite small on some aircraft so the setting may be approximate.
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Old Aug 22, 15, 9:36 pm
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Rate of change in pressure is perhaps more important than absolute change with altitude, thus driving a mountain pass is not likely to yield reliable information.

Consider "Earplanes," which slow the pressure changes that your ears are subjected to and are a big help for many people.

Also, the middle ear, rather than the inner ear, is the anatomic part that can become problematic with pressure changes.
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