Sweat the Small Stuff

Many people say “don’t sweat the small stuff”, but sometimes the lack of said “small stuff” is what makes me sweat, literally. What am I driving at here? The lack of air vents above seats on non-US air carriers. This drives me crazy!

Growing up in the US every air carrier has individual air vents for each seat. If you’re in premium cabins, many times there is still three air vents even though there are only two seats. On the newer Boeing planes with the sky interior the air vent for the aisle seat isn’t directly overhead which in my experience leads to less air than normal. But i’ll take less air any day over no air!

737 Boeing Sky Interior K64711-01

As you can see the aisle seat is a bit further out than the overhead panel with the new interior design.

The first time I noticed the lack of air vents was on a THAI Airways flight from PEK-BKK. The reason why I noticed this was the cabin was kept abnormally warm even with the lack of air vents. I basically flew a sky sauna. I chalked this up to being a older aircraft or some type of anomaly. But, boy, was I wrong. Flying other non-US airlines yielded the same results. ANA, Cathay Pacific, Malaysia Air, Air India, and Lufthansa. The worse thing about it is you can clearly see where the air vents would go, but there isn’t anything there. Did these airlines specifically ask for no air vents? Why would they do such a thing?

Plane Seatbelt Sign

A key “amenity” of the pictured overhead panel is missing!

To add insult to injury, I’m always hot. I have a pad on my mattress which runs cold water through it to cool you down (this works great for the 3-9 nights a month i’m not on the road and in my own bed).

I thought I was the only one who made a big deal out of this (I rather fly long haul on United than a carrier without air vents), but others in the travel community have also brought this up. Lucky at One Mile At A Time recently wrote an article about this as well. So i’m not crazy, it’s not just me! I’m sure Lucky wouldn’t go as far to give up the better service for air vents though.

Survey Says

While the service may not be top notch on US airlines, you’re not sweating during the flight. At least there is that to look forward to.

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