Flatulence on the plane: here's how to deal with it

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Martí Micolau

wikipedia.org, lonelyplanet.com

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It happens to everyone multiple times throughout the day and it can be great source of embarrassment, usually triggers general hilarity but it is also such a serious subject that it even is subject of scientific studies. Well yes, we are talking about just that: flatulence.
Fart, fart, fart: whatever you call it, it has always been considered a very unpolite gesture, even if sometimes you can't help but "free yourself"!
Specifically, it seems that when traveling by plane the probability of "letting go" increases exponentially, with the risk of creating an "atmosphere" that is not exactly pleasant and certainly not very fragrant!

Have you ever had a rather "noisy" seat neighbor or that you are the cause of occasional bad smells?
Giggles aside, some experts have taken the matter very seriously and are able to provide answers to questions scientific but also social.


  1. Why does flatulence increase in flight?
  2. Tips for dealing with flatulence on the plane
  3. Technology for the future: anti-fart underwear
  4. User questions and comments

Why does flatulence increase in flight?

What is called flatulence is the emission of gas, created by digestion, sometimes noisy and almost always smelly which, at times, just can't be held back.
The problem is even more important when traveling by plane, both because of the crowding of people and because of the cabin pressure changes the volume of gases in the intestine, promoting flatulence.

An average person releases gas about 10 times a day: the higher frequency of emissions when at high altitude is a physical matter: the pressure drops and the air needs to expand into space. A liter of gas needs to fill up to a 30% larger volume, leading to that annoying bloated feeling.
It seems that for pilots it is a rather frequent problem, so much so that more than 60% of them admit to experiencing regular bloating, a much higher percentage than that of office workers.

Tips for dealing with flatulence on the plane

Over the years, social norms have also imposed a certain etiquette when it comes to so-called "fart", especially indoors such as the airplane: if you feel a little bloated, the polite thing to do is hold back. But according to scientific studies, this behavior can be much more unpleasant and also have physical consequences, even if "releasing" involves different social complications.
So what are the passengers to do? Simply let it go, the researchers say, which means finding first a free toilet on board, so as not to disturb other passengers.

Technology for the future: anti-fart underwear

In the future, technology could come to our rescue: special underwear lines are in production, lined or lined with special activated carbon filters that promise to "neutralize" bad smells coming from our intestines.

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