Write: Gökhan Karakuş Photos: Ahmet Bilal Arslan
By taking notice of a few facts and tips, you may prevent any unpleasant effects that may be caused by cabin pressure.
The amount of air in the different layers of the atmosphere varies at all levels. The total number of molecules present in the air at ground level is not the same as it is at 10,000 meters. Consequently, the air pressure we feel on the ground is different from that at higher altitudes. On the ground and up to about 17,000 feet, air pressure in a plane remains almost constant. However, at higher altitudes, the air gets thinner. The air pressure inside an airplane flying at an altitude of 40,000 feet is equal to the air pressure at a height of 2,300 meters above sea level. When the amount of airborne oxygen decreases accordingly, the gases inside human body expand. However, this pressure does not pose any problems for healthy passengers.
The air used for pressurization and ventilation is obtained from the engines of the plane and passes through a series of filtration systems. Before takeoff, the pilot adjusts cabin pressure according to the planned altitude of flight. After takeoff, the system gradually releases the air in the cabin, until cabin pressure reaches desired levels. Before starting to descend, on the other hand, the system alters the pressure by pumping air into the cabin, until the pressure of the destination airport is reached.
As the amount of oxygen in the cabin is relatively lower, the gases inside the human body expand, which may be uncomfortable for some passengers. This is why passengers on long flights are advised not to consume food and drinks that may generate gas. Additionally, dryness in the mouth and lips occurring due to the lower level of humidity in the cabin can be avoided by consuming plenty of liquid before and after the flight.