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J R Soc Med. 2007 February; 100(2): 64.
PMCID: PMC1790988

Commercial aircraft cabin altitude

It was a pleasure to read the review in JRSM1 of an aviation medicine topic based on fact rather than emotional opinion. However, when considering the aircraft cabin environment it is incorrect to state that the cabin pressure is standardized to an equivalent of 8000 feet.

The regulations2,3 stipulate that the maximum cabin altitude should not exceed 8000 feet during normal operations, and, in fact, at usual cruising altitude the cabin altitude rarely exceeds 6000 or 7000 feet in a modern jet airliner.

Finally, the authors should have credited Boeing as well as Airbus with announcing a maximum design cabin altitude of 6000 feet, which they did for the new Boeing 787.


Competing interests Michael Bagshaw is Aeromedical Adviser to Airbus.


1. Shepherd B, Macpherson D, Edwards CMB. In-flight emergencies: playing The Good Samaritan. J R Soc Med 2006;99: 628-31 [PMC free article] [PubMed]
2. Civil Aviation Authority. CAP 393 Air Navigation: The Order and Regulations. London: Civil Aviation Authority, 2003
3. Federal Aviation Administration. FAR Code of US Federal Regulations. Parts 25, 121 and 125. Washington, DC: US Department of Transportation, 2004

Articles from Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine are provided here courtesy of Royal Society of Medicine Press