Environmental factors inside the aircraft
- Atmospheric pressure and changes in oxygen levels, noise, temperature, vibrations, the possibility of turbulence, humidity and available space inside an aircraft are slightly different to what we are used to, although they are perfectly tolerable for travellers.
- During the flight it is normal to find an equivalent altitude with respect to the ground, for pressure purposes, of between 1500 and 2500 metres. This leads to a small reduction in atmospheric pressure and the partial pressure of oxygen. When pressure drops, intestinal gas tends to expand and this can bother some passengers. To that end it is advisable to not eat heavy food or food that causes flatulence the day before you fly.
- Pressure adjustments occur during take-off and landing. You may notice a feeling of your ears becoming blocked. To prevent this it is necessary to equalise the pressure in your middle ear, which you can do by pinching your nostrils with your fingers and blowing out softly through your nose, chewing gum or, simplest of all, blowing your nose on a tissue.
- Humidity inside the aircraft is lower than normal, oscillating by around 10-20%. That is what causes a slight feeling of dryness in your skin, airways and eyes. To reduce this feeling you should avoid alcohol and coffee from the day before you fly, because these substances have a dehydrating effect. During the flight it is a good idea to drink plenty of water or juices, and even to use a moisturising cream on your skin.
- Small time differences can cause jet lag (daytime tiredness and somnolence) and the bigger the time difference the more obviously they affect your internal body clock which guides the hours of being asleep and awake. Unfortunately there is little you can do to counteract the effects of changing timetables.
- When you reach your destination, try to adjust to the local timetable as soon as possible if you have to keep awake for a long period of time. Otherwise, try to keep to your regular timetable with a difference of no more than 4 hours.
- Sharp movements and turbulence can occasionally cause people problems. Turbulence is produced for different reasons and is usually detected in time by the crew, who communicate it to the passengers over the megaphone. Passengers should sit down and do up their seatbelts as quickly as possible to prevent against injury.
- There is also what is known as clear-air turbulence. This cannot be detected beforehand and happens suddenly and unexpectedly, which is why you should wear your seatbelt done up throughout the whole of the flight unless you get up for any reason.
- All Iberia flights are "non-smoking", prohibiting the use of cigarettes, cigars, pipes and electronic cigarettes on their planes.
If you are a regular smoker and think this ban could bother you, ask your doctor about nicotine substitutes such as chewing gum or patches.
- The volume of air in the cabins is completely regenerated every three minutes.
Space and Movement
- Sitting down for long periods of time does not cause problems for most of us, but some people could experience swelling in their feet or ankles, or it could exacerbate a circulatory problem. This is the case of deep vein thrombosis (DVT). It happens only rarely and among people who are especially predisposed to it when they are forced to spend long periods without moving.
- To prevent it, make sure you wear loose-fitting clothes, preferably made from natural fibres, to add less pressure to your skin and to improve ventilation.
- Move your lower limbs around in the same place where you are sitting (flexing your toes and ankles and bending and straightening your legs).
- We also suggest you get up occasionally, stretch your arms and legs or even walk around the cabin at times when the service to the other passengers is not affected and when flight conditions allow, paying special attention to the sign to fasten your seatbelt and instructions from the crew.
Exercises you can do in your seat:
- Gently cock your head to one side. Hold the position for three seconds, expelling all the air from your lungs. Return to the upright position and repeat the same movement on the other side. Repeat three times.
- Stretch your arms upwards and breathe air into your lungs. Hold the position for three seconds. Put your arms behind your head and breathe out the air. Repeat three times.
- Stand on your toes and lift your heels from the ground; remain in this position for three seconds. Then put your heels on the ground, stretch your toes and raise them. Repeat three times.
In addition to these brief recommendations, don't hesitate to seek advice from your doctor; he or she can provide more detailed advice for your particular case.
IBERIA MEDICAL SERVICE