Airplanes are generally kept at cool temperatures between 22°C and 24°C/ 71°F and 75°F, with most planes maintaining the same internal temperature year-round.

Keeping airplanes cool ensures that the passengers are safe from health issues like hypoxia.

A plane’s onboard electronic equipment also functions best in cooler temperatures.

The coldest seats in a plane are generally window seats and seats that are closer to the exit rows because of their proximity to the exterior of the plane.

Airports are also kept cool to ensure passengers’ health.

If a passenger feels too cold in an airport, they can wear more layers. Conversely, they can’t do much to keep cool if an airport were to be too hot. 

3 Reasons Why Airplanes Are Cold

1. To Prevent Hypoxia

Hypoxia is a medical condition where tissues in your body suffer from a lack of oxygen that can often be caused when flying.

Multiple studies have confirmed that high cabin pressures and warm temperatures both contribute to hypoxia, so airlines keep their planes cool to prevent it. 

2. For a More Comfortable Flight

A large number of passengers in an enclosed space, such as in an airplane, creates a large amount of heat.

This heat could easily raise cabin temperatures, which would increase the chances of both hypoxia and discomfort.

So, airlines use good ventilation to keep cabins at more comfortable temperatures.

3. Optimum Temperature of Electronics

Electronic devices, including the plane’s flight control systems and cockpit instruments, do not work optimally in hot environments.

So, keeping the plane’s temperature cool prevents these devices from malfunctioning. 

Airplanes Can Feel Cold

On average, a plane maintains an internal temperature between 22°C and 24°C/ 71°F and 75°F.

Most passengers may feel the plane is colder than this because they’re inactive and are sitting still in their seats during a flight.

The lowest temperature most planes experience is 18°C/ 64.4°F, and the highest would be 27°C/ 80.6°F.

Choose Your Seat Wisely

Window seats are colder than the aisle because the former is closer to the plane’s exterior than the latter.

The seats near the exit rows are also generally colder for that reason. 

Airplanes Are Still Cold in the Summer

Airplanes are still cold in the summer.

As mentioned, the majority of airplanes maintain internal temperatures between 22°C to 24°C/ 71°F and 75°F, which can be cold for some people, even in the warm summer months.

But No Colder Than in the Winter

Airplanes are as internally cold during the winter as they are during other months.

So an airplane’s internal temperature remains between 22°C to 24°C/ 71°F and 75°F.

How to Stay Warm When Flying

The easiest way to stay warm when flying is to dress in layers.

For example, you could wear a hoodie or jacket along with woolen socks.

You could also ask the flight crew for extra blankets.

Airplanes Have Heaters

Most airplanes generate heat using combustion heaters, though some planes use an electric heating system instead of combustion heaters.

A combustion heater is a furnace that uses aviation fuel to generate heat.

Electric heating systems pass electricity through a heating element to generate heat that’s powered by a fan.

Generally, electric heating systems are less powerful than combustion heaters.

Airports Are Also Cold

Generally, airports are quite cold, as they maintain internal temperatures between 22°C to 25°C or 73°F to 78°F, which can be cold for some people.

Rules & Regulations

Airports follow the rules and regulations assigned to them by professional and government organizations.

For example, the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers determines airport temperatures in the United States. 

Other countries have their own organizations, such as the Chartered Institution of Building Services Engineers (CIBSE) in the UK. 

Comfort of Passengers

Most people prefer airports to be too cold than too hot.

Having a warm airport would cause passengers to become hot and sweaty, which would increase their discomfort more than if they were too cold. 

Passengers can always wear more clothes if the airport is too cold, but they can’t do anything if the airport is too hot.

Airports are also a busy place where most people are constantly on the move from check-in counters to terminals, lounges, and stores, which inevitably warms them up.

Health and Safety Reasons

A cooler airport ensures better health and safety of the passengers.

Cooler temperatures ensure passengers won’t suffer from the dangers of hot temperatures, like dehydration, fainting, and heatstroke. 

A warm airport would also increase the chances of bacteria and mold forming, which would threaten passenger health.

Also, airport’s HVAC systems keep the airport cool by circulating and purifying the air.

In conclusion:

  • Airplanes are kept between a cool 22°C – 24°C/ 71°F – 75°F year-round.
  • Keeping a plane cool ensures the health and wellbeing of the passengers and ensures the plane’s electronic equipment functions optimally.
  • If a passenger feels too cold during a flight, the best way to warm up is to wear more layers or request a blanket.
  • Planes have either combustion or electric heaters to warm the plane when needed.
  • Most airports are also kept cool to prevent passengers from discomfort and to prevent dehydration.

Ella Dunham, a Freelance Travel Journalist and Marketing Manager, boasts an impressive career spanning eight years in the travel and tourism sectors.

Honored as one of "30 Under 30" by TTG Media (the world’s very first weekly travel trade newspaper), a "Tour Operator Travel Guru" and "Legend Award" winner, Ella is also a Fellow of the Institute of Travel, a Member of the Association of Women Travel Executives, has completed over 250 travel modules, and hosts travel-focused segments on national radio shows where she provides insights on travel regulations and destinations.

Ella has visited over 40 countries (with 10 more planned this year).