Why Are Aircraft Cabins Pressurized?


Regardless of what type of plane you are flying in, it most likely has a pressurized cabin. All airplanes, barring certain military aircraft, have a pressurized cabin. It is a crucial part of designing an aircraft because the purpose of pressurizing cabins is to ensure a safe and comfortable environment for passengers and flight crew at high altitudes.

 An airplane’s cabin is pressurized by forcing air into the cabin just like how you pressurize a car tire by blowing air into it. Air is pumped into the cabin, and since the cabin is sealed, the pressure inside increases. Often, this pressure is formed by the engines used to fuel the plane— as the engines burn fuel and generate combustion, a small portion of the air is forced into the cabin to reach an acceptable pressure.

As stated before, cabins are pressurized to ensure a safe and comfortable environment for passengers and flight crew at high altitudes. Almost all commercial airplanes fly at around 30,000 to 40,000 feet above sea level. At higher altitudes, the air is much thinner than when at sea level. As humans live on land, our lungs are made to breathe in air that is not as thin when high up in the air. If someone is forced to breathe in this thin air, they may experience hypoxia, which is characterized by a lack of oxygen to the brain. By pressurizing the cabin, you create a more suitable environment with more oxygen Cylinder readily available. This is essential for passenger and crew health.

But the cabin isn’t the only area that is pressurized. The entire base fuselage, including the cargo hold, is pressurized. Pressurized cabins are essential to creating a safe environment for passengers, but there’s the possibility of a blowout. If a window breaks, or if an emergency door opens, the air will be sucked out as the low pressure from outside attempts to equalize with the higher pressure inside. And, with the air goes everything else inside the cabin.

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