Farts On A Plane
February 17, 2013

Farts On A Plane

It’s one of the more awkward and, some might say, inappropriate occurrences of air travel. Blame it on a change in cabin pressure or simple anxiety, but flatulence affects every plane passenger, pilot and crew member alike. A team of British and Danish researchers are now suggesting those flying add a little more “air” to their air travel, parroting the old-adage: “It’s better out than in.” Yet, while allowing oneself to become quite liberal with their gas may have some advantages, the obvious drawbacks (annoyed co-passengers and awkward social situations) remain.

The gas-centric report also points out several facts about farting, calling it a completely normal occurrence as the average person breaks wind about ten times a day.

As the story goes, one of these scientists became inspired to begin researching the matter of airplane flatulence after a particularly lengthy flight to Tokyo. Once back at home, Jacob Rosenberg convinced a team of researchers to help him complete this study, which found that refusing oneself the right to break wind can cause bloating, discomfort, dyspepsia, pain and even more stress. According to Hans Christian Pommergaard, Jakob Burcharth, Anders Fischer, William Thomas and Professor Rosenberg, the medical professionals who contributed to this report, the easiest way to prevent these symptoms is to simply let them fly.

The obvious downside to becoming so free with flatulence is the accompanying aroma, the worst of which belongs to women, say the researchers. Additionally, were entire cabins to have read this study begin farting at will, the air quality and overall experience of the flights would stand to suffer. Cabin crews have also been known to ignore those passengers who choose flatulence over pleasant air.

There’s also the issue of the occasionally “messy” fart, which could lead to “damage control in the airplane toilet.”

For all the possible awkward situations and downsides, the researchers claim it’s still best to release the gas rather than hold it in.

Rosenberg and crew claim the situation becomes more dire at the front of the plane when farts are held in.

“If the pilot restrains a fart, all the drawbacks previously mentioned, including diminished concentration, may affect his abilities to control the airplane,” explained Rosenberg, speaking to Aussie-based News.com.

No good fart goes unpunished, says Rosenberg, adding: “If he lets go of the fart his co-pilot may be affected by its [odor], which again reduces safety on board the flight.”

Rosenberg and team do have a few suggestions to allow flyers the freedom to fart without ruining their fellow passengers’ experiences.

For instance, airlines could begin stuffing their seat or floatation aids with charcoal to trap and neutralize the scent. These airlines could also begin to adjust their menus to include less fiber, which may quicken the release of gas.

“The future frequent flyer may develop the ability to “sneak a fart” by wearing charcoal-lined underwear thus experiencing a comfortable flight in harmony with fellow passengers,” conclude the researchers in their paper. They also discourage setting these farts alight, either on ground or in the air, although this has been a proven method to reduce the accompanying odor.

Image Credit: Pressmaster / Shutterstock

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