To fart or not to fart: that is the question.

By Seriously Science | May 20, 2013 12:00 pm

Photo: flickr/sbamueller

Smelly farts on airplanes: we’ve all been there, either as the producer or the consumer (or often both). Unfortunately, little attention has been paid in the literature to this all-too-common phenomenon…until now. We can’t tell whether these authors are being totally serious or not, but either way, we think their suggestion for how to deal with the issue of smelly farts on airplanes is a pretty good one.

Flatulence on airplanes: just let it go.

“Flatus is natural and an invariable consequence of digestion, however at times it creates problems of social character due to sound and odour. This problem may be more significant on commercial airplanes where many people are seated in limited space and where changes in volume of intestinal gases, due to altered cabin pressure, increase the amount of potential flatus. Holding back flatus on an airplane may cause significant discomfort and physical symptoms, whereas releasing flatus potentially presents social complications. To avoid this problem we humbly propose that active charcoal should be embedded in the seat cushion, since this material is able to neutralise the odour. Moreover active charcoal may be used in trousers and blankets to emphasise this effect. Other less practical or politically correct solutions to overcome this problem may be to restrict access of flatus-prone persons from airplanes, by using a methane breath test or to alter the fibre content of airline meals in order to reduce its flatulent potential. We conclude that the use of active charcoal on airlines may improve flight comfort for all passengers.”

Related content:
NCBI ROFL: Which makes you gassier: pinto beans, black-eyed peas, or baked beans?
NCBI ROFL: Beans, beans, the musical fruit…
NCBI ROFL: Finding the frequency of Fido’s farts

  • eco123

    you can go to the bathroom to fart is it to difficult to go to a bathroom?

    • Michael Morrison

      Have you ever been on an airplane… half of the time up there they won’t even let you out of your seat.

      • PinoyPops

        you could hold it until then, but you can fart in the restroom

      • masmanz

        Also they make so few bathrooms for such a large crowd.

    • Anthony J. Mitchell

      What the heck does it matter when the bathroom smells ten times worse than your fart? I have not been on a flight yet that has not had one single person hold their crap until we board and then deposit the most horrible nasty dump possible. I am not holding my poot

  • Terrill Ray

    sharing is caring

  • Freethinker222

    If you get up to go to the bathroom, the fart, for some strange reason, won’t let go. It will wait until you get back in your seat , before it rears it’s ugly head again. I say, just let fart be free, where ever you be.

  • P. Health Freedom

    Mine smell fine, but yours stink for hours. Is farting healthy? No-one every asked, or tested that question as far as I know. We assume, probably because someone else’s farts present danger to us (of more than fart) – that they are unhealthy and indicate unhealthiness. Certain diets are ‘fart prone’, are those diets healthy? Horses and cattle fart a lot – when they are healthy. Herbivore farts aren’t noticed as much – while carnivore farts are deadly smell. Maybe if we were all vegetarians, or ate less meat our farts would hardly be noticed. Any vegetarians out there able to comment on this? Maybe vegetarians should pay less – or maybe meat eaters should be clumped together so they can stew in their own juices….

  • TronPhenix

    If there is no taxes on it; do it.

  • Richard Tebaldi

    Geez! I thought they already had charcoal in the seats! Sorry!

    NOT!!!! Ha-ha-ha!

  • Richard Tebaldi

    That’s going to be the next up charge for the airlines! They are going to bill you for your farts! Ha-ha-ha!!!! ABUCKAFART! or maybe charge by the time used during the great escape!?

    Waddamy laughing for?!!? This could cost me!

  • disqus_feBhfUDV8D

    drinking milk makes you fart

  • David Pittman

    Well you never know, they may need the extra fuel. Dave P


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Seriously, Science?, formerly known as NCBI ROFL, is the brainchild of two prone-to-distraction biologists. We highlight the funniest, oddest, and just plain craziest research from the PubMed research database and beyond. Because nobody said serious science couldn't be silly!
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