Regardless of how frequently you fly, air travel is full of surprises.
Some of these surprises are happy ones — scoring the exit row or an extra serve of dessert, for example. Others are not so welcome (oh hi, unexpected turbulence!).
Then there’s a whole other category of unexpected occurrences that would be better described as bizarre, if not a little embarrassing. From heightened emotions to flatulence, here are four common ways flying can mess with you, and why it happens.
Even the steeliest of hearts have found themselves ugly-crying over a mediocre movie or drawn in a private spiral of contemplation/melancholia as soon as the wheels come off the tarmac.
While she isn’t aware of any scientific studies into the issue, Tal Schlosser, Clinical Psychologist and Director of My Life Psychologists, has some theories as to why people find their emotions heightened mid-flight. One is the separation from our regular busy lives.
“Sitting down on a flight is a rare moment of stillness for a lot of people, when they let themselves simply ‘sit’ with what they’re thinking or feeling without the distractions of their phone or regular activities,” she explains.
Another potential factor is the strong feelings that can be triggered by travel — whether it be sadness at leaving someone behind, or excitement about a big adventure. Schlosser suggests this can “prime” some people into feeling more emotional.
“In addition, we often give ourselves a ‘free pass’ when on flights and this could also make us more vulnerable to becoming emotional. For example, we give ourselves permission to read more lightweight ‘aeroplane novels’ or watch trashy movies,” she adds.