Tips About Inside Airplane Temperature


One of my favorite things about Facebook is the On This Day feature. I love looking back to see where I was, or what I was thinking — or doing — on a specific day. This morning while sitting on the patio drinking my coffee, I came across a comment from 2013 where someone asked me to write a post about air conditioning etiquette on the airplane. What do I do if it’s too cold? What do I do when I’m sweating my balls off? Why is there mist coming into the airplane? Are we all gonna die? 

You know, the important questions that float across your mind while sitting in your middle seat squished between some young guy wearing shorts, a tank top, and flip flops and some old lady covering herself in three wool sweaters.

My first suggestion is… BE NICE! Be nice to your flight attendant when inquiring about the temperature on the airplane. I can’t stress this enough, so I will say it again, in big bold letters — BE NICE TO YOUR FLIGHT ATTENDANT WHEN INQUIRING ABOUT THE TEMPERATURE ON THE AIRPLANE!

I promise you, that will be the first thing passengers forget. 

If you find yourself on the airplane sweating, or most often freezing, and haven’t dressed appropriately for your flight (we will discuss this in a few minutes) and you simply must confront the flight attendant, do it in a professional manner.

There are two options: A) Get up and go to the back/front galley and simply say, “Hi. It’s awfully hot/cold on the airplane. Can you please adjust the temperature?” or B) Ring your call bell and when the flight attendant arrives say, “Hi. It’s awfully hot/cold on the airplane. Can you please adjust the temperature?”

Notice how I didn’t suggest saying something like, “Oh my god. I’m freezing on this airplane. Why is it so cold? I didn’t pay for it to be this cold. This is ridiculous. Are you just trying to force me to buy a blanket?”

That, which you should have learned in kindergarten, is NOT being nice. That is what I usually call — being an asshole.

Remember, BE NICE!

Some other things to remember about airplane temperatures before your next flight:

    1. You are not the only person on the airplane. I know that’s hard to believe, trust me, but look around and you will realize I speak the truth. There are hundreds of others on the airplane. You may be cold… but the other 199 passengers on the airplane are probably not. 
    2. Bring a sweater or light jacket with you. Yes, even if you are off to Cancun for a summer vacation. You can’t be sure that the airplane is going to be a perfect 72 degrees during the entire flight. It might be, but nobody can guarantee that. Be prepared.
    3. If you tend to run on the warm side, wear a short sleeve shirt and shorts if you must. But have that hoodie just in case things turn chilly somewhere over Omaha. It’s always Omaha with me, I should pick another mid country city. Like, Des Moines. Yeah, Des Moines. That’s the one. 
    4. Early morning flights tend to be colder. They usually warm up mid flight, but FYI — things tend to be chilly on the airplane in the early morning hours.\
    5. The mist blowing around you is vapors from the air conditioning and the humidity from when the airplane door was open during boarding. The airplane is NOT going down. Don’t panic. If you see the flight attendant running around trying to put out a fire and screaming for backup — then you have permission to panic. Otherwise, it’s just mist. Like the almost-never-released-madeup-television-pilot-show, Passengers In The Mist. Coming this fall on ABC.
    6. Be Nice. Yes, we covered that already, but you can never say it enough. If you’d like the temperature lowered/higher just ask nicely. Ask the flight attendant nicely. For some airline passengers, that’s a ridiculous thought, but it works. I will always attempt at making someone more comfortable if they approach me nicely instead of in a demanding and threatening way. If you come at me rude, I’ll most likely want you to be even colder/hotter than you already are.
    7. If you are over the age of 80 – none of this applies. I’m sorry, but it doesn’t. You go from hot to cold faster than a cup of coffee left outside in a blizzard. Bring a sweater — hell, bring three sweaters — and you will still be cold. If the flight attendant made the airplane warm enough for an 80 year old, we’d have to manage through 100 other people fainting.
    8. If you are cold, order a hot beverage. Coffee and hot tea are usually available on all domestic flights. Hot chocolate is pushing it. I’ve had some passengers ask for a hot cup of water to hold in their hand. Anything helps when you have the resting body temperature of an Alaskan wood frog.
    9. Bring a blanket. A small blanket. Not the down comforter off your bed. That my dear, is your carry on. Most airlines charge for blankets on domestic flights so please stop with the nasty, “You charge for blankets? That’s terrible.” It’s actually the norm. Some airlines don’t even offer blankets for sale. Their advice… just freeze. And honestly, you don’t want one of them nasty old 1987 airplane blankets that went from some snotty-nosed toddler, to the over head bin, and then onto your lap when you asked the flight attendant, “Do you have a blanket?”
    10. If the temperature on the airplane is really hot (which does happen, but not as often as being cold) open up your air vent. Ask for some ice water. If you notice it’s not cooling off, approach your flight attendant and inquire about the heat. But remember, BE NICE. The flight attendant may move you to another section of the airplane if you are nice. I had some male passenger ask me if he could take his shirt off once. The answer was, “NO.” So don’t strip in the galley, well… unless your body is super hot. Actually, scratch that. No. No stripping in the galleys. 


Remember that most flight attendants are walking up and down that airplane aisle. Some might actually be sweating as they are rush to get you that third Diet Coke and seventh bag of nuts on a short flight from San Diego to Tuscon. Everyone is feeling the temperature differently. It’s an airplane — not your living room.

Personally, I run warm. I am always warm on the airplane. Even when I know it’s cold — I tend to be warm. When I work with a flight attendant who is cold, and I am warm, there’s usually never an issue because they have a sweater that they can easily put on and take off.

Final thought. If anything from this post sticks with you it should be #2. And BE NICE!