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Cabin Temperature on British Airways 747s

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Cabin Temperature on British Airways 747s

I flew round trip from JFK to London Heathrow recently on British Airways. Funny thing happened. My wife and I sat in Row 50, Economy of a 747-400 on both legs. We both were covered with light perspiration throughout each leg. 16 hours in the cabin total roundtrip . Basically the cabin temperature was too high. I'm sitting in a 74F room right now and I'm not perspiring at all. So I'm going to say that the cabin temperature was at least a few degrees higher than 74F. I would guess it was closer to 80F. Very uncomfortable. I should note that I made my living for 12 years measuring temperature.

As we left the plane, I asked a flight attendant what the thermostat was set at and he said 22C, which is 71.6F. Then when we walked into the more expensive parts of the cabin, both my wife and I independently noted how much cooler it was there. Purely coincidental I'm sure.

These flights were the first international flights of my life although I've flown extensively within the US. Every domestic airliner I've flown has a separate AC adjustable nozzle for each seat. These BA planes had one small diameter hole over the middle seat of 3 for the AC. Even this hole was partially obstructed by a slidable flap that even in its wide open position still partially obstructed the opening.

So I guess what I'm asking is whether anyone else has experienced these conditions? Has it got to the point in commercial aviation that you have to pay a higher fare so you don't have to sweat? British Airways, really!

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for London
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1. Re: Cabin Temperature on British Airways 747s

I have but I've found this on several airlines not just BA (Emirates being one of the worst).

I had a flight back from Dubai on BA once where the cabin started off OK then got very warm (as in I could feel hot air on my throat and nasal passages on breathing in. Very unpleasant. I don't often ask but got the FA to turn it down. I happened to be standing near her later when she turned it back up again (someone must have asked) to about 78F. I said surely that's not necessary so she turned it down to about 76F! - which is way too warm for me I must admit. - I don't like anything over about 21C-22C and that's a compromise. (I prefer room temp at home to be no more than 20-21C absolute max. Anyway, others must have also complained as it did get cooler again shortly after and remained there the rest of the flight.

On a recent trip it was also far too hot but that was actually in Club and the first 5 rows or so of Economy. Further back in Economy it was actually much cooler, so I don't think it's necessarily about premium cabins. It seems to be more widespread than just airlines though. I find most (public) buildings/other public transport kept unncessarily warm.

Edited: 6:30 pm, July 23, 2014
Berkshire, England
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2. Re: Cabin Temperature on British Airways 747s

It's not just BA. We always fly long haul with VA and cabin temps very wildly in my experience. We have had flights when we have been boiling hot and flights when we have been very cold indeed. We have been on 747s when the back of the plane was hot and further forward was coolder and vice versa.

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3. Re: Cabin Temperature on British Airways 747s

It will also depend on what you're used to. My in-laws keep their house at a permanent 22 degrees (C) throughout the cooler months (the heating is on even if they're not home). I have mine at 19 when I'm home, 17 overnight and switch it off when I'm out. So a cabin temperature of 22 degrees would be too hot for me but just right for my in-laws. Always difficult and impossible to please everyone.

Vancouver, Canada
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4. Re: Cabin Temperature on British Airways 747s

'I find most (public) buildings/other public transport kept unncessarily warm.' +1

In my experience, BA cabin crew have been very accommodating when asked to adjust the cabin temperatures. I've flown in all four cabins of a 747, upstairs and down, and each can at times be too hot or too cold. Overall I find most flights too warm no matter what the airline or cabin, but like others I have an internal thermostat that prefers to be on the cool rather than warm side.

There in an urban myth that says crew will ramp up the heat after main meal service to encourage pax to fall asleep, but this is about as vailid as the old chestnut that air tickets are cheapest when bought at X o'clock on Z day of the week.

Phoenix, Arizona
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5. Re: Cabin Temperature on British Airways 747s

Not BA, but we often comment on the higher cabin temps on other airlines.

Only time I have used a blanket was SFO-SYD-LAX on a UA 742, in the front cabin. Now, I had turned up the vents at takeoff, but about halfway down, I crawled under my blanket. That has never happened, that I can recall - though wife has used a blanket on a very few flights.

Now, please do not get me started on how hot most airports are - I cannot wait to get outside at say LHR, or SFO, to bask in the cool air. Too bad that they cannot just open the windows in the airports...


Thatcham, United...
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6. Re: Cabin Temperature on British Airways 747s

That was interesting on my flight to Orlando in July 2014 our cabin was too hot. Started off nice and cool at first after meal the temperature seemed to go up. Which didn't do much for my kids who are air sick!! Not a good filght either way!!

Liverpool, UK
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7. Re: Cabin Temperature on British Airways 747s

Part of the problem is that for every person who says it's too hot another will say it's too cold and the FAs are in the classic no win situation - I personally have never been on a flight where I considered the cabin temp to be either too low or too high.

I'm either easily pleased or just got lucky.

8. Re: Cabin Temperature on British Airways 747s

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