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notaxonrotax
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Stench From Airplane Cabin When Opening Main Door?

Wed Jan 21, 2015 3:08 pm

Hi,

quick question, people that work the ramp should be able to answer this:

Upon opening the main door (usually L1 or L2 I guess), is there a noticeable smell coming from the aircraft cabin?
I mean, there are flights were 300+ people have been sitting in that tube for 12+ hours.

I imagine modern aircraft better at filtering and recirculating the air than say the DC-10's, B742, B732 and the A300's, right?


Thanks,


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hufftheweevil
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RE: Stench From Airplane Cabin When Opening Main Door?

Wed Jan 21, 2015 3:24 pm

Not so much if you open the door after a live flight. The A/C system seems to keep the air pretty clean.

But if you ever open a door after an aircraft has been sitting for a while (say, overnight), yes there's an odd smell that emanates from the cabin. There's really no airflow when the airplane is just sitting there, so it becomes stale air. Just the same old air, sitting there, "absorbing" all the odors in the seats and carpets. It's not terribly disgusting, but it's not pleasant either.
Huff
 
AF1624
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RE: Stench From Airplane Cabin When Opening Main Door?

Wed Jan 21, 2015 3:28 pm

Quoting notaxonrotax (Thread starter):

I have wanted to ask that question for ages, so thank you, ahah. I've always wondered that.

I mean, take a fully loaded 747-400, relatively old A/C system, 13 hour flight. It HAS to smell weird after the flight, no?
Cheers
 
CplKlinger
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RE: Stench From Airplane Cabin When Opening Main Door?

Wed Jan 21, 2015 4:24 pm

I don't want this to sound how it's going to come out, but I wonder if the smell might depend on the pasengers. I would imagine the folks on Concorde would be presentable and well groomed for a flight, while some LCC in an off the beaten track location might be another story. Much like a school bus smelling like death after carrying a football team home after a game in the rain. I don't want to call anyone or any place out in specifics, but hopefully you can catch my drift.
 
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CrimsonNL
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RE: Stench From Airplane Cabin When Opening Main Door?

Wed Jan 21, 2015 6:26 pm

An interesting topic   I work with a big variety of airlines at AMS, and I find I have a good memory of smells. A lot of airlines or aircraft have their own distinct smell, regardless of the passengers on board (of course food in the oven is a different story). The cabin air is recirculated so fast that no smell of the pax really lingers on board.

On some airlines, the smell or scent of the cabin is so distinct that I could walk on board with my eyes closed and Id be able to tell which airline I'm on. On some airlines different aircraft types have different cabin smells for some reason. Sometimes when I'm out on the ramp near the cabin air outflow valve you can smell it too!

Martijn

Ps, nothing beats the smell of a brand new Airbus!
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phunc
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RE: Stench From Airplane Cabin When Opening Main Door?

Wed Jan 21, 2015 7:51 pm

Been stood at the door many times when it's been opened after a flight...and boy does it knock you back! God knows what what my alveoli have absorbed over the years. Different airlines have different smells. It's a mix of the locals BO, food on board etc... but that's all short term. After every long flight, my family say I always smell like 'plane'. The 'nav bag smell'.
 
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DL_Mech
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RE: Stench From Airplane Cabin When Opening Main Door?

Wed Jan 21, 2015 11:09 pm

I believe that the smell comes from the seat cover/carpet cleaning products that an airline uses. DL used to have a very distinct smell from their ArgoSheen carpet cleaner. They stopped shampooing carpets in house and I have no idea what they use now.

http://www.amazon.com/Argosheen-Carpet-Cleaner-Gal-1/dp/B00HJY6TGO
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notaxonrotax
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RE: Stench From Airplane Cabin When Opening Main Door?

Thu Jan 22, 2015 2:28 am

Quoting hufftheweevil (Reply 1):

But if you ever open a door after an aircraft has been sitting for a while (say, overnight), yes there's an odd smell that emanates from the cabin.

Makes sense......

Quoting AF1624 (Reply 2):
I have wanted to ask that question for ages, so thank you, ahah. I've always wondered that.

Yeah, me too!

Quoting CrimsonNL (Reply 4):
On some airlines, the smell or scent of the cabin is so distinct that I could walk on board with my eyes closed and Id be able to tell which airline I'm on.

Cool party trick!

Quoting CrimsonNL (Reply 4):
Ps, nothing beats the smell of a brand new Airbus!

Let's start an A Vs. B war on smells for a change, shall we?

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RetiredWeasel
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RE: Stench From Airplane Cabin When Opening Main Door?

Thu Jan 22, 2015 4:40 am

Just slightly off-topic, but there's nothing better than watching the reaction of a cargo agent that opens the entry door on a 747 freighter that is hauling a 30-40 pigs who have rudely dumped whenever they felt the urge. Watched that scene at least twice and once at NRT staring a Japanese agent that almost fell off the airstairs.

I sure many freighter dogs have had the same or similar experience. You learn NOT to store your roll-on bag on the main deck or else your layover clothes and spare uniform shirts will smell like the inside of an unflushed toilet.    
 
dispatchguy
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RE: Stench From Airplane Cabin When Opening Main Door?

Sat Jan 24, 2015 7:22 pm

I remember cockpit jumpseating on a B727 that did a LOT of horse charters.

On a 40 minute flight from ORD to HUF back in the mid 90s, the burned in stench horse manure was horrific. It hit me climbing the stairs by the L1 door and was prevalent the entire flight. I wanted to go on O2 it was so bad...

https://www.airliners.net/photo/Kalitta/Boeing-727-22C/1459115/L
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roseflyer
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RE: Stench From Airplane Cabin When Opening Main Door?

Sun Jan 25, 2015 3:00 am

Having met many different international flights when the door first opens, I can say that the smell mostly depends on country of origin as far as my nose is concerned, Flights from India have a stronger scent than any other place that I have noticed which probably is related to me not experiencing those scents as much. I have been told it is due to all the spices and curries, but I do notice a specific scent. On domestic flights and most international flights, I don't notice anything.
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jumpseat
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RE: Stench From Airplane Cabin When Opening Main Door?

Mon Jan 26, 2015 11:31 pm

I can concur with what hufftheweevil said. I notice it more when i'm on the aircraft's first flight of the day, or if it has been left for a few hours. On a crew change on board, where I takeover from the previous crew you occasionally notice it, but not as much because of the fact that the doors have been open a while.

I can honestly say though, that as much as I love flying, after spending a whole day on an aircraft, there's nothing better than walking back to the crew room and taking in the fresh air, incredibly refreshing!
 
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Francoflier
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RE: Stench From Airplane Cabin When Opening Main Door?

Tue Jan 27, 2015 5:05 am

An aircraft in service spends most of its time flying, and during that time it is relatively well ventilated and the air remains very dry.

The lack of humidity prevents odors from developing and spreading. Once an aircraft has been on the ground for a while, the bacteria will start doing its thing on all the dirt and unspeakable microscopic filth that years of intensive human occupation will have accumulated in uncountable nooks and crannies and then you'll start getting stronger smells...

An aircraft isn't very smelly after landing, but give it a few hours on a warm tarmac and you'll see(/smell).

It's not uncommon to see aircraft with several doors open when they are on the tarmac for some downtime. You need to let that room breathe, my mother always said...
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PanHAM
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RE: Stench From Airplane Cabin When Opening Main Door?

Fri Jan 30, 2015 12:02 pm

Quoting CrimsonNL (Reply 4):
On some airlines, the smell or scent of the cabin is so distinct that I could walk on board with my eyes closed and Id be able to tell which airline I'm on. On some airlines different aircraft types have different cabin smells for some reason. Sometimes when I'm out on the ramp near the cabin air outflow valve you can smell it too!

Too bad "Wettan Das" has been cancelled, would have been a nice bet "I can smell the scent and Name the Airline", at least 3 corrct answers to win.  

John Travolta would have been the best "Wettpate" for that.  Cool

[Edited 2015-01-30 04:03:51]
Was Erlauben Erdogan!!!
 
musang
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RE: Stench From Airplane Cabin When Opening Main Door?

Fri Jan 30, 2015 12:23 pm

Quoting CrimsonNL (Reply 4):
A lot of airlines or aircraft have their own distinct smell

I was a despatcher 6 years back in the '80s (at Gatwick). My most vivid airline smell memory, after all these years, was Korean Airlines. It was food-related I believe. Door 1 left on their 747s and SPs of course has a galley right there. Put me off Korean food ever since.

In contrast, the curry aroma in the forward galley of Air Lanka's TriStars was quite nice, and the enticing scent of Entenmanns pastries on the Delta TriStars guided us unerringly to the specific stowage. There were usually some left!

Regards - musang
 
RetiredWeasel
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RE: Stench From Airplane Cabin When Opening Main Door?

Fri Jan 30, 2015 2:33 pm

Quoting musang (Reply 14):
My most vivid airline smell memory, after all these years, was Korean Airlines. It was food-related I believe.

Probably kimchi. By itself, when opening a jar or can, to a Westerner, smells like something your baby left in a disposable. But it's served with just about every Korean dish as a side. Frankly a lot of us developed a taste for it during the many layovers in ICN or SEL (or if you were ever stationed there), especially with beer.

[Edited 2015-01-30 06:39:06]
 
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LHRBFSTrident
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RE: Stench From Airplane Cabin When Opening Main Door?

Fri Jan 30, 2015 7:58 pm

Quoting musang (Reply 14):
I was a despatcher 6 years back in the '80s

my dispatcher friends call the scent of a long-haul arrival: 'Eau de Boeing'
 
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aerdingus
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RE: Stench From Airplane Cabin When Opening Main Door?

Sat Jan 31, 2015 11:01 am

Quoting CplKlinger (Reply 3):
but I wonder if the smell might depend on the pasengers. I would imagine the folks on Concorde would be presentable and well groomed for a flight, while some LCC in an off the beaten track location might be another story.

Just because you have money doesn't mean yer prone to a bit of BO.

Quoting LHRBFSTrident (Reply 16):
my dispatcher friends call the scent of a long-haul arrival: 'Eau de Boeing'

Ha I like that one.

Usually our A/C don't smell when we open 'em but if it's an old one that's been left sitting out in the sun most of the day in GRO it's like the people are still on board. Bleugh! They get so stuffy sometimes, the air feels thick!
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atct
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RE: Stench From Airplane Cabin When Opening Main Door?

Sun Feb 01, 2015 7:45 am

The sweet smell of freshly baked chocolate chip cookies always made me smile on the Skyway Do-Jets.

The opposite is getting on a Continental 777 after a flight from Lagos. Whew!
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flynhi808
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RE: Stench From Airplane Cabin When Opening Main Door?

Mon Feb 02, 2015 6:17 am

Nothing like opening up the door on a 15 year old 767 that has been sitting on the HNL ramp for two months...
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northwestEWR
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RE: Stench From Airplane Cabin When Opening Main Door?

Tue Feb 03, 2015 3:22 am

Interesting question. First thing in the morning as others have said is the strongest but very hot summer days with an APU in-op can be brutal too. For some reason it always seemed like GoJet in particular would send us a CRJ-700 without an APU and without having had the lavs serviced all day. You want stank.... My god. We actually had a crew refuse to board the aircraft until the ground team could do something. Having had to explain that to a plane load of angry passengers facing a delay.... I did go check it out and it was horrific.

The only other ones I can remember being bad were those that came from India or had an incoming hazmat cleanup onboard. (Someone didn't get to the bag in time...)
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TheRedBaron
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RE: Stench From Airplane Cabin When Opening Main Door?

Wed Feb 04, 2015 12:50 am

True experience.

Mexicana Flight 405 from MEX to SFO in 2003, we took off and they served breakfast, it was Eggs with beans and asparagus.... it was a 4.5 hour flight...all good till like 3 hours into the flight that flatulence in all parts of the cabin became something out of a Monthy Pyton movie.... man I still cringe just by remembering it. Even the Flight attendants refused to move along the cabin, they were strapped as if in turbulence and could no care less, I was In row 9 in a A320, it was not so bad but the more you moved towards the back..it was unbearable....

Never BEANS EVER.

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