Men, is this true? Are you really burying yourself under blankets to hide your tears when you fly on airplanes? Because according to a new survey by Virgin Atlantic, that’s the case for 41 percent of men — after they watch an in-flight movie.
If you’re scratching your head at this seemingly random statistic, you’re not alone. But scientists have confirmed that people in general do become more emotional while flying — though the statistic of women crying on airplanes is unknown, and it hasn’t yet been studied why it (apparently) affects men so strongly.
But one academic paper from George Mason University hypothesizes that an airplane cabin might be the perfect emotional landscape for tears. Think about it: bright lights, the fact that you’re oftentimes rubbing shoulders with a total stranger next to you, and a deep connection with a movie showing up on a very small screen with ultra-personal audio.
It’s also worth noting that the physical space itself could also affect one’s emotions. The pressure and oxygen levels rise to create a sensation similar to what a human might feel if they were 8,000 feet above sea level. The brain gets a lot less oxygen up there, which in short can affect anyone’s mood (dare we ask why those flight attendants always seem so perky?). On a more serious note, according to a study from the U.S. Institute of Medicine, “the initial mood experienced at altitude is euphoria, followed by depression.” Yikes.
If men really are getting teary on the plane though, please know that you don’t need to stay hidden under the covers much longer. You’ll be on the ground soon enough!
See the best things to wear on a really long flight in the video below.