Aeroplane pseudoscience | Day 353

I’m about to get on a plane to start my journey back to Sydney, and at times like this I’m always reminded of my all time favourite piece of pseudoscience about aeroplane travel and its impact on health. In fact, it’s so infamous you’ve probably heard of it already. It’s penned by none other than the Food Babe, and it’s truly a gem.

Here are a few of my favourite bits.

When your body is in the air, at a seriously high altitude, your body under goes some serious pressure. Just think about it – Airplanes thrive in places we don’t. You are traveling in a pressurized cabin, and when your body is pressurized, it gets really compressed!

Good thing on the plane I’m taking the cabin will be pressurised to the normal levels,1 not to this imaginary body-distorting standard.

The air you are breathing on an airplane is recycled from directly outside of your window. That means you are breathing everything that the airplanes gives off and is flying through. The air that is pumped in isn’t pure oxygen either, it’s mixed with nitrogen, sometimes almost at 50%.

Thank goodness there won’t be pure oxygen on the plane I’m flying in – that would be, um, deadly. And, as you know, the air we all breathe contains over 78 per cent nitrogen. It would be quite unhealthy if it didn’t.

Choose a seat as close to the front as possible. Pilots control the amount of airflow and it is is always better in their cabin.

Now that’s just plain idiotic.

If you experience a headache, pains or aches, think about using turmeric, garlic or willow bark which are all natural alternatives to aspirin.

I think I’ll pack some garlic cloves instead of a blister pack of tablets – I’m sure the person sitting next to me will appreciate this tremendously. On the other hand, garlic is not a painkiller, so perhaps I need to reconsider.

You can find excellent science explainers commenting on this nonsense article, in particular this one by Steve Novella, although this Reddit thread is also lovely.

So, while you avail yourselves with this story, I’m off to get my body compressed in a metal box carrying unsatisfactory amounts of oxygen, as well as somewhat crappy food. Home, here I come!

Show 1 footnote

  1. Which are slightly lower than on the ground.

3 thoughts on “Aeroplane pseudoscience | Day 353”

  1. As I recall, aeroplane cabins have slightly lower pressure than atmospheric just to reduce mechanical load on the fuselage and, therefore, reduce production costs. Although there is no need to speculate – it’s all on Wikipedia a few clicks away (a thought that somehow slipped Food Babes non-existent mind).

  2. Pingback: It's Day 366+

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