How A Case Of Farting On An Airplane Ended In An FBI Interrogation

According to U.S. News & World Report, feeling gassy on a plane is a common occurrence. In fact, a 1981 study even has a name for this phenomenon: High Altitude Flatus Expulsion. Simply put, when an individual reaches altitudes of 11,000 feet and more, they can expect to break wind. This study focused on mountain climbers but HuffPost explains that it can and does happen to people on planes. The dramatic altitude change and low air pressure causes gas in the intestines to expand up to 30% more. If one does not fart, it can lead to uncomfortable bloating and even long-term health issues.

In 2006, NBC News reported that a flight en route to Dallas made an emergency landing in Nashville due to an emanating smell of sulfur. After an extensive search, the FBI concluded that a woman had lit matches to cover up "body odor" from a "medical condition" (via Wired). The flight went on without the woman as she was subsequently banned from American Airlines. Of the incident, Lynne Lowrance, from the Nashville International Airport Authority, told NBC News that "It's humorous in a way, but you feel sorry for the individual as well." Nevertheless, this would not be the last time that farts resulted in planes making an emergency landing.

The Transavia Airlines flight incident

In February 2018, Metro writes that one man on a Transavia Airlines flight from Dubai to Amsterdam was incessantly farting. According to HuffPost, the two men seated next to him asked him to stop. When he refused, the men complained to the flight crew. They, however, did nothing. The gassy man continued to fart which led to a fight between all three men. Ultimately, the flight had to make an emergency landing in Vienna (via Insider). Authorities ended up removing the two men and two other women who claimed they were not involved in the disagreement and had been racially profiled due to their Moroccan heritage.

The flatulent man was allowed to stay on the flight and his identity remains unknown. The New York Post reports that the four removed individuals were banned from Transavia Airlines. One of the women, Nora Lachhab, described the incident as "humiliating" and added that "All I will say is that the (flight) crew were really provocative and stirred things up" (per Metro). Lachhab threatened legal action and HuffPost states that Transavia Airlines released a statement that read "They (passengers) know very well where the boundaries are. Transavia therefore stands squarely behind the cabin crew and the pilots."

Goat farts derailed a flight

As People explains, flatulence on flights is not just a human issue. In 2015, a Singapore Airlines cargo plane had to make an emergency landing in Bali due to gassy goats. According to Metro, the plane had only four crew members and a whopping 2,186 goats. The flight had departed from Australia and was on its way to Malaysia when the fire alarm went off (via Per the Aviation Herald, an investigation uncovered that the plane had no smoke and was not on fire but simply had too many farting goats. The plane was aired out for a few hours until it was able to safely return to the sky.

Singapore Airlines later denied that the emergency landing was caused by the goat's flatulence (per Today). Even so, they failed to provide another reason for the incident. As for farting humans, the BBC states that some airlines are taking preventive measures to stave off gassy passengers. This includes using charcoal filters in the air conditioning and providing meals that are low in fiber. Per the U.S. News & World Report, experts suggest avoiding certain foods and drinks before flights such as beans, dairy, soda, and more. HuffPost also recommends for one to drink water and to occasionally walk around the plane to ward off gas.