Monday, December 5, 2011

It matters where you sit (part 2)

Into the distance, a ribbon of black
Stretched to the point of no turning back
A flight of fancy on a windswept field
Standing alone my senses reeled
Fatal attraction is holding me fast,
How can I escape this irresistible grasp?

Back in October, I said it matters where you sit on a plane with respect to noise (see here).

Bombardier makes a regional jet, the CRJ700, with twin engines at the rear. So, more precisely, it matters where you sit in relation to the engines.

If you're someone who can sleep on a flight, it probably doesn't matter.

However, I was desperately jetlagged on the way back from Qatar (a brutal 10 hour timezone difference), tired but wired, utterly unable to sleep, and even listening to that mellow Pink Floyd album A Momentary Lapse of Reason (from which those lyrics above are drawn) couldn't help me, I took the opportunity to pace the narrow aisle with Etymotics' free iPhone App, which has a sound pressure meter. I took samples every two seats (which must have drawn strange glances from my fellow passengers) and in the only toilet at the back. Here are the results:

There is a large 20dB difference in sound pressure level depending on where you sit. The noise right at the back is seriously deafening, plus I notice the last row of seats are right up against the wall and do not recline. Do not take row 17.

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