To some extent it can't be helped. Your digestive tract is used to being surrounded by ~1 atmosphere of pressure. Rapidly take it up a few thousand feet* and the gases will start to leak out.
*average airliner cabin altitude is ~8000'
While Kenyan politicians discussed possible amendments to safety protocols on commercial flights this week, one delivered an impassioned plea. Not about how to thwart terrorism or hijackings, though. Instead she launched a scathing attack on the inalienable human right to pass wind. According to the Daily Nation newspaper, Dr …
and gassy foods consumed HOURS before the flight may be responsible.
Of course there are MORE NOXIOUS things that happen in cabins. Fortunately *SMOKING* is almost entirely banned. But that's a voluntary activity. You can't ban (reasonably) a natural function that's sometimes PAINFUL to try to control. But bathing beforehand, wearing clothes that don't let B.O. out so easily, NOT eating a meal that gives you *DRAGON BREATH*, and so on - these CAN be controlled. Yeah nobody's had to deal with THAT, right?
But then again, there are SOME people (YOU, Gogo) that just HAVE to complain about everyone ELSE in the world, and THEN try to CONTROL them according to YOUR *FEEL* (these kinds of elitists usually end up in gummint, hint hint).
I suppose an MP over there doesn't earn enough ILLEGAL INCOME (read: insider trading and political kickbacks) to afford a PRIVATE JET. So yeah the elitists (read: politicians) are thereby FORCED to use PUBLIC transportation methods...
/me points out that a good flatulist with sufficient 'gassy food' consumed within 12 hours of the flight could trouser-burp "shave and a haircut" loud enough to be heard 10 rows away... and the *smell* is *just* part of *the experience*.
So now the stewardess says: "Coffee, Tea, Milk, Simethicone?"
(I prefer "Coffee, Tea, Monster..." ok who else gets that one?)
yeah there ALSO seem to be too many out there who are secretly trying to make air travel NOT FUN ANY MORE, from the way TSA must give you the E.M.I. equivalent of a RECTAL EXAM [and the excessive waits and belt+shoe removal and barefoot waddling that goes with it] to the cramming together of seats to keep the prices low enough to attract people who'd just drive instead, because of the TSA-related nonsense, and banning of this/that/whatever, and other things... in other words, it used to be FUN to just go to the airport, buy a ticket, get on plane, and ARRIVE SOMEWHERE on a whim. Not so much any more.
Indeed. I recall watching a program where the presenter was being put through some of the tests used by the air force to select & train pilots. One was the hypobaric chamber. The instructor did warn the presenter as they shut the door, and sure enough, as the pressure dropped, the music started.
It's inevitable that is you take a container (say about 30 feet of bowels) with a load of gas in it, and lower the outside pressure, then some of that gas is going to get released - either that, or the owner of said container is going to feel very uncomfortable as the container gets stretched by the pressure differential.
I wonder if there's ever been cases of ruptured innards as a result of such pressure differentials ? Dunno what the pressure rating for a typical digestive system is.
I once had to have a Barium Enema. I was given a small bottle of Picolax to be taken four hours before my appointment, which was at 2PM. I was at work at 10AM, when I took the Picolax. Twenty minutes later, there was a vast internal rumbling, and I had to make a dash for the toilets - GANGWAY, coming through!
At 2PM I presented myself at the hospital, and was told to undress and put on a hospital gown. They then laid me down on a sort of operating table, and the radiographer approached with intent, wielding a long piece of transparent plastic hose, about one inch O/D. With great fear and trembling, I watched as he disappeared behind me, and - My God! - that hurt. He then climbed up onto a small step-stool and held the free end of the pipe up in the air. He poured about half a litre of a white liquid, a Barium salt, into the tube, from where it proceeded to fill my internals. He then said "We're just going to inflate you now". You WHAT? He took the air line and blew me up like an old tyre. Then he said to the nurse "Are you ready?" He removed the pipe, and the nurse jammed a butt plug in to stop the expulsion of the liquid. I was then instructed to turn onto my right side, my back, and then my left side, and then made to adopt all sorts of unusual and uncomfortable positions to ensure that the liquid had coated the total surface area of my internals, before they took four X-Ray shots of my abdomen.
They then told me to put on the gown again, and my dressing gown over it. The nurse handed me a small plastic bag and a pair of blue vinyl gloves. She said to go across the corridor to the toilets, remove my dressing gown, and sit on the toilet. Then - and only then - I was to remove the plug and put it in the plastic bag. I tottered off across to the bog, and with great fear and trembling, reached behind me with one gloved hand. Loud PLOP!, followed by what can only be described as the sound of Old Faithful erupting. The pressure within my bowels expelled the Barium Milk with an incredible force, and when the liquid was exhausted, of course, there was still the huge volume of compressed gas to follow. About a quarter of an hour later, the eruption finally subsided, and I breathed a sigh of relief. Too soon! There were several pockets of trapped gas, and they came out individually with explosive force over the next ten minutes or so.
Eventually, I returned to the X-Ray room and handed over the plastic bag containing the butt plug and the blue gloves. The nurse took them out and rinsed the plug under the tap, before putting it into another clean bag, and offering it to me as a memento. Err, no thanks, I'll pass on that. They then gave me a nappy (diaper for you left-pondians) and a pair of plastic underpants that sealed around the waist and both thighs. I was allowed to dress and leave for home. Of course, there were still pockets of trapped gas, and as they escaped, they inflated the plastic pants, so for the next twelve hours I was having to pull the elastic away from my waist occasionally to reduce the pressure from inside the pants.
It wasn't until the next morning that I could dispense with the nappy and the pants, and dress normally once more.
Oh. my. God.
Just the factual report had me in stitches (sorry, I guess I'm not the comforting type), and that comment on top just made me laugh all over again.
LOL. I have tears in my eyes from reading about this eye watering experience.
What an excellent way to start the week..
The thing is, I recall a Billy Connelly video about the very subject where he went into detail about the consequences ane experience of the medication he had to take for a colonoscopy. Sadly, I have not managed to find it again on YouTube, I only find the colonoscopy one itself. As with most of Connolly's work it was hilarious, and if anyone knows it I would be grateful for the URL.
Way back when, I flew jets for the USAF. The FIRST portion of Pilot or Navigator school is Aerospace Physiology. All the lovely things that happen to the human body at altitude. Farting is just the start. And the 8,000 foot cabin altitude of civilian jetliners is easy: military cabins are typically at 10K feet pressure altitude.
We learned, early on, which foods produce the most gas, and more importantly, which ones make you sleepy. And, as part of the training, we did altitude chamber "rides". Trust me, when you re-pressurised to 8-10K after everyone being on oxygen and cabin altitude at 38K, it was enough to gag a maggot. . .
...some of us just fart a lot. And believe me, I wish I could control it. I've tried all sorts of things, and I avoid certain foods and even certain colours of beer. Antacids, enzyme tablets, bicarb have no effect whatsoever. Eating live, fermenting things such as yoghurt and blue cheese bizarrely seems to help a bit. In any case, I can hold it in for a while, but what results is stomach cramps and lethargy from what I'm guessing is the dissolving of small amounts of hydrogen sulphide (and various carbon chain lengths of thiol) into my bloodstream. And it has to come out some time. Sadly, as you rightly point out, holding it in on a plane is doubly difficult. Never mind eye masks and pillows, maybe they should be handing out these: https://www.myshreddies.com/flatulence/
This isn't flight related but.... *thousand km stare* There was... the incident.
When I was young, we were visiting some family members in their apartment, which was near the top floor of the building. We needed to go out, maybe to the store, I can't recall anymore. I get into the elevator with one of said family members and as we start to descend, the trigger release was heard. A reasonably impressive guttural warble that would make any giggle.
But the humour quickly turned into shock and dismay as the aroma reached our nostrils. The dismay led to barely controlled panic as the smell, somehow, just kept getting _worse_. It was as if a portal to the most fearsome depths of hell had erupted in his lower colon. We couldn't laugh at the absurdity of it all, because that required breathing, and we were now desperately holding our breaths and wiping the tears from our eyes as we watched the floor indicator with the intensity of a sniper waiting to take a history-making kill shot.
Finally, we reached the ground floor and we charged through the barely open doors, gasping for sweet, sweet air. To the sizable crowd waiting for us to get out, it probably looked like we were stifling laughter from a really good joke. If only they knew. We watched in horrific fascination as they all piled into the elevator to go to their respective destinations. When the doors closed, we gave silent wishes of good luck and godspeed as we began walking to the building entrace to continue our day. That's when we heard a sound and looked back to see the elevator doors open again. The entire group desperately ran out of the elevator, coughing, choking and very very nauseous. One of them manages to wheeze, "Jesus Christ somebody died in there!".
We ran out the door before the angry mob could turn on us, laughing that hysterical laughter of someone whose just survived a death-defying event.
Not airline and not even fart related.
Went on a trip to Northumberland a few years ago. While I was there I must have had a dodgy egg and got a bout of salmonella. Driving home my guts were churning and I was repeatedly burping. All I could taste was an eggy flavour and couldn't smell anything, but everyone else in the car was howling in protest that the smell was worse than the foulest farts they had ever encountered.
Had to stop numerous times on the way home to ease their suffering.
There is a case to be made here. The outgoing gas can be used to power the engines. This has the advantage of reducing the ever so bad environmental footprint of flying and can make the branch a favourable mode of transport.
Therefore, all passengers are to be fitted with rear-end bags and tubes. They will collect the precious combustibles and feed it directly into the engines. Passengers will be reimbursed on basis of the gaseous quality and quantity.
Problem solved. Problem turned into an advantage. Human nature; it is the source for our survival at 30000 feet above.
(black helicopters, what else can fly with methane?)
No the answer is Fifth Element sleeper transits, where you slip into a small bunk and get knocked out for the duration of the flight.
It would be a thing right now but for the loss in in-flight sales.
Obviously, knocking yourself out on a cocktail of drink and drugs is still an option.
> (black helicopters, what else can fly with methane?)
Considering that there are quite a few people who claim having been abducted and rear probed by aliens, flying saucers must be propelled by methane.
But why human produced methane? Dunno. Perhaps it’s cheaper than filling in at an interstellar gas station. Then again, aliens may do it that way just for fun.
During the course of my existence, I have crossed the Atlantic a mere twenty times, and you can add a number of Europe-to-Africa and intra-Europe flights to that number.
I have never been subject to such a situation. As far as I'm concerned, everyone farts on a flight, and the air system takes care of it.
Maybe I've just been lucky.
However, I think that an enterprising pol could make a good case for regulating gas-passing as a way to control the release of powerful greenhouse gases, like methane, at altitude, where they can probably create more greenhouse effect.
Given that a whole industry has sprung up around emissions trading and carbon credits/offsets, how about adding these emissions into the mix?
The wealthy will be able to purchase offsets to fart away to their arse's content for the duration of the flight (yes, Harry, I'm thinking of you). The great unwashed can try to restrict their emissions to the allowance, or risk a penalty or surcharge.
I was helping my son in law install central heating in the house they had just bought. The plastic pipes have to have a support tube inserted in the end to support the compression fitting and stop it crushing the pipe. My son in law was not familiar with this, and asked what this bag of short lengths of tube were for. I mischievously said that if he sat on one, he would whistle instead of fart. From then on, we always referred to them as "Whistling Suppositories", and still do to this day. Has raised a few eyebrows at the plumbing supplies shop.
... certainly hundreds of trips total. I can only remember once where a dude had the farts bad enough to even notice. Was the guy in the seat in front of me. He had the gurgles, too, loud ones. At least he had the courtesy to keep apologizing between trips to the toilet. Was a long flight, one of the longest I've ever been on ... Pittsburgh International to La Guardia, maybe 325 miles. Naturally, we were stuck in a holding pattern over the destination for about an hour when we got there ...
ANYhoo, I don't think the problem is very wide spread. Perhaps the lady in question has only made the one trip by air, and managed to get lucky?
Given how cramped the cattle-class has become in the past 20 years or so, supplying enough air to keep the passengers alive, let alone comfortable is a non-trivial problem. IATA specifies that aircraft air circulation systems should provide 15-20 cu ft per minute (7-9 l/s) per economy-class passenger, and achieve 20-30 air changes per hour. (See: https://www.iata.org/whatwedo/safety/health/Documents/cabin-air-quality.pdf).
That air change rate is actually quite high: it is comparable to that for bars and clubs. It is certainly enough to keep everyone at a comfortable temperature. However, about half of this air is recirculated; as the result, the air feed rate is on the low end of that is expected in public spaces. The recommended air supply for bars and clubs is 15-20 l/s; the normal office air supply is supposed to be at 10-20 l/s; restaurants are supposed to be at 10-15 l/s. The 7-9 l/s is comparable to the requirements for cinemas and theatres - presumably because watching passively has lower energy and air requirements - however, these tend to have a much greater volume per person than your typical economy-class cabin, and very few people spend 10-15 hours inside a theater in one go.
To make things worse, those 7-9 l/s of air supply are not quite what it sounds either: for an aircraft cabin pressurized at 2000 meters, the interior pressure is 80% of the sea-level value, so that the IATA-recommended air supply is equivalent to 5.5-7 l/s per passenger at the sea level. That is enough to keep passengers alive, but it is well below the level where I would choose to hang around for an extended period of time, and likely below the workplace safety regulations for many occupations.
So methinks the lady has a point.
Many years ago a mate used to commute on the Victoria Line.
One day he got a seat at Oxford Circus. This impossible feat was achieved courtesy of the Chicken Dopiaza he'd had the previous night, the lack of any serious volume of air in a packed tube carriage and a particularly nasty and voluminous Dopiaza fart.
The doors opened at Oxford Circus, the carriage emptied and nobody got on. Many tried, but thought better of it.
I once did this, but I think I emptied the entire tube train instead of just a carriage.
Think Saturday late morning in the summer (so all windows were down), when I returned with a present for someone, travelling from Picadilly Circus, sitting in the first carriage of the train. When I got out at Acton Town, nobody got on and, as far as I could see, nobody was left in the train either.
The present? A durian, bought in China Town. I spent years in chemical industries so I can handle odd smells (I guess I'm just desensitised), but it appears I'm one of the few - other than those that like durians (no thanks, up close I balk too).
And no, I haven't done that again either.
Flatulence includes the emission of gases from any orifice of the body. So it includes burps and belches which can also be odiferous and anti-social.
Before my gluten intolerance was diagnosed and controlled (1990 so before the modern fads) I had a social anxiety due to my total flatulence. Anyone who doubts my diagnosis is invited to share a small unventilated space with me after I have consumed some biscuits. Once a year when I have a cold or injury so can’t run I relent and my wife buys KFC and I consume it (note the fries are NOT GF) and subsequently great gales of gas THUD through my bowel most uncomfortably seeking an outlet.
...craft an HVAC system in the terminal, purposely designed to be of a lower pressure, as close as possible to the cabin pressure in the flight you are about to take?
All the "outgassing" would be achieved in the terminal, before flight. Even if you "recompress" on the way to the airplane, the COMPOSITION of said gasses won't be the same, and it won't be ingested "through the same surfaces, in the same concentration".
Of course, eating light food, low on sulphur, is always a great idea.
I saw the NASA austronauts carrying their 'suitcase' to the Apollo project and had this idea...
So isn't the climate system enough to circulate the polluted air out (for the occassional cough that is)
A serial producer would be offering a constant jet stream of brown air though, the people around them would keep suffering.
Asking for a friend.
Also I see these days they don't have adjustable blow jets on the ceiling any more, you're relying on a centralised air diffuser.
Cabin staff might need to keep a can of air freshener on hand for when you're one hour deep into a 13 hour non stop flight.
Sounds like my US Navy days. Ship hits port, 3/4 of the crew hits the beach for fast food and beer. Some hours later, a bunch of broke and drunken sailors return to the ship and hit their racks. Shortly thereafter, the air in the Engineering berthing area became somewhat thick.
For those who have never been on a ship, they stack the bunks 3-high in two end-to-end rows with a 3-foot aisle between them. End result is 12 guys sleeping in a 7X12 foot area. Same arrangement is repeated all down the main 4-foot aisle. Kind of like a main road with a bunch of cul-de-sacs.
Thankfully, the gyrocompass equipment and the PBX required air conditioning...And there was just enough space down in the shop to stretch out with blanket and pillow behind the workbench.
Mazatlán was probably the worst that I can remember. About 75 engineering types returning after a night of Mexican food, bad water, and cheap beer...
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