Flatulence is common when you’re flying. The BBC explains the science of why we fart more on aeroplanes and offers some tips on reducing this discomfort and avoid being that person passing gas on the plane.
Photo via MorganStreet
First, the reason: The average person, according to the article, breaks wind 10 times a day even on the ground. This is exacerbated when we’re in the air:
But if our flatulence on ground level passes mostly unnoticed (or is at least politely ignored) in day-to-day life, it can become something of an unwanted companion in the confines of an air cabin. Its frequency on planes is simple physics, [clinical professor Jacob] Rosenberg says. “The pressure drops and the air must expand into more space.” That 1 litre of gas now needs to fill a 30% bigger volume, leading to that nasty bloating feeling. This seems to be a regular problem for pilots — more than 60% report feeling regular abdominal bloating, much higher than the average for office workers.
BBC notes that charcoal-lined underwear designed to absorb the odour from flatulence is one solution. It’s probably more practical, though, to eat the foods that reduce flatulence before flying: fish, rice, dairy products and strained fruit juice.