Traveling by air has become very common nowadays. It is considered a safe and relaxing way of traveling worldwide. People who travel almost every time by airplane have now become ultimately used to it. They can spend long hours sitting on the plane without any worry. They know that all they have to do after clearing the pre-flight process is to enter the plane, sit on the designated seat, and just spread their legs to get completely comfortable. Little do they know the stuff that happens after the flight takes off. Strange things start happening that a human cannot control and stop. As soon the plane reaches the height of seven miles, the air pressure starts decreasing. Taste buds inside the mouth start getting numbs, and the skin becomes dry. The strangest thing that happens is the tears start coming down the eyes. A person who enters the plane in a happy mood gets teary eyes without any reason. In short, the flight take-off routine causes a very significant effect on the human mind and bodies.
Virgin Atlantic, a famous airline service, surveyed that 55% of the respondents agree that their emotions start reaching a peak when the flight takes off. In response to the study, Virgin Atlantic starts giving “Weepy Warnings” along with the other flight instructions. So why do we get teary-eyes on the flight? Let’s find the reasons behind these phenomena.
The reason behind the teary eyes can be psychological and physiological both. Researchers of respective fields have started taking a keen interest in this specific topic. Every researcher has its perspective and different results.
Most researchers believe that the teary eyes are the decreasing oxygen, water level, and increase in the stress ratio. Ears lobe getting vibrations equivalent to the outer environment air pressure is a well-known thing. It happens during the flights and hiking. Due to this, Hypoxia conditions take over. Hypoxia is a condition that happens when the air pressure gets low and decreases the oxygen circulation in our blood. The hypoxia symptoms are fatigue, lack of decision-making abilities. The most notable symptom is the weakening of a person’s emotion handling traits. Air-condition inside the plane dry up the air, and the humidity level starts getting low, which results in dehydration.
Jochen Hinkelbein, a medical researcher from Berlin, quotes that hypoxia makes the healthiest person vulnerable to psychological and physiological changes. Sharing his flight experience, he says he often gets asleep and feel dizzy when the flight takes off because of the environment changes.
Jodi De Luca, a clinical psychologist, states that our brains start working at an overtime rate when the plane takes off. It happens due to a person carrying travel stress and fatigue when he enters the plane. He also says that as soon the flight starts, human control over his emotions becomes less. A hormone called “Cortisol” starts influencing our emotions because of increased blood pressure and heart rate. Virgin Atlantic once reported that 41% of the males who responded to the Facebook Survey said that they hide their tears under the blanket.
Stephen Groening, professor at the University of Washington, studies the teary eyes during the flight phenomena with keen interest. He studied this phenomenon in context with the movie content that passengers watch during the flight. He concludes that there is no connection between these two things, i.e., movie and teary eyes. On contradictory, when his friend told him that he starts weeping during his flight to Australia watching Thor, he said that this might happened due to the environment he was in at that time. He further states that when someone is watching a movie on a plane, the distance between the screen and the person’s eyes is quite close, directly affecting a person’s emotional state.
Groening elaborated that when a person is on a flight, he is in an isolation state and surrounded by strangers at the same time. The person keeps focusing on the movie as much he can and feels intensely close to it, which changes a person’s emotional dynamics.
All the above reasons conclude that the cry factor during the flight is still a mystery. Every researcher on this topic comes up with his unique logic and results. Every result seems to be true from one point of view and false from the other point of view.
The primary reason for this phenomenon is the discomfort of a subconscious mind when it gets mixed up with the body’s physical changes, causing the eyes to get watery during the flight. The above reasons prove that external environments’ changes play a significant role in shaping human emotions more than anything else.