Short of suspended animation, how do you combat jet lag? Not very well, is the answer! But hope is on the horizon because two new airliners appear to hold the magic ingredient for canceling out the traveler’s scourge known as jet lag.
Could jet lag really be about to become a thing of the past? It is if the results from two new aircraft using improved technology prove to be reliable.
Dehydration and altitude sickness are the main culprits behind jet lag. Both set in slowly and silently and even if you drink like a fish onboard, you’re still likely to want a nap (and more drinks) after a five-hour flight.
But new features on the Airbus A350 and the Boeing 787 Dreamliner have reportedly scaled back the effects of jet lag in a major way.
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If the reported passenger results from these two planes can be duplicated on a large scale, the scourge of jetlag is about to be eliminated like small pox and the plague.
How can this be, you ask? Both of the new aircraft are pressurized to 6,000 feet, versus the more conventional 8,000 feet, and each maintains higher humidity levels than do traditional flights.
But that doesn’t explain why these airplanes are able to accomplish what their flying brethren thus far haven’t. The secret is, like Dustin Hoffman was informed in the classic coming of age flick, The Graduate, “plastics.”
Carbon-reinforced plastic composites, to be precise. These new high-tech materials are what allow for more bearable levels of cabin pressure and humidity than are attained in older airplanes.
Higher cabin pressure is good for your lungs but stressful on metal structures like airplanes. Unlike older planes, the two newer models can maintain a higher cabin pressure without compromising the integrity of the aircraft. It’s a simple equation really: the more air your lungs have, the less they have to work, and the less stressed you feel.
The new planes reach more optimal humidity levels by retaining more passenger humidity than do normal aircraft. Again, it’s the plastic composites on the planes that are responsible for a higher degree of passenger comfort.
Older planes must expel a higher level of cabin humidity or run an increased risk of metal corrosion. Plastic is immune to humidity, which is why polyester socks are more comfortable than cotton when your feet sweat.
This new technology is expected to be available in all aircraft but not until the next decade or so. Until then, we’d love to hear about all the ways that you combat jet lag!