There are studies these days about everything — whether your right hand ever gets mad at your left, if the grass really is greener on the other side, etc. — so of course there’s one about farting on airplanes. Our apologies if we’ve offended your sense of delicacy, but hey, we all do it. Anyway, if you’re a passenger, the study says you should let it rip. But pilots might be better off holding it in, lest their malodorous emissions pose a safety risk.
The experts in this case concluded that anecdotal evidence that we get a bit gassy up in the air is true, and is due to changes in air pressure, notes the AFP.
The team of gastroenterologists left no rock unturned in their quest to fully air out every last flatulent fact, including whether women’s farts smell worse than men’s (sorry, they do) and how many times a day the average person lets one loose (10).
When you get down to it, the study in the New Zealand Medical Journal says passengers should “just let it go,” despite the potential embarrassment of having everyone in your row glaring and holding their noses. Oh come on, guys. We’re just humans.
“(Holding back) holds significant drawbacks for the individual, such as discomfort and even pain, bloating, dyspepsia (indigestion), pyrosis (heartburn) just to name but a few resulting abdominal symptoms,” the study found. “Moreover, problems resulting from the required concentration to maintain such control may even result in subsequent stress symptoms.”
But hold up — those in the cockpit need to quell the urge.
“On the one hand, if the pilot restrains a fart, all the drawbacks previously mentioned, including impaired concentration, may affect his abilities to control the plane,” the researchers said. “On the other hand, if he lets go of the fart, his co-pilot may be affected by its odour, which again reduces safety onboard the flight.”
This study brings a whole new meaning to the pilot’s announcement of “We are currently experiencing some mild turbulence.”