Will An Inflatable Ball Pop On An Airplane?

This post may contain affiliate links. If you click one, I may earn a commission at no cost to you. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.

Are you thinking of bringing an inflatable ball on an airplane? Maybe you want to keep your child occupied during the flight, or you are planning to play with it when you reach your destination. The big question here is, will it pop during a flight?

There is a high chance that an inflatable ball will pop on an airplane. The chances are even higher if the ball is overly inflated or made with low-quality material.

It is for this reason that many airlines require passengers to deflate their inflatables before boarding a plane.

Why Would an Inflatable Ball Pop on An Airplane?

An inflatable ball will pop on an airplane due to the difference in the air pressure of the ball when it was inflated and sealed at sea level and the pressure within the plane during flight. Also known as atmospheric pressure, air pressure reduces with an increase in altitude.

This is to say that atmospheric pressure is greatest at sea level and reduces greatly at the altitude where an airplane reaches its cruising limit, which is about 33,000 feet above sea level.

Therefore, as the plane acquires a higher altitude, the air pressure inside the ball exceeds the air pressure inside the plane cabin. In response, the air trapped inside the ball will expand and try to escape, pushing against the outside of the ball.

As the pressure difference increases inside the ball and in the airplane cabin, the closer the ball comes to popping. Eventually, the difference brings the ball to a breaking point, causing it to pop.

The same phenomenon applies to when you bring a water bottle on the plane. When you fill the bottle with water and seal it at sea level, the pressure inside the bottle is at its highest.

  • However, with an increase in altitude, there is a decrease in atmospheric pressure. This causes pressure difference between inside the bottle and outside it. At some point during the flight, the bottle may start expanding and maybe even explode.

Although inflatables are designed to withstand the pressure of the air inside them, they can only hold on for too long. Usually, inflatables made with low-quality materials succumb faster to pressure difference than those made with high-quality materials.

Do Airlines Allow Inflated Balls on Aircraft?

Most airlines do not permit passengers to bring inflated items online. This is because, as we have seen, these items may pop because of the pressure difference between the inflatable item and the atmospheric pressure as per the altitude of the plane.

Therefore, if you need to bring an inflatable ball onboard, you will have to deflate it and take it in your carry-on luggage.

This way, no one will get injured from a ball popping, and no one will panic from the pop sound that comes with the ball bursting. The last thing you want as a flight passenger is to get startled by an explosive sound.

The Transport security administration (TSA), which overlooks the safety of air travel, requires all passengers to let out the air from their inflatable items before checking in for their flight.

Therefore, you should remember to bring a pump to inflate your ball again when you reach your destination.

How Can You Prevent an Inflatable Ball from Popping On An Airplane?

The simplest way to prevent a popping incident is to deflate the ball before your flight. However, if you really want to have the ball on the plane, and suppose the airline you are using allows it, then there are things you would need to consider.

First, you need to understand how atmospheric pressure changes with an increase in altitude. This way, you will know that it would be best to inflate the ball when the plane is already in flight.

This is because at that altitude, the pressure difference between the ball and the plane cabin will be small, and the probability of the ball popping will decrease exponentially.

Also, you will want to ensure that the ball’s material is strong and sturdy enough to withstand the pressure of the air pressing against it. Normally, if the material is of good quality, the chances of the ball popping during flight reduce by a lot.

Final Thoughts

An inflatable ball is likely to pop on an airplane because of the difference in air pressure between the ball and the air pressure in the cabin. See, atmospheric pressure decreases with an increase in altitude.

Since you pumped and sealed the ball at sea level, the air pressure in the ball is greater than the surrounding air pressure, causing the air inside the ball to press against its walls until the ball pops.

Most airlines do not let passengers check in with inflated balls or other inflatables, for that matter.

Therefore, it is advisable to deflate your inflatable and put it in your carry-on luggage before boarding a plane. You can always inflate it when you reach your destination, so ensure that you bring the pump with you.

Related Posts: