I started to cry as soon as the plane was airborne. It was the first leg of my transatlantic flight and right there and then I started bawling. I had a whole row to myself, so my family members did not witness the uncontrollable sobbing. It started out of nowhere. There I was, flying to Miami, en route to Spain spilling my feelings all over the airline blanket.
What is it about flying that makes our deepest emotions emerge? Is it the feeling of impending doom? For whatever reason, flying tends to intensify our emotions. Something inside us triggers and the floodgates open. Aside from panic attacks and watching sad movies on flights, crying on a plane is completely normal.
While there are sciencey facts behind crying on a plane: symptoms of dehydration, air pressure on a plane, oxygen levels affecting serotonin, the fact is that there is something psychological behind crying, too. Since the dawn of time crying has been a way to soothe emotions and to send signals of distress. So, are we all just psychologically distressed? Probably.
When I started bawling on my flight, I started to think of traveling with a significant other or thoughts of isolation. Wow, thanks brain, this is the perfect time to delve into my psyche. According to psychologists, crying makes us feel better. In cases of stress, negative emotions, or in situations you have no control over (i.e. flying), its possible that maybe psychologically your brain is dumping it all out before arriving to your destination.
I went on social media to ask others if they have also experienced this. One of my friends said “Yes, on a brutal hangover flight” while others silently cried due to leaving friends/family behind. But one of the most common reasons for crying on a flight was association with anxiety and panic attacks. So don’t be surprised the next time you see someone crying on a flight or even at the departure gate. You might even start tearing up, too. It’s more common than you think.