You've Probably Heard of the Mile High Club - But What About the 'Mile Cry Club'?

You’ve Probably Heard of the Mile High Club – But What About the ‘Mile Cry Club’?

Do you find yourself extra emotional or weeping more than you normally would during a flight? Even Chrissy Teigen admits to it - this might explain why.

A few weeks ago, I was on a plane ride to New York and found myself bawling over a scene in Before Midnight.

I’d watched the movie before – twice, in fact – and although moved by Ethan Hawke’s and Julie Delpy Celine’s profound scenes each time, I’ve never cried. It could be the wine I had drunk, just hormones, or a classic case of long-haul flight delirium I’d figured, and thought nothing of it.

But it turns out, I wasn’t alone in my mid-flight burst of emotion.

What Exactly is the ‘Mile Cry Club’?

Psychologists have been studying a phenomenon of heightened emotions people experience on flights which has now been dubbed as the “Mile Cry Club” – a moniker inspired by the “Mile High Club”, a somewhat different phenomenon that also sometimes happens on planes too.

According to a study by the Virgin Atlantic, 44% of male passengers have confessed to “bury(ing) themselves beneath a blanket” in order to hide their tear-streaked cheeks during a flight. Female passengers also reported to pretend they had “something in their eye”.

Even cookbook author and mode Chrissy Teigen once asked on Twitter if there was a logical reason why she cries more when watching movies on a plane. (Ah, celebrities – they’re just like one of us.) This led to an overwhelming flurry of tweets from other users who felt the same.

Also read: TripZilla Confessions: 13 Times Travel Makes You Cry

Why You Always Cryin’?

Jodi De Luca, a US-based clinical psychologist, attempts to explain the heightened emotions passengers admit to feeling while on a flight. She reasons that passengers might feel a sense of anxiety of something terrible happening on planes, triggering the brain to produce a stress hormone which can result in an increased heart rate and quicker breathing.

“We are cognitively, psychologically, emotionally [compromised], and now we’re physiologically compromised. The set-up is perfect for emotional vulnerability.”

She adds that it’s also likely a combination of variables at work: from the flight fatigue, reduced blood oxygen levels, higher altitude, dehydration from the dry air.

Also read: Dear Female Travellers, You Don’t Need to Be Polite All the Time

Here’s How to Beat the Tears

“Do things to make that environment, as much as you possibly can, comfortable.” De Luca suggests that passengers who find themselves in heightened emotions during plane rides can consider healthy coping strategies in advance and pack things that they know could calm them. This could be anything from a cosy blanket to a calming roll-on gel.

Although clinical research into this weepy flight phenomenon is still largely anecdotal, the sizable number of people who admit to it clearly signals that there is something about the higher altitudes or being on a plane that triggers those tear ducts.

So the next time you’re onboard a flight (long-haul or not) and planning to bust out that tearjerker flick on your in-flight entertainment, have these tips handy! Unless you’re completely comfortable with a mid-flight cry session, of course.

About Author

Sarah Khan
Sarah Khan

Loves travel, food and her (mildly obese) flat-faced exotic shorthair Khan Solo.