How flying seriously messes with your mind

Changes in The Immune System

Lower air pressure causes changes in the immune system of the passengers, which can lead to an increase in inflammations, which is linked to depression. This also makes them vulnerable to infections.


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How flying seriously messes with your mind

How flying seriously messes with your mind


Key Ideas

Flying Changes our Mind and Body

Taking a flight creates physical and emotional changes in us, something that is now being more extensively researched. Air travel can change our mood, make us emotionally weak (more crying) or sad, and even change how our senses work.

The factors responsible for this phenomenon are the high altitude, the reduced air pressure, inadequate oxygen going in the brain and overall anxiety associated with flying.

Flight Effects on Passengers

While we are on a flight, there are plenty of changes that we can experience:

  • Change in brain chemistry and memory due to the deficiency in oxygen.
  • Cognitive deficits in people who are already ill.
  • Increased tiredness and more yawning during the flight.
  • Deterioration in vision, dryness of skin, change in taste of food due to a reduction in the sensitivity of our taste buds and a decrease in the sense of smell.
  • Change in air-pressure makes passengers generally uncomfortable with the sitting.

    The Anxious Flight Passenger

    Mood swings, along with general anxiety or nervousness are common among flight passengers.

    • Less oxygen can increase the effects of alcohol and the overall anxiety. These factors contribute to emotional changes, which can make people less friendly, more stressed out and lethargic.
    • People are also prone to severe mood swings, like having extreme emotional reactions to movie scenes which would otherwise appear normal to them.

    Changes in The Immune System

    Lower air pressure causes changes in the immune system of the passengers, which can lead to an increase in inflammations, which is linked to depression. This also makes them vulnerable to infections.



    Social Distancing In Planes
    Social Distancing In Planes

    As social distancing measures need to be implemented due to the 2020 pandemic and its causes, airlines are examining how this will be impacting flying, once the travel restrictions are eased.

    Eliminating The Middle Seat

    Current guidelines make a good case of eliminating the not-so-favorite middle seat. It was always the least favorite, with no real benefits, unless you’re one of those people who strikes up conversations with their seatmates.

    This elimination may be required in the short-term. Airlines are checking on how feasible it is, and whether they can be profitable by flying with a lesser load of passengers, who are slightly farther from each other, but not as much as the distance recommended by WHO, which is two meters (or 6 feet).

    Other Measures
    • Having fewer passengers is feasible with the current load factor, but is not a complete solution.
    • Airlines can try out other measures to make travel safer in these unprecedented times, like improved cabin air circulation, better pre-flight screening, cabin sanitizing, masks, and smart seat assignments. One can also look at how the passengers are boarded in the aircraft.
    • Some steps planned are reduced interaction with the flight attendants, with alterations in the way food and beverages are served.
    Planes On The Ground
    Planes On The Ground

    March 2020 was supposed to see around 180000 total fights taking off per day from across the world, but due to the lockdown, airports are eerily quiet.

    Apart from the job losses in th...

    Always In The Air

    Due to space constraints, most airplanes, especially the large ones, were kept in the air almost all the time, only to land for getting the passengers (and cargo) in or out, refueling and cleaning.

    Planes are supposed to operate efficiently and with greater reliability if they are used frequently, and not when they are parked.

    Parking The Planes
    • Dedicated Parking Spots: Some companies use special aircraft storage premises called ‘desert boneyards’. Some companies are using airport hubs, which have ample spaces for parking.
    • Runway Parking: EasyJet has grounded almost all of their fleet and as it already has a dispersed hub structure, is parking the planes across 30 airports. Lufthansa and others have parked their planes in the now unused runways.

    2 more ideas

    Enjoying scary movies

    Research has found that willing exposure to that which scares us can provide a counterbalance to life's stresses:

    • It may be an effective way to undermine anxiety and even bolst...