Whether flying out of the USA, Europe, South America, or any other continent, at a domestic or international airport,  at one point passengers have usually asked themselves, why is this airport so cold?

Airports are so cold for a number of reasons, including for health and safety purposes, for better comfort, and because of regulations.

3 Reasons Why Airports Are So Cold


Airports have rules and regulations that they follow. These either come from professional or government organizations.

In the USA, ASHRA, or the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers, is an organization that has a large say in determining the temperature of airports.

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

According to ASHRA regulations and guidelines, a temperature between 73 and 78 degrees Fahrenheit is ideal.

Passenger Comfort

While many people find airports too cold, it’s better than airports being too hot.

After all, a passenger can always add more layers if they start to get cold, whereas taking layers off if it gets too hot isn’t a viable option.

Additionally, passengers are constantly on the go in airports, from checking-in, rushing between terminals, doing some duty-free shopping, boarding a flight etc., which naturally warms them up.

If an airport was on the warmer side, passengers would be uncomfortably hot and work up a sweat.

Health & Safety

The last reason why airports are so cold is for better health and safety.

Keeping the temperature cool ensures that passengers won’t experience all the negative and dangerous effects associated with the heat, including dehydration, dizziness and perhaps even fainting.

The heat also increases the risk of bacteria, mold and other airborne particles spreading through the air and making passengers ill.

Being ill a few days into their vacation or upon returning home is hardly something that any passenger wants.

Lastly, the HVAC systems in airports that keep them cool, circulate and purify the air, which can be important considering the fumes that the airplanes just outside emit.

Not All Airports Are Cold

Not all airports are cold, as the temperature mainly depends on the time of year and location of the airport.

A small airport during the summer peak season can get very hot, for example.

The size of the airport and how crowded it is at the time also plays a role

Why Airplanes Are So Cold

If you didn’t have the thought that the airport was so cold, you probably noticed the cold as soon as you stepped on the plane.

The main reason why airplanes are so cold is to reduce the chances of a passenger fainting.

This is down to hypoxia, which is when the body tissue does not receive enough oxygen. Hypoxia is more likely to occur on planes because it can be triggered by high cabin pressure.

Other reasons why planes are so cold include to stop emergency equipment and cockpit instruments from overheating, and to ensure good ventilation for a fresh atmosphere.

What You Should Wear to the Airport

If you’re wondering what to wear next time you have to take a flight, we recommend:

  • Loose-fitting clothing
  • Breathable fabrics
  • Compression leg wear and socks
  • Comfortable shoes
  • Clothes with lots of pockets
  • Light or heavy jacket (depending on the weather)

Related: The Ultimate Guide to Airport Services

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).