By Dela Ahiawor
Former British Airways Captain, Tristan Loraine asserts that 11 million people fly across the globe everyday, oblivious to toxins (harmful substances) that lurk in aircraft cabin air.
In his most recent documentary feature”Everybody Flies,” Captain Tristan exposes the issue of contaminated air onboard aircrafts. And all its concomitant health risks, which includes cancer, infertility, neurological effects and complications to pregnancy (the unborn child). The former British Airways Captain fell victim to toxic cabin air and consequently lost his career due to ill health. Captain Tristan who doubles as Co-chair of the Global Cabin Air Quality Executive ( GCAQE), the leading global entity on the issue of contaminated air; recently intimated his apprehensions in an interview with this writer.
Q: In plain terms how dangerous is aircraft toxic fume event to air passengers, cabin crew and pilots?
[CAPTAIN TRISTAN] Passengers and crews are being exposed to heated oil and hydraulic fluids contaminating the breathing air supply. The industry has known this for decades. The cans of the products people are being exposed to clearly state: “Do not breathe mist or vapour from heated product.” “Risk of causing cancer”, “Risk of infertility”, “Risk of neurological effects” etc… ”
Aircraft provide UNFILTERED ‘bleed air’ from the engines to passengers and crews knowing it can be contaminated.
Why should anyone be exposed to this, especially the unborn?
Q: Are there any concrete steps toward a solution for contaminated air on commercial airplanes?
[CAPTAIN TRISTAN] Filtration and contaminated air warning systems are being designed by a number of companies and could be installed. DHL installed 10 years ago a filtration systems to filter the breathing air supply to the pilots..
Q: I once fell ill on a plane. Signs of illness included chills, nausea and tummy upset. Can this be attributed to contaminated air on flights?
[CAPTAIN TRISTAN] It’s hard to say without knowing what you ate or what other potential causes there may be, but passengers and crews have got sick from exposures. I lost my career due to ill health.
In his bid to prove how injurious cabin air is to our health, Captain Tristan has for the past 18 years devoted himself to gathering the necessary evidence and testimonies from air passengers and crew members who has suffered the same fate.
Captain Tristan, relates instances of fume events in the United States to support his claim. Especially, when the Federal Aviation Administration said there have been 204 fume events recorded in its “Service Difficulty Reports” (SDR) database since October.
SPIRIT AIRLINES – 2018
In 2018 several people onboard a Spirit Airlines flight were treated for headaches, nausea and difficulty breathing, although there was no hazardous material found on the plane. A woman (Mary Vincent Randall) is suing Spirit Airlines over a “noxious, burning odour” that caused a plane she was on to make an emergency landing on July 27th, 2018. She filed a lawsuit against Spirit Airlines in Manhattan Supreme Court over the smell, saying it caused her “serious and permanent injuries.” Randall was one of 220 people on board Spirit Airlines flight NK779 from LaGuardia Airport to Fort Lauderdale, Fla., on July 27, 2018. The flight was diverted to Myrtle Beach International Airport in South Carolina after people on board began to notice the smell. Randall’s lawsuit described the bad smell as a “fetid, noxious, burning odour” that “wafted through the aircraft cabin.”
UNITED EXPRESS – 2014
In 2014, while flying a plane full of passengers for a subsidiary of United Express flight, pilot Richard Papp said he became so overwhelmed with nausea and dizziness that he “couldn’t think straight” and could barely fly safely, after inhaling what he said were noxious fumes permeating the cockpit.
The documentary “Everybody Flies” exposes the contaminated air we all breathe on aircrafts
Through his latest documentary “Everybody Flies,”former Airline Captain Tristan Loraine uncovers the facts about the air we breathe on commercial aircraft. This eye-opening film has received its world premiere in September at the prestigious Raindance Film Festival.
In 2019 “Everybody Flies” discloses the never-before-seen documentation, scientific facts, and personal testimonies relating to the controversial issue of cabin air quality. With more than 18 years of research into the topic, Tristan Loraine addresses a question not many passengers ever consider: ‘Is the air we breathe on a plane safe?’
After a career as an Airline Captain for British Airways, Tristan Loraine re-trained as a Director / Producer at the National Film and Television School (NFTS) and established his award-winning production banner Fact Not Fiction Films in November 2006. Tristan’s years of research into the film ‘Everybody Flies’ surrounding the issue earned him a British Citizen Award for services to industry, which he was awarded in 2015 at the House of Lords (UK Parliament). He is also the spokesperson for the leading global organisation dealing with the issue of contaminated air: The Global Cabin Air Quality Executive (GCAQE).
Co-director Beth Moran (Missing a Note) also trained at the National Film and Television School (NFTS) in London. With a background mainly in documentaries, Beth has worked on a number of award-winning films internationally including Lucy: Breaking the Silence about mental health in young people, The Frontier: Ukraine about the pro-Russian unrest in Ukraine and Raindance-nominated short film Ellston Bay.