Planes can get pretty hot on the ground during the summer, especially when they’re not running the air conditioning with auxiliary power.
Passengers are often asked to close the shades upon landing, keeping out the sun keeps the cabin from heating up as much. On boarding all the windows are closed and most passengers leave them that way. Once the engines start running, and the plane gets up in the air, things cool down quickly.
American Airlines will board a plane if the temperature is less than 90 degrees, though as always this is at the discretion of the pilot. US Airways’ policy has been an 85 degree maximum, and that gives American’s flight attendants union an opening to complain about this years-old policy.
They say a flight attendant recently fainted during boarding of a hot plane. American says the flight attendant wasn’t feeling well prior to boarding. While uncomfortable 90 degrees is perfectly safe for most people.
Airlines do go to lengths to keep planes cool on the ground, although it’s striking to me how often aircraft do have challenges with their auxiliary power unit (or with gate power). Any discomfort is short-lived, and the search for overhead space notwithstanding it seems like a good practice to announce up front that a cabin is hot and anyone concerned can wait until the end of boarding to get onto the aicraft.
What I’ve never understood is cabin temperature once in the air, and here US airlines tend to be better than Asian and Middle Eastern airlines. Why in the world do these airlines keep cabin temperatures so darned hot inflight? Is it so they can claim a sauna as an amenity? I’d rather be cool for a 12 hour flight and hot briefly on the ground.
How hot is too hot? Do airlines need to do a better job keeping planes cool on the ground? Should they cancel a flight or delay it for hours if cabin temperatures get above 85, as American’s flight attendants would seem to suggest?