One of the largest international flight attendants unions is taking up arms — actually, thermometers — in a fight against what they claim are dangerously hot cabins.
The Association of Flight Attendants CWA is pushing congress to regulate temperatures onboard passenger jets. To make its case, many of the 50,000+ Union members are carrying thermometers to work to log cabin temperatures to submit to regulators.
The union also launched a mobile app, called 2Hot2Cold, for both flight attendants and passengers to use to complain about temperatures.
Then There Was The press Conference
Last week, at Reagan National Airport in Washington, D.C. Union President Sara Nelson laid out the health hazards the union believes are affliction its members as a result of ridiculously high (or sometimes freezing) cabin temperatures.
“This is an issue of safety, health and security. If it’s too hot, people can become dizzy, unaware, suffer from heat stroke,” Nelson said. “If it’s too cold, they can experience cold stress or even hypothermia.”
Everyone has a preference about cabin temperature, and personally I’m comfortable on exceeding 90 percent of flights I’ve taken the last few years. But Nelson offered a tidbit that I found pretty unbelievable. The agreed-upon industry standard for cabin temperature is between 65 degree and 75 degrees farenheit, unless the entertainment monitors are on, and then the proposed standard is 85 degrees.
That hardly seems like a stringent standard. Jet aircraft have jet fuel powered heat exchangers capable of ingesting compressed -60 degree air and stabilizing it to June morning temperatures. Surely we can do better that 65 to 75 or maybe sometimes 85 degrees.
But airlines are resistant even to this regulation, according to The Economist. Apparently they think it’s a good idea to save fuel by slow-roasting passengers.
There Have Been Hospital Visits
Last summer a 2-month-old boy ended up in the hospital, with heat stroke, sitting on a United Express jet.
Last month passengers were left on a Thomas Cook flight for two hours without air circulating, long enough to induce vomiting, according to the U.K. Independent newspaper.
Regulators already balked at one popular proposal this year, declining to set minimums for seat pitch. It will be interesting to see if they take the heat and bite on this proposal.