Ann Romney, wife of presidential candidate Mitt Romney, was in a plane that had to make an emergency landing last week. There was a small electrical fire on the plane, necessitating a landing. The fire was extinguished and no one was hurt, but everyone on the plane got a bit worried as the cabin filled with smoke.
Speaking of the incident over the weekend, Mitt noted that he thinks it’s dumb that you can’t just open the windows on a plane and get some fresh air.
“When you have a fire in an aircraft, there’s no place to go, exactly,” Mitt told the LA Times in an interview. “You can’t find any oxygen from outside the aircraft to get in the aircraft, because the windows don’t open. I don’t know why they don’t do that. It’s a real problem.”
Uh, no. It’s not a real problem.
There’s a good reason why you can’t just open the windows on a plane, Mitt. That reason: remaining alive.
You see, planes fly at an altitude of several thousand feet. Up there, cool breezes and fresh air aren’t exactly the same as they are when you’re cruising down the street on a warm, summer day. The cabin is pressurized so that the passengers inside get enough oxygen. If it wasn’t, people would experience something called cerebral hypoxia, which can be fatal.
Opening the windows on a plane wouldn’t necessarily be as dramatic as it appears in movies (with passengers getting sucked out the windows), but it’s definitely not something that you can be doing while flying at the altitudes that passenger jets fly at. It’s not just some engineering oversight that plane windows are sealed shut.