25

When preparing for a commercial jet flight it'd be nice to know how warm my clothes should be so that I don't freeze after sitting for several hours in say +16 degrees Celsius (61 degrees Fahrenheit).

What's the typical temperature in the passenger cabin? Are there air drafts? How cold and how warm can it reasonably get?

  • 12
    I've been on hot planes, cold planes and warm planes, so I'm not sure there's a single overall answer... – Gagravarr Sep 11 '14 at 8:33
  • Perhaps you could mention which airline and which route, and people may answer from experience. It varies a lot but it's usually the same per airline/route. – Erwin Bolwidt Sep 11 '14 at 12:56
  • 4
    Humidity is also part of climate. Cabin air is very dry – 12% humidity according to this article. Related: aviation.stackexchange.com/questions/1979/… – ntoskrnl Sep 11 '14 at 13:09
  • drafts are an excellent point (i.e., if a neighbour or the like is using the air-vent thing). it can be a real pain for older people! – Fattie Sep 11 '14 at 14:25
  • 1
    I often find it to be colder at the window seat; particularly on smaller planes. – Chris Mueller Sep 11 '14 at 15:20
25

It varies, and flight attendants will often alter it over the course of longer flights as well (for example, on overnight flights they often turn up the temperature by a degree or two). Often there are drafts from the air conditioning, although it's hard to predict exactly where unless you often sit in the same seat on the same plane.

The traditional and best advice is to dress in layers; wear light clothing with a jumper/sweater/pullover, and perhaps pack a blanket or warm jacket in your carry-on bag (although many/most long-haul flights will provide basic blankets for each seat). This way you can warm yourself up or cool yourself down as you need.

Don't overthink it, though. Temperatures typically only vary by a few degrees.

11

I've never been on a passenger plane that was anywhere close to being as low as 16 C. Almost all of the ones I've been on have been either normal room temperature (~22 C/72 F) or warmer. Particularly when sitting at the gate in a hot climate, the cabin can get quite warm (27 C/80 F or more.) Sometimes sitting close to exit doors can be cold from what I'm told, but I've never experienced that myself when sitting by one. Sitting near the boarding door while it's open on the ground in a cold climate would obviously be cold, though. I would recommend wearing long sleeves, though, not only due to the possibility of a cooler cabin, but also because you probably don't want your arms laying directly on an armrest where a bunch of other people's arms, hands, etc. have been lately (either in the airport or on the plane.) Another reason for the long sleeves is that, even if the plane itself is warm, the jetways (boarding bridges) can be quite cold in cold climates.

During flight, the temperature will depend on what the cabin crew sets it to, but I've never personally experienced it being cold (and I've been on at least a hundred passenger flights and am cold natured.) For whatever it's worth, Korean Air states that they keep their cabins in the 23-25 C range. They also have some other tips for what to expect on board in that link.

As far as drafts are concerned, this would only happen if the person beside you is using their A/C vent and it's aimed partially at you. Otherwise, no, there are generally no drafts, since it's a sealed, pressurized cabin (I'm assuming we're talking about normal, pressurized airliners here, not tiny unpressurized puddle jumpers.)

An important thing to note, as has been mentioned in a comment, is the low humidity in the cabin. This can dry out your skin, eyes, etc., especially on long flights. If you don't like for your hands to be dry, you might consider taking moisturizing hand lotion with you. However, please, for the sake of the other people on board, do not take scented hand lotion (or wear a significant amount of perfume, etc.) Remember that you are in a closed vessel with a lot of other people, many of whom are probably allergic to perfumes and most of whom probably don't want to smell it, even if they aren't allergic.

1

NORMALLY, temperatures in a cabin will be room temperature.

There are occasions when it will be a few degrees colder, either because of the outside air temperature, or because of the air-conditioning. In such instances, ONE extra layer of clothing will be helpful.

You can "carry on" that extra layer of clothing, but if you haven't, you can ask for a blanket or other covering from the flight staff.

  • 1
    Outside air temperature really only matters when you're sitting at the gate and the boarding door is open. Once the plane is sealed and pressurized, outside air temperature doesn't matter much. Aircraft cabins have to be very well isolated from the outside air temperature because it's almost always well below 0 F at cruise (often -40 F or less) combined with 550-600 mph winds. A/C can make a difference, though, particularly if the person beside you has their vent open. – reirab Sep 12 '14 at 14:22
  • @pnuts, cabin air is normally taken from the engine's compressor-bleed. It is very hot, and is then cooled to the desired cabin temperature. I believe some airplanes (A380) use an electric compressor, but again its output is hot. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bleed_air – CSM Sep 17 '16 at 15:03
  • @pnuts For all practical purposes, it is sealed. There's an outflow valve that regulates the pressure and there's bleed air supplying new air to the cabin, but the temperature of that air is controlled by the A/C packs. It has little-to-no correlation with the outside air temperature (which is always unsurvivably cold at the altitude where airliners fly.) – reirab Sep 17 '16 at 20:08
0

I think temperature depends upon the type of aircraft and seat position. During BA June 2018 flight on an Airbus 320 from Munich to London, we had the old style twist vents above the seats that allowed for cooling during the warm flight.

That same day on a BA Boeing 787 from London to San Jose, CA, we no longer had the overhead twist vents, and being stuck in a middle seat was absolutely awful from an overheating standpoint.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.