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Does The 777 Make Pax Sick?

Mon Nov 13, 2000 5:51 pm

I know this has been published before, but I just want you to know that Germany´s most important news magazine "Der Spiegel" (in english "the mirror") has an article in todays issue about the B777 being the aircraft with the most passenger complaints about feeling unwell on board.
Is there anybody on this forum who had bad experiences in that way on board the "vomit comet" 777? Is Boeing doing something against it?
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RE: Does The 777 Make Pax Sick?

Mon Nov 13, 2000 9:23 pm


Yes, there have been rumours about it. Pax and FA's who felt dizzy, nose-bleeding and aching heads. As far as I am informed it has to do with the newly configured Air Co. and the amount of 'renewed' oxygen in the cabin.

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RE: Does The 777 Make Pax Sick?

Mon Nov 13, 2000 9:50 pm

I flew a BA772 transatlantic during July. I still think it was far nicer than the 742 and 744 I was on during this same trip. The flight was smooth and relaxing. Only complaint was severe ear ache when descending into Philadelphia. Not sure if it related to the aircraft aircon BUT I did not encounter a similar problem on the 747's when landing in London and Johannesburg respectively.
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RE: Does The 777 Make Pax Sick?

Mon Nov 13, 2000 11:18 pm

I dont think it is a problem with the aircraft itself, but with airline policy.

Some airlines ( i heard this about BA and Qantas from Travel Agents), ask their crew to change the settings of the air-conditioning/circulating system, which reduces the load on the engine and decreases fuel consumption. I believe airlines save a LOT of money by doing this.

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RE: Does The 777 Make Pax Sick?

Mon Nov 13, 2000 11:47 pm

My sister works on them constantly and she reports with her collegues that the 777 has an unstable aft that swings like a fish tail. Makes you feel dizzy when you notice it.
F/As like the size of the 777 and the enterior's flexibility, however there's something unhealthy they really cannot define.
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RE: Does The 777 Make Pax Sick?

Tue Nov 14, 2000 1:16 am

I have flown on the 777 about a dozen times (mostly transatlantic) and have never noticed anything unusual.

My opinion? I think people are just bringing up a lot of issues which happen on every plane, and are more to do with altitude than with the quality of the air.

The air quality in the 777 (and all other current jets) is far better than you will encounter at home, or in your office.

my 2c


RE: Does The 777 Make Pax Sick?

Tue Nov 14, 2000 1:22 am

The reports of feeling ill probably have a lot to do with the 777's tendency to "dutch roll." This is a very slight rolling and yawing movement that can be felt greatest in the back of the airplane. All airplanes with swept wings have a tendency to do it, but the longer the airplane and the shorter the wingspan in relationship to it, the greater the dutch roll. This movement can be very nausiating, especially when indured for several hours. The thing is, you really don't notice it much, but your inner ear gets confused and that makes you dizzy and sick to your stomach.

About the air conditioning. In every aircraft I have flown or rode the jumpseat on the crews ability to mess with the air conditioning system is very limited. You can turn the bleeds on or off and you can make it hot and cold. In the turboprop that I fly we can adjust the pressure of the bleed flow, but I highly doubt that this is possible in the 777 as all of the functions are mostly automated. The "bad air" that people complain about could be the result of a plethora of things. It could simply be too warm, If the aircraft is crowded it could feel a little stuffy or if smoking is allowed or dust has collected in the ducts that could contribute to the "unbreathability" of the air.

As far as adjusting the A/C to save money, you really can't do it. The only way to save any money at all would be to simply turn the bleeds off, and thus use less fuel. But then you wouldn't be able to pressurize the airplane, and we couldn't have that could we!
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RE: Does The 777 Make Pax Sick?

Tue Nov 14, 2000 1:27 am

In response to Advancedkid, I noticed this more on the 767 and 757 than on the 777 - if you stand in the rear galley, the tail appears to 'oscillate' (for want of a better word) and always appears to be trying to 'find' itself.
Admidships and forward it's hardly noticeable - infact imperceptible - but down the back it seems that it's very noticeable - and for people with very weak constitutions (it's not bad, it's just there) it might make you feel nauseous. (spelling?)

As to the original thing, there seems to be a lot of controversy in the media in Europe about the qualities of the 777 that makes this so bad... passengers feeling bad, fainting. My sister was on DL12 on November 8th and the girl next to her got up and promptly collapsed - whether it was to do with the airplane or not, history didn't relate - but that was a 777 too.
She complained of feeling nauseous and lightheaded, and hey, she wound up on the floor. Apparently she recovered and insisted they continued to London rather than divert, and the pilot listened. Whether my sister was exaggurating is a matter for conjecture.

Anyways, whether it has grounds or not, there is certainly alot of stuff going around about the 777 and making people feel ill - and not just air sick too.


N 8 6 3 D A
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RE: Does The 777 Make Pax Sick?

Tue Nov 14, 2000 2:08 am

I've been on two United 777's. Both times, I never noticed any difference in the air ventilation system. However, I overheard a flight attendant complaining about the lack of fresh air.
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RE: Does The 777 Make Pax Sick?

Tue Nov 14, 2000 5:00 am

I've flown the 777 many times, latest was in July, and I've NEVER noticed a problem before. I'm really surprised that this has been happening right under my nose. Perhaps I'm just not that delicate....

I've never noticed any oscillating, or any problems with the air quality either. I think this probably has more to do with the passenger's state of mind and physical condition than the airlines trying to tweak more dollars out of a flight. Not to say that they won't try, (God knows in a capitalist economy we'll try anything!), but based on my experiences I've never noticed anything.

RE: Does The 777 Make Pax Sick?

Tue Nov 14, 2000 6:40 am

Keep in mind that a 777 (or any other aircraft) at 35,000+ feet maintains an internal pressure equivalent to standing on top of an 8,000 ft. mountain.

As such, there are bound to be isolated respiratory problems--particularly among the young, elderly, and smokers. A lot of cabin crew are heavy smokers.
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RE: Does The 777 Make Pax Sick?

Tue Nov 14, 2000 7:03 am

the first and only time that i ever flew the dreaded 777 i suffered the worst sinus pressure ever. i thought i was having a stroke but the guy sitting next to me said he gets it quite often when he flys the triple S. This was the first and only time this has ever happened to me and i have been flying in airplanes since before i could talk!
Carioca Canuck
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RE: Does The 777 Make Pax Sick?

Tue Nov 14, 2000 10:39 am

As a frequent flyer in the second to last row (my preference) of this and other passenger jets, I can't really say with any certainty that I've ever felt any of the symptoms mentioned, or noticed this movement in the tail section of the aircraft.

As for "air quality" I believe that there is something to it.
Years ago the air was very cold thru the "fresh" air vents. Now it's basically room temperature. It's hardly refreshing at all.

RE: Does The 777 Make Pax Sick?

Tue Nov 14, 2000 10:43 am

I was just on a 777 today, felt fine on both 777 flights.

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RE: Which Spiegel?

Tue Nov 14, 2000 5:42 pm

which edition was that?
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RE: Does The 777 Make Pax Sick?

Tue Nov 14, 2000 6:30 pm

Hi Daniel,

"Der Spiegel", No.46/2000, from Monday, 13th of November. The article is somewhere in the middle, halfpage.
Airbus A3XX
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RE: Does The 777 Make Pax Sick?

Tue Nov 14, 2000 8:08 pm

It was really strange.... but it DOES! I flew on two flights on SIA's 777s (777-200 SIN-BNE, 777-300 SIN-HKG) and I flew on 747-400s before each flight and I found no problem on those 747s. However, I got nose-bleeding on each of the 777 flights! Unbelievable, as I usually won't have nose-bleeding. I thought the air is really dry on the aircraft except the lavatory.
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RE: Does The 777 Make Pax Sick?

Tue Nov 14, 2000 8:31 pm

Maybe it has to do something with the air in the aircraft. I have heard aircrafts recycle their air which makes the air not the same as natural. They can't pick up air at a heigh altitude because it contains too less oxygen which makes them use the same air several times. Maybe the 777 has another system than most other aircrafts have which is making you sick of the air.
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RE: Does The 777 Make Pax Sick?

Wed Nov 15, 2000 2:19 am

I was on a 777 yesterday and sat near the back. 46A. Near the end of the trip there was some turbulance. I did not notice anything unusual or felt sick by any means. I was actually surprised how smooth the jet was. As for the air quality. I didn't think about so I guess it was just fine.
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RE: Does The 777 Make Pax Sick?

Wed Nov 15, 2000 4:14 am

The problem, as I understand it, is that the 777 has a very efficient air conditioning system. Perhaps too efficient. The ratio of refreshed air to recirculated air is lower than on other aircraft. How much lower? I don't think Boeing will tell us. The airline itself may not even know. But the more fresh air drawn from the compressors, the more fuel the engines consume.

Over a long flight, this can amount to a savings of several hundred dollars. That is a lot of money when some flights barely break even.

On some aircraft the pilots can play with this ratio of freshly compressed air to recycled air. If a passenger complains. On the 777, I don't believe the pilots have control over this. The "economy" setting is probably the programmed default.

Insufficient oxygen does produce symptoms of nausea, light-headedness, and dizziness in almost everyone. But how much is insufficient, naturally, varies from one person to the next.

An optimist robs himself of the joy of being pleasantly surprised
Red Panda
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RE: About "Dutch Roll"

Wed Nov 15, 2000 4:30 am

TO Hmmmmm..., very good comment to all of us. I agree that it really depends on individuals.

Regarding the dutch roll mentioned by one of you guys, I think 773 and 757-300 would have most severe tail roll since it's the shortest wingspan relatively to the length of the a/cs.
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RE: Does The 777 Make Pax Sick?

Fri Nov 17, 2000 7:33 am

It may be due to the distance of the flights - I have certainly seen passengers and crew who work on 777s with nose-bleeds (coincidently?), but a friend who flies for BA tells me that their Kuala Lumpur flight (which sadly terminates soon) is notorious for unwell happens to be BA's longest 777 route.

Perhaps this could be another reason passengers have shyed away from BA on that route.
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Hmmmm. That Is Weird

Fri Nov 17, 2000 9:13 am

Very very very weird, I have never felt sick on a Boeing 777

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RE: Does The 777 Make Pax Sick?

Fri Nov 17, 2000 10:05 am

An interview of a F/A I saw she admitted to the poor ventalation in the coach cabin. She also said they have a problem with PAX expelling gas and the air not being cleaned(or sumthin like that)
The Ohio Player
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RE: Does The 777 Make Pax Sick?

Fri Nov 17, 2000 10:51 am

There's nothing weird about it. It's an oxygen/ventilation-related problem. What is insufficient oxygen content to one person is not insufficient to someone else. It is not the experience of one young healthy man that determines the quality of the cabin air aboard the 777. It is the accumulated reports, empirical and anecdotal, of many passengers not so sturdy, world-wide since its inception, that points the finger at the air quality in the cabin.

Naturally, the longer one is in that environment, such as on the Kaula Lumpur route, the greater the chance of developing mild symptoms of what amounts to hypoxia. And since the crew use more oxygen walking up and down the aisles than the passengers, they would report a higher rate of these mild symptoms. The reports of ill health from cabin crew are legion.

Note that cockpit crew have not been known to report any of these symptoms. And no wonder. The cockpit on every airliner is constantly fed a supply of freshly compressed air from outside. They breath no recycled air. Airliners have this design to keep the pilots' brains well fed. For obvious reasons.

Why don't they give the cabin 100% fresh air too? Because bleeding compressed air off the engines bleeds compressed air that the engines use to produce thrust. Which means that more fuel must be consumed to make up for that luxury of bleeding freshly compressed air to maintain a 100% fresh air cabin. It's cheaper to filter and recycle it, maintaining an optimum ratio of fresh air to recycled air that meets the needs of the average person sitting down. Some people's needs are greater that what this ratio allows. Thus the reports.

The 777, being of ultra-modern design, is evidently also ultra-economical.

Nothing weird about that. Makes cents.

An optimist robs himself of the joy of being pleasantly surprised

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