The struggle is real.

By Meghan Overdeep
October 29, 2019
Demkat/Getty Images

Maybe you find yourself tearing up during in-flight movies, or you’ve noticed fellow passengers struggling to hide their waterworks during the beverage service.

It’s not just you: there really is something about being 30,000 feet in the air that makes people more likely to cry. In fact, in 2011, Virgin Atlantic conducted a Facebook survey in which 55% of respondents said they experience heightened emotions during flights.  

So, what’s the deal with the Mile Cry Club?

Medical studies have proven that the lower air pressure of an aircraft can cause changes in mood, personality, behavior, and cognitive functioning. And while researchers haven’t identified a definitive cause for in-flight weeping, Popular Science reports that it’s likely a combination of oxygen deprivation, dehydration, and stress.

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Though airplane cabins are pressurized, it’s not to the levels you experience on the ground. Lower pressure means lower oxygen, which can do some crazy things to your body and your emotions. “With less oxygen available, your body goes into conservation mode,” Kate Sullivan, Head of Experience at Secret Fares, explained to Reader’s Digest. “It takes care of essential functions first, like your circulatory and respiratory system, and ramps down some of the less crucial functions… including emotional regulation.”

Throw in the physical and emotional pains of air travel, and it’s easy to see why the Mile Cry Club has so many members.

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