Increase Cabin Humidity in Planes (Like In The Dreamliner)
Dehydration aboard passenger flights is one of the main causes of jet lag, that suite of aviation-based health woes that collectively sap your strength during long flights. Among the benefits offered up by Boeing's 787 Dreamliner is a more humid cabin — up to 15 percent humidity, compared to as little as 2 percent on traditional planes. If that sounds swampy and gross, remember that even 15 percent still leaves the air parched and arid, at least compared to anywhere other than the inside of an aircraft (even Arizona's average afternoon humidity, for example, is at 25 percent). The additional moisture pumped into the Dreamliner's cabin is more of a subtle, yet welcome increase.
The explanation generally given for this feature has to do with the non-metallic composite materials that make up some 50 percent of the Dreamliner's structure. Other planes, which incorporate far more aluminum in their airframes, could rust when placed in a state of increased humidity. Boeing says that its new 777x model, slated to go into production in 2017, will also boast Dreamliner-like humidity levels. The 777x also relies on composites, but they only comprise 9 percent of the aircraft's structure. Other aviation firms — and the airlines that purchase for them — should take note, that it's possible to make cabins more hospitable without degrading or radically overhauling their material composition.