What’s Worse on an Airplane: The Smell of Gas or Air Freshener To Cover It?

international travel with children
Written by Charlie

On a recent flight, there was a battle between a passenger’s gas and a passengers spray to cover it. Which is worse?

My son and I were on a flight recently and, as it typically happens, someone passed gas. Check the article to see why this is normal on airplanes, but this particular incident was quite strong. Someone took matters in their own hands to combat this but was it so helpful?

What’s Worst on an Airplane: The Smell of Gas or Air Freshener To Cover?

Most of the time, when people pass gas aboard an airplane, it is manageable. I mean, yes, we are all in a pressurized tube and seated fairly close together but it happens and people just deal with it.

Occasionally, it will be stronger smelling than at other times. When that happens, you can almost always tell the person who has done it as they  start to furtively glance around, like they are looking for a baby or a service animal they can put the blame on.

Gas vs Flowers & Pumpkins

On our recent flight, we were one row behind business class and the curtain was open (it was a regional plane). As soon as the smell began to grow in strength, a woman in business class (last row, across the aisle from us – so one row up) started acting like she was choking on the smell and looking back at all of us in coach with great disgust (because people in business class NEVER pass gas!) ;).

She started waiving her hand back and forth to get the smell away as she reached into her very large purse (which probably would never have fit the carryon sizer for Ryanair, by the way) and eventually pulled out a can of air freshener.

She proceeded to practically empty the can as she sprayed up and down the aisle in an effort to kill the smell. Then she looked to the couple on her right and pointed to the back and shook her head as she talked.

While the smell of the gas had been strong, the smell of the air freshener was very strong and even nauseating. I’m sure she liked the smell (smelled something like flowers and pumpkins) but she had decided that we would all get to appreciate her spray as well – and practically taste it!

To be honest, I would have preferred her not spraying that (notice I didn’t say I preferred the smell of the gas!). It was so strong and really overpowering. There were some people behind us who were kind of gagging at it. In fact, one woman behind us had been talking to her seatmate about how bad her asthma was before all this started.

In the end, it all vanished away. But, it did make me wonder what others would prefer! It also caused me to wonder if the woman that handled the spray was the original flatulent culprit as well! 🙂

So, which is worse – the smell of gas onboard the plane or someone spraying air freshener to overpower it?

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About the author


Charlie has been an avid traveler and runner for many years. He has run in marathons around the world for less than it would cost to travel to the next town - all as a result of collecting and using miles and points. Over the years, he has flown hundreds of thousands of miles and collected millions of miles and points.
Now he uses this experience and knowledge to help others through Running with Miles.