To Fart or Not to Fart

farting in a planeNow that I’m retired, I don’t fly as much as I used to when I was still gainfully employed. In fact, I haven’t sat my butt down in a plane since I retired. And I don’t miss it. Not one bit.

When I did have to sit my butt down in a plane, especially when the plane was full, some passenger would inevitably pass gas. Yes, they’d let one fly, so to speak. You rarely heard the fart, but you could definitely smell them as the aroma wafted toward you.

Unfortunately, it was hard to tell which passenger did the deed. I didn’t want anyone to think I was the culprit, so I’d crunch up my face and look around, giving a clear indication to anyone who happened to look my way that I was the victim, not the perpetrator.

But I remember when, a few years back, some significant news came out of a 3,000-word essay by five researchers from Denmark and Britain that was published in the New Zealand Medical Journal. Danish gastroenterologist Jacob Rosenberg, after experiencing the malodorous problem of flatulence firsthand on a flight from Copenhagen to Tokyo, enlisted some of the finest minds in his field to address the issue of farting at 35,000 feet.

It turns out that high altitude air pressure changes in airplanes cause more gas to brew in the belly. Most people — but not all, I can assure you from personal experience — do try to stifle their farts due to the stigma of potentially cutting a stinky one while in such close proximity to other passengers.

But the researchers suggested that holding back one’s gassy emissions has significant drawbacks, such as discomfort and even pain, bloating, indigestion, and heartburn. “Moreover,” wrote one researcher, “problems resulting from the required concentration to maintain such control may even result in subsequent stress symptoms.”

farting-in-airplanes-250x250So fliers, as the researchers noted, “There is actually only one reasonable solution: just let it go.”

The study recommended that airlines start using charcoal to deal with the smell of passengers’ mid-flight gas releases. The authors proposed that active charcoal be embedded into the seat cushions, since charcoal is able to neutralize odors.

Can’t you see it coming? The airlines will now start charging extra if you want to purchase a ticket for a fresh-smelling, charcoal-infused seat.


This post was written in response to today’s one-word prompt: passenger.

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11 thoughts on “To Fart or Not to Fart

  1. newepicauthor July 1, 2017 / 7:58 am

    I can relate to your story as when you have to let one go, sometimes you body just knows that it is best to open the flood gates. I was on a 10-hour flight from Rio de Janeiro in Brazil going to Newark, New Jersey when one slipped out. Something that I had for breakfast was upsetting my stomach and I made a dozen trips to the rest room, but only gas came out and I still felt bloated. I was sitting next to my wife and there was a blind lady sitting in front of us and she had her service dog with her. I felt the urge again and I figured that it would be just a tiny bit of gas again, so I lifted my cheek from the seat and I let out a silent one. It was deadly, as every mother in the plane immediately started changing their baby’s diapers. The smell was horrible and I saw that my wife was gagging. The blind lady hit her dog with her cane and said, “Bad dog.” I actually thought that the pilot might drop the oxygen masks because everyone was suffering. My wife asked me why I was smiling and I told her that it was me.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Fandango July 1, 2017 / 8:22 am

      Ha! I think I might have been on that flight and you might have been my inspiration! Actually, I’ve never been to Rio, but I’ve been on a number of transatlantic flights and, particularly on those flying east, often red-eye flights out of New York or New Jersey, passengers seem pretty uninhibited when it comes to “letting go.” Anyway, thanks for sharing your stinky story. I feel bad for that blind woman’s service dog. Lo how the innocent shall suffer.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. adventuresofabusymomcom July 1, 2017 / 11:31 am

    You brought such a gut rolling laughter from my totally mature self. I just HAVE to share this one! Thanks for the laugh and I will forever think of this whenever I fly from now on!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Fandango July 1, 2017 / 8:06 pm

      Thanks. I do, upon occasion, attempt to both entertain and inform, so I appreciate you comment!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Sight11 July 6, 2017 / 9:47 am

    Ahoy.. Like you i make sure to bear a disgusted look.. I am not the culprit.. So don’t even get the idea..

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Ross October 25, 2017 / 6:24 am

    “The airlines will now start charging extra if you want to purchase a ticket for a fresh-smelling, charcoal-infused seat.” Business class ,yes they charge much more just to avoid pungent fart smell and leg room.

    Liked by 1 person

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