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DLX737200
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The Smell of Airline Cabins

Wed Feb 19, 2020 11:08 am

The might seem like an odd post but the thought crossed my mind tonight:

Ever since I took my first flight as a 7 year old, I remember the cabin of airliners having a particular smell. It's distinct and noticeable and 25 years later, I still notice it. Smell is one of the most powerful senses with memory and every time I board a plane, my memory rushes back to numerous trips that started with an airline flight. It's a pleasant smell. Not offensive or disturbing. But I believe it's unique to airline cabins.

So what is that smell? Is it the seats? The carpet? The cabin walls? A mixture of interior and coffee in the galley? I used to think it was a cleaning solution but 10 years ago while I was in college I used to clean a wide variety Delta aircraft 5 nights a week and I never found a cleaning solution that we used that smelled like the quintessential smell of an airliner cabin.

So share your thoughts. I'd love to hear them!
 
Eikie
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Re: The Smell of Airline Cabins

Wed Feb 19, 2020 11:18 am

I am guessing mix of all of the above.
Cleaning might be a small part, as are other chemicals as glue and paint, but mostly you smell humans.
Sweat, feet, breath, food, drink, toilets, luggage..
 
shamrock137
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Re: The Smell of Airline Cabins

Wed Feb 19, 2020 11:29 am

I think the biggest parts are coffee, air fresheners, people and food from planes that use ovens. If you've been on a plane that's been sitting for a day or 2 with the doors closed and no ground air attached, that airplane smell gets pretty bad. Back in the smoking days, crews used to refer to Eau de Boeing as the mix between airplane smell, second hand smoke, oven food and coffee that would get stuck on uniforms, bags, hair etc. Most companies I've worked for use the same cleaners and air fresheners, its actually called Jet Scent. The lavs are a pretty big part of it as well. The old "blue juice" toilets used to smell pretty strong, but even the new ones mostly use the same sanitizer and deodorizer in the flush water.
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FatCat
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Re: The Smell of Airline Cabins

Wed Feb 19, 2020 11:36 am

Oh I think it depends a lot. You cannot simply say, "this is what an aeroplane cabin smells like".

First it depends on the season. During summer, generally, the weather is hotter than the other three seasons.
Being the temperature higher, the human beings tends to sweat, and someone - without any barrier of gender, income, ethnicity - hasn't still discovered the magic world that's behind personal freshners, and / or behind showers.
So first thing you smell in an aeroplane during summer is generally dead armpit smell and cheesy feet smell.
I tend to smell a lot of cheesy feet smell in BA's flights and biohazardous armpit smell in DL & AA flights.

Then there are food habits. Some people, again, hasn't yet discovered / understood that garlic make your body smell of, well, rotting garlic. It's nature's antibiothic but well, we invented non-smelly antibiothics for God's sake.
Garlic Flavouring is, in my experience, LH's favourite.

Plane interiors tends to smell a lot, too. People do fart and fart a lot. If you fart in a fabric made seat, your fart will be forever entrapped inside it. It will become a part of the seat. Imagine thousands, millions of fart entrapped in a seat. This is what a seat will smell. If you do not wash with a precise schedule.
AZ's interiors smelled like farts. But I do not fly AZ since a long time and don't know if AZ still has fabric-made seats. Best hygene: ANA (but not JAL), ME3 but my all times favourite is Royal Jordanian.
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VSMUT
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Re: The Smell of Airline Cabins

Wed Feb 19, 2020 12:36 pm

The smell of coffee when entering the aircraft seems ingrained in me from when I was a child. I haven't noticed that smell for years though, probably because most airlines went to low-cost service and coffee makers generally went out along with that model.

An aircraft that has been used on domestic Indian flights for a few years though, talk about a distinctive stench! :crazy: :ill: :yuck:
 
Boof02671
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Re: The Smell of Airline Cabins

Wed Feb 19, 2020 12:40 pm

Bleed air Jet A residue.
 
wetpantsmcgee
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Re: The Smell of Airline Cabins

Wed Feb 19, 2020 12:49 pm

Boof02671 wrote:
Bleed air Jet A residue.


A distinctive smell that an old coworker referred to as "foot and ass".
 
Airhaiku
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Re: The Smell of Airline Cabins

Wed Feb 19, 2020 1:09 pm

I don’t agree with critics here who complain about body odour, toilet etc.
These bad smells probably accumulate towards the end of the flight, especially long haul.
But on entering the plane, there is always that fresh and nice feel. Fresh and clean smell, tidy seats, well groomed flight attendants.
And that aspect is always there, no matter if later you receive superb or mediocre service. And I had that feeling in absolutely all airplanes I entered. And I travelled with most european airlines, many asian and a few american and afican.
The only thing that changed in time is intensity of the smell. I remember a distinctive, pretty strong smell of fresh cabin in my childhood in the late 70’s and 80”s. It was so distinctive that I always conected this small with an aircraft cabin. Later, unfortunately it disappeared. Probably they use less strong cleaning chemicals.
But I miss that old smell!
 
Rara
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Re: The Smell of Airline Cabins

Wed Feb 19, 2020 2:41 pm

Saying that it's a variety of human smells, coffee, food etc. is certainly true, but it can't be the whole story. There IS something like an aircraft cabin smell which is quite unmistable and (to my knowledge) found all over the world. I set foot into a crowded subway carriage every morning and THAT smells like, well, humans; lots of them and in close proximity. I've never walked into a subway and thought "hey that smells just like an aircraft".

I agree it's most likely a combination of different factors, but it's certainly unique to aircraft.
Samson was a biblical tough guy, but his dad Samsonite was even more of a hard case.
 
nine4nine
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Re: The Smell of Airline Cabins

Wed Feb 19, 2020 3:03 pm

I miss the old days Back in the 80’s of the smells of stale cloth, brewed on board coffee, cigarette smoke, and oven baked meals. The combination of all of those elements blended a very familiar smell every time I flew that I can still smell in my mind.
717, 727-100, 727-200, 732, 733, 734, 735, 73G, 738, 739, 742, 748, 752, 753, 762, 763, 772, 77W, 787-10, DC9, MD80/88/90, DC10, 319, 220-300, 320, 321, 321n, 332, 333, CS100, CRJ200, Q400, E175, E190, ERJ145, EMB120
 
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LaunchDetected
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Re: The Smell of Airline Cabins

Wed Feb 19, 2020 3:09 pm

I've spent more time in brand-new plane than old ones, and new cabins definitely have a strong, distinct smell (cleaning agents, new plastics, new carpets). I never smelled this scent elsewhere. Maybe the cabin keeps a fine trace of this smell during several years.

Smell is a very powerful sense indeed
Caravelle lover
 
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hongkongflyer
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Re: The Smell of Airline Cabins

Wed Feb 19, 2020 3:10 pm

I found the cruise ships have a similar smell of the airplane cabins. May be it is the smell of poor air quality in an enclosed space.
 
filbrkz
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Re: The Smell of Airline Cabins

Wed Feb 19, 2020 3:24 pm

Thanks for bringing this up! I've recalled the same thing but never thought of posting it. I started flying in the 1960s also, and know what you're talking about. It's not that prevalent these days, for better or for worse. But it's amazing that a smell from 40-50 years ago pops into my head periodically! Another smell I miss is that of jet fuel- I guess the jet bridges are so well built/air conditioned these days, the odors from the ramp don't make their way up there (at least beyond the area by the aircraft door). Flying is so antiseptic today compared to those days! But there are many more flights to choose from, and it's cheaper! Another factor I didn't see mentioned is that strong odors seem to have been engineered out of plastics- another case of for better or for worse!
 
Worldair1
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Re: The Smell of Airline Cabins

Wed Feb 19, 2020 3:28 pm

Worked the IAD ramp in the early 90's, Saudi 747 came in daily, 1st thing they did was open every door to air it out, wow, now that was a smell!
 
Virtual737
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Re: The Smell of Airline Cabins

Wed Feb 19, 2020 3:30 pm

wetpantsmcgee wrote:
Boof02671 wrote:
Bleed air Jet A residue.


A distinctive smell that an old coworker referred to as "foot and ass".


Qualities that I look for in both my aircraft and my partners.
 
aumaverick
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Re: The Smell of Airline Cabins

Wed Feb 19, 2020 3:32 pm

The interior of military aircraft, particularly heavies (C-130/17/5/141, B-52, etc.) have a very unique but different aroma as well. Some have described it as a mix of hydraulic fluid, jet fuel, sweat, 50 year old Snickers, Old Spice, and coffee.
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afcjets
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Re: The Smell of Airline Cabins

Wed Feb 19, 2020 3:54 pm

filbrkz wrote:
Another smell I miss is that of jet fuel- I guess the jet bridges are so well built/air conditioned these days, the odors from the ramp don't make their way up there (at least beyond the area by the aircraft door). Flying is so antiseptic today compared to those days! But there are many more flights to choose from, and it's cheaper! Another factor I didn't see mentioned is that strong odors seem to have been engineered out of plastics- another case of for better or for worse!


In the very early 1980s when I was 10 or 11 on the way to the airport before a trip with total excitement I said I can't wait to smell that jet fuel! My parents laughed and still remember it. I think you can still smell it today it's just not as strong. Since our family vacations where we flew almost always involved a morning flight on the outbound, you could also smell baked cheese omelettes or similar in addition to the coffee and cigarette smoke.

The cigarette smoke became less noticeable as they kept moving the smoking section sign back as demand shrank until they banned it completely. I think there was a time when it was almost half the Y cabin but I remember only as much as about 25%. Eventually it seems it was just the last three rows in coach on narrow bodies. It was always just the last row in F from what I can remember.
 
PSU.DTW.SCE
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Re: The Smell of Airline Cabins

Wed Feb 19, 2020 4:13 pm

Yep, I know that smell well too. The onboard smell combined with the sounds of screaming JT8Ds and the smell of jet fuel and exhaust on the ramp.
The overwhelming aroma of coffee in the forward galley too as you got onboard.
 
oldannyboy
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Re: The Smell of Airline Cabins

Wed Feb 19, 2020 4:21 pm

Ohhh, actually today's aircraft cabins, with the exception of more 'exotic' airlines, tend to smell a lot less that in the olden days.
Boy, "that" amazing smell, that mix of "real airliner cabin" -all the fixtures, the thick carpeting, the curtains, the thickly-padded cloth seats, antimacassars- plus the smell of 'proper' hot food, brewed coffee, JET fuel, 'air hostesses' fragrancies', cigarette, hydraulic fluid, all somehow managed to create this sizzling, enticing, exciting smell of 'jet-age international travel'....I tend to associate it with the specialness/novelty and somewhat extravagant privilege that flying was in the olden days....
Sadly most of that is all but gone. Aircraft cabins are a sad, colorless affair of cheap durable washable grey plastic and blue leatherette. Real food and coffee are a rare affair these days. Most F/As are often far from charming and welcoming (no offence meant, it's just what it is), but more often than not appear flustered, tired, irritated, and also not very smart (if not downright sloppy). Passengers often dress down, wearing mostly (understandably) loose-fitting, comfortable clothing that will make experiencing the tight confines of the new denser cabins somewhat more bearable... and I'm not even touching the issue of flip-flops, t-tanks, putrid armpits and oily hair....but really, flying [especially short-haul] has lost A LOT of its appeal!!!!
That special smell I am thinking about (let's call it a "BOAC VC-10 cabin smell") has gone the way of the dodo........
 
JAGflyer
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Re: The Smell of Airline Cabins

Wed Feb 19, 2020 4:43 pm

Certain airlines have cabin scenting directives as part of their on-board product. For example, EVA Air in J-class definitely scents their cabins subtly prior to boarding and perhaps a few times during the longer flights. Their hot towels are also specifically scented in a similar way. As for the general odor or smell of airplanes, I have noticed a common scent on most flights that I attribute to the high-traffic, fire-treated carpet or seat fabric covers as well as the smell of the A/C packs (which provide the air that is circulated in the cabin).
If you flew today, thank a Flight Dispatcher!
 
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BN727227Ultra
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Re: The Smell of Airline Cabins

Wed Feb 19, 2020 5:06 pm

I smell the Jet A nore in the jetway than in the aircraft, but it does make me smile.

There's the blast of humidity that hits you at the diaphragm of the jetway and aircraft, especially at ATL, IAH and DFW.

Inside the aircraft? Coffee, burnt coffee. I'm married to a barista and I know all about burnt coffee.
 
questions
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Re: The Smell of Airline Cabins

Wed Feb 19, 2020 5:11 pm

The scent I remember from childhood was a unique blend of coffee and peanuts... Eau de Avion!

Today it’s more of a blend of subway + scented commercial cleaner. It’s a smell you’d recognize anywhere if blindfolded, similar to recognizing the smell of Home Depot or Lowe’s if you walked in blindfolded.
 
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Re: The Smell of Airline Cabins

Wed Feb 19, 2020 5:16 pm

oldannyboy wrote:
Most F/As are often far from charming and welcoming (no offence meant, it's just what it is), but more often than not appear flustered, tired, irritated, and also not very smart (if not downright sloppy).


But, no offense... :D
 
KlimaBXsst
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Re: The Smell of Airline Cabins

Wed Feb 19, 2020 5:18 pm

The NEW airplane smell is the smell
I like! Unfortunately it does not last too long!
Aesthetically the A 340 got it right!
 
jetmatt777
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Re: The Smell of Airline Cabins

Wed Feb 19, 2020 5:27 pm

I know what you are referring to. It is a distinct stale-coffee smell.
 
NASBWI
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Re: The Smell of Airline Cabins

Wed Feb 19, 2020 6:09 pm

I had the pleasure once of working an A321 on its very first revenue flight, and it was quite a treat (tail N993JE if memory serves)! The smell was essentially leather and plastic. Coat hangers were still wrapped in cellophane, and there were absolutely no food-or-fuel-related odors.

But, growing up primarily flying in smaller planes (associated smell: used cloth and jet fuel), it was such an exciting event to travel on a larger jet. When visiting relatives in Maryland, we’d normally fly Delta from NAS to ATL...the smell that hit me the most as we entered that 727 through the jetbridge was freshly brewing coffee for F pax, and a faint hint of stale cigarettes (this was the late 80s/early 90s, so the smell still lingered from its “glory days”).

I’m sure now, those smells would be most unwelcome to many, but it enhanced my travel experience as a young aviation geek lol, and created lasting (and warm) memories. Cheers!
Fierce, Fabulous, and Flawless ;)
 
txflyguy94
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Re: The Smell of Airline Cabins

Wed Feb 19, 2020 6:42 pm

I've always noticed a distinct smell by aircraft type, and by airline. At my airline I can smell a 737 before walking onboard, and every 737 in the fleet has the same scent. Same goes for the 757's, a bit old, musty and a dash of blue juice. other airlines have a different, but distinct scent, American's 737's do not smell like ours, and the good ole' Mad Dog had its own. I assume a big part of it is the interior materials chosen (i.e. carpet, seat fabric, galley flooring etc) and a mix of passenger odors through the years.
 
DeltaRules
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Re: The Smell of Airline Cabins

Wed Feb 19, 2020 7:11 pm

I've noticed MD-80s and MD-90s have a stronger, more distinct smell.
A310/319/320/321/333, ARJ, BN2, B717/722/73S/733/734/735/73G/738/739/744/757/753/767/763/764/777, CR1/2/7/9, DH6, 328, EM2/ERJ/E70/E75/E90, F28/100, J31, L10/12/15, DC9/D93/D94/D95/M80/M88/M90/D10, SF3, SST
 
shamrock321
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Re: The Smell of Airline Cabins

Wed Feb 19, 2020 7:18 pm

Eau de Boeing hasn’t been mentioned yet!
 
UALFAson
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Re: The Smell of Airline Cabins

Wed Feb 19, 2020 8:21 pm

What a great thread! Because I know that smell exactly!

I always thought it was heavily influenced by fabrics--the industrial-strength carpeting, the cloth (now leather) seats, and the synthetic-fabric uniforms. Then mix in a little heat or AC that's been output by the aircraft (as opposed to truly fresh air) and a little jet fuel, and voila!

I have always thought it a hot, heavy scent, even in summer.
"We hope you've enjoyed flying with us as much as we've enjoyed taking you for a ride."
 
trent768
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Re: The Smell of Airline Cabins

Wed Feb 19, 2020 8:39 pm

Does it have something to do with the air circulation system? Because the smell tends to be stronger from those personal air vents and you can notice it during boarding after it spent sometime without many people in it. I don't think that food or bodily odour plays a role in this, because all of the above actually removes the smell.

This is actually one of the biggest unanswered mystery for me, because I love it so much and I want my car/room to have the same smell lol. No one that I know of understand what I'm talking about, but I can always smell it whenever I board a plane. No matter what airline/manufacturer/countries of origin.
 
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airportugal310
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Re: The Smell of Airline Cabins

Wed Feb 19, 2020 8:46 pm

shamrock321 wrote:
Eau de Boeing hasn’t been mentioned yet!


It was mentioned in reply #3...
“They bought their tickets, they knew what they were getting into. I say, let 'em crash.”
 
peterinlisbon
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Re: The Smell of Airline Cabins

Wed Feb 19, 2020 9:03 pm

I used to work at an airline where I would sometimes be on the jetbridge when the plane came in and they opened the door. It's a strange mixture of things - jet fumes, airline food, cleaning products and air freshener. It depends a lot on the country as well. If you walk past the gate of Pakistan International it smells of spices and Indian food.
 
billsalton92
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Re: The Smell of Airline Cabins

Wed Feb 19, 2020 9:10 pm

Maybe I'm the only one, but I can smell the difference between Air Canada and WestJet; On the AC side of things, the Embraers, Airbus Narrowbodies, and 777/787 all smell unique. Working in them daily I could tell where I was strictly from scent.
 
professorpryor
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Re: The Smell of Airline Cabins

Wed Feb 19, 2020 9:32 pm

I usually ask for a rum and Coke when I board.

Then - that's all I can smell.

Works for me. :)
 
ACDC8
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Re: The Smell of Airline Cabins

Wed Feb 19, 2020 9:46 pm

Love the smell when you board an aircraft, except for a certain Canadian airline. Don't know why, but all their 737s have this very unpleasant, sharp almost body odour like stench when you board the aircraft. Only airline I've ever flown on that has such a repulsive smell.
A Grumpy German Is A Sauerkraut
 
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usdcaguy
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Re: The Smell of Airline Cabins

Wed Feb 19, 2020 9:54 pm

I used to love the smell of the plane when I was a kid, but now I recognize the smell as Jet A. Strangely, I no longer smell it near as much as I did in the 70’s and 80’s.
 
LimaFoxTango
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Re: The Smell of Airline Cabins

Wed Feb 19, 2020 9:54 pm

I find that distinct smell to be engine exhaust mixed with air conditioning. Of course there is the "new plane smell" similar to a new car, but I've found this smell to be on aircraft that has seen better days.

I've also noticed there is a distinct sound on aircraft as well. That is a soft but high pitched whine you usually hear from computers and old electronics.
You are said to be a good pilot when your take-off's equal your landings.
 
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SRQKEF
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Re: The Smell of Airline Cabins

Thu Feb 20, 2020 1:13 am

FatCat wrote:
Oh I think it depends a lot. You cannot simply say, "this is what an aeroplane cabin smells like".

First it depends on the season. During summer, generally, the weather is hotter than the other three seasons.
Being the temperature higher, the human beings tends to sweat, and someone - without any barrier of gender, income, ethnicity - hasn't still discovered the magic world that's behind personal freshners, and / or behind showers.
So first thing you smell in an aeroplane during summer is generally dead armpit smell and cheesy feet smell.
I tend to smell a lot of cheesy feet smell in BA's flights and biohazardous armpit smell in DL & AA flights.

Then there are food habits. Some people, again, hasn't yet discovered / understood that garlic make your body smell of, well, rotting garlic. It's nature's antibiothic but well, we invented non-smelly antibiothics for God's sake.
Garlic Flavouring is, in my experience, LH's favourite.

Plane interiors tends to smell a lot, too. People do fart and fart a lot. If you fart in a fabric made seat, your fart will be forever entrapped inside it. It will become a part of the seat. Imagine thousands, millions of fart entrapped in a seat. This is what a seat will smell. If you do not wash with a precise schedule.
AZ's interiors smelled like farts. But I do not fly AZ since a long time and don't know if AZ still has fabric-made seats. Best hygene: ANA (but not JAL), ME3 but my all times favourite is Royal Jordanian.


Fantastic post! :rotfl:

And agreed on the ANA + ME3, I find EY's 787 cabins to be especially nice in that regard.
Nothing compares to taking off in an empty 757 with full thrust!
 
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stl07
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Re: The Smell of Airline Cabins

Thu Feb 20, 2020 1:19 am

Vistara somehow made planes that smell fresh and lack the smell. Even though their seats were just like Frontier, that made me think it was a premium carrier and justify spending more to take them
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baje427
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Re: The Smell of Airline Cabins

Thu Feb 20, 2020 1:26 am

I know AA's 757's have a very recognizable scent.
 
SmokinL1011
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Re: The Smell of Airline Cabins

Thu Feb 20, 2020 3:23 am

I brought up the same topic 12 years ago! There definitely was a unique and very strong smell in cabins that doesn't exist anymore.......

viewtopic.php?f=5&t=759007&p=10952315#p10952315
 
guillelds
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Re: The Smell of Airline Cabins

Thu Feb 20, 2020 3:44 am

Eikie wrote:
I am guessing mix of all of the above.
Cleaning might be a small part, as are other chemicals as glue and paint, but mostly you smell humans.
Sweat, feet, breath, food, drink, toilets, luggage..

You forgot thousands and thousands of daily farts
 
flyguy89
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Re: The Smell of Airline Cabins

Thu Feb 20, 2020 7:28 am

Oh I know exactly what you mean! Best I can nail it down is a combination of coffee, recirculated air carrying a "heavy electronics/machinery" smell, jet fuel, and maybe a hint of whatever snacks or food are often served. It's not an unpleasant smell, and one I've indeed always associated with excitement from when I first smelled it as a kid. Of course inconsiderate passengers do on occassion overpower that smell (BO, their own food, etc), but being an #avgeek I've nevertheless always been partial to that unique aircraft scent.
 
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ClipperYankee
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Re: The Smell of Airline Cabins

Thu Feb 20, 2020 7:58 am

My only brand new plane flight was on a New York Air 737, a -400, I think? Definitely a cool smell. Somewhat similar to that new car scent but not quite the same. And I too enjoy a whiff of Jet-A in the air. Fun topic.
Anyone remember the "Flying Nosh" on New York Air? You got a bagel and a "schmear" of Philly Cream cheese in a little red bag.
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Vasu
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Re: The Smell of Airline Cabins

Thu Feb 20, 2020 10:54 am

Just based on personal experience in Europe, I remember a much stronger smell of cabins when I was growing up and flying the British charter 757s out of Gatwick. Why less so now? All of those flights used to have a full meal service. I guess that’s why I don’t tend to get the same smell from the likes of Ryanair and easyJet these days.
 
FatCat
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Re: The Smell of Airline Cabins

Thu Feb 20, 2020 11:18 am

SRQKEF wrote:

Fantastic post! :rotfl:

And agreed on the ANA + ME3, I find EY's 787 cabins to be especially nice in that regard.


Oh yes, EY's B787s are not only fantastic good looking on the outside but also gorgeous inside. Even if I fly LHGroup 90% of my flights, because of Company Partnership (we're LHTechnik partners) everytime I get the chance, EY is my first choice.

But the feet smell in certain cabins are just overwhelming. You know I always smile when I read "odour of burning old socks" on AVHerald's reports, thinking, well, for some Companies it's the usual smell... :-D
Aeroplane flies high
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N14AZ
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Re: The Smell of Airline Cabins

Thu Feb 20, 2020 12:08 pm

SRQKEF wrote:
FatCat wrote:
Oh I think it depends a lot. You cannot simply say, "this is what an aeroplane cabin smells like".

First it depends on the season. During summer, generally, the weather is hotter than the other three seasons.
Being the temperature higher, the human beings tends to sweat, and someone - without any barrier of gender, income, ethnicity - hasn't still discovered the magic world that's behind personal freshners, and / or behind showers.
So first thing you smell in an aeroplane during summer is generally dead armpit smell and cheesy feet smell.
I tend to smell a lot of cheesy feet smell in BA's flights and biohazardous armpit smell in DL & AA flights.

Then there are food habits. Some people, again, hasn't yet discovered / understood that garlic make your body smell of, well, rotting garlic. It's nature's antibiothic but well, we invented non-smelly antibiothics for God's sake.
Garlic Flavouring is, in my experience, LH's favourite.

Plane interiors tends to smell a lot, too. People do fart and fart a lot. If you fart in a fabric made seat, your fart will be forever entrapped inside it. It will become a part of the seat. Imagine thousands, millions of fart entrapped in a seat. This is what a seat will smell. If you do not wash with a precise schedule.
AZ's interiors smelled like farts. But I do not fly AZ since a long time and don't know if AZ still has fabric-made seats. Best hygene: ANA (but not JAL), ME3 but my all times favourite is Royal Jordanian.


Fantastic post! :rotfl:

Yes, very good and sober summary. But not a good idea to read it in the morning shortly after breakfast.
:vomit:

When I fly in the front of the aircraft (flights > 4 hours) I usually notice the smell of coffee, rather the smell of burnt coffee.

I also remember the smell of some 787 or 350 that just had joined the fleets of TG and VN.
 
fjnovak1
Posts: 582
Joined: Wed Apr 05, 2000 2:23 am

Re: The Smell of Airline Cabins

Thu Feb 20, 2020 12:39 pm

I recall when I was a teenager in the mid 1990’s flying NW SFO-DTW during summer breaks and school vacations to visit the grandparents. The NW 757 had a very distinct smell, I can’t really put my finger on it but the 757’s and as I discovered later the 727’s had a very distinct smell while the 320’s had a different smell (not as notable, more like the coffee and food referenced above) and then the 319’s in the late 90’s/early 2000’s being new had very little distinctive scent. But those 757’s, it wasn’t a bad smell but you walked on the plane and you knew exactly where you were. And I cannot recall United’s 757’s of the same time period having the exact same scent. They had a scent- but it wasn’t as poignant as the 57’s of Northwest.
Go Blue!!
 
reltney
Posts: 615
Joined: Fri Jun 25, 2004 1:34 am

Re: The Smell of Airline Cabins

Thu Feb 20, 2020 12:42 pm

[threeid][/threeid]
aumaverick wrote:
The interior of military aircraft, particularly heavies (C-130/17/5/141, B-52, etc.) have a very unique but different aroma as well. Some have described it as a mix of hydraulic fluid, jet fuel, sweat, 50 year old Snickers, Old Spice, and coffee.


I worked at the Pima Air museum when I was training in the A7 and F-16. Both those planes had a distinct smell. The A-7 was old but had the same particular aroma. In the air it still had the same smell if you took your mask off. Same as the 16. I also got rides in the back seat if the F-100/F-4 and F-15 and OV-10....same smell when you dropped your mask. Anyway I was polishing the B-58 hustler at Pima and would go sit in the cockpit from time to time. It had 3 tandem cockpits....all 3 smelled just like the F-16 and A-7...mmmmm weird. We also, as a precaution would climb into all the planes to check for creatures and leaks to help keep the planes in good shape. All the military planes smelled very similar. FI04, SR71, F106/102, F4, F107 all smelled the same. The Boeing 307 had old carpet/coffee smell. That plane is now in the Hazy museum. Skipping ahead...when I moved to Ohio I volunteered in the Air Force museum...same things....that smell....these planes were all inside planes but we still opened a cockpit for VIPs and “cockpit night”....same smell.

10 years later I restored a plane with a friend...we had original mil spec contact cement to put on weatherstripping and other interior pieces. When I opened the can....WAM.....that same smell! It wasn’t the 3M contact smell but a different formula.... unbelievable! The contact cement was the common thread!
I felt like I was in heaven.....sniffing the glue....

Russian military planes smell completely different from American planes...I haven’t pinned down the smell yet but my yak 52 smells just like the L29/39 mig 15 and 21. I sat in a mig 23 but cannot remember the smell. I am guessing the glue again but who knows....

Anyway, that’s my 2 cents...
Cheers
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