Altitude Adjusted Lachrymosity Syndrome. The alleged phenomenon of the tendency to cry when watching films on planes. This has been speculated to not be related to the amount of free alcoholic beverages consumed whilst flying but due to the recycled cabin atmosphere.
A more colloquial term used by Simon is Solid Gone.
The first instance of the phenomenon being referenced on the podcast was by David Cronenberg in an interviewed about his film Eastern Promises. The Canadian director said he had noticed that films which one may otherwise be cool towards become "more emotional and strange" and "weirdly more intense" when viewed on an Airplane and that he had found himself weeping at movies he would otherwise have had great disdain.
If you are a medical professional and vulnerable to AALS it is advisable to stick to the light entertainment sections of the video on demand service available on a flight, in case you are called into action due to a medical emergency. Flight attendants are less likely to require the assistance of a person who is showing signs of recently, or indeed who is still, blubbing uncontrollably.
Films of the following oeuvres have been shown to induce this condition:
Matthew McConaughey - the poster leaning years. Reece Witherspoon - post blonde legality years. Kate Hudson - the Kate Hudson years.
It has been pointed out that for a diagnosis of AALS to be reached, the film in question must be one in which tears would not be merited. A recent Cathy Pacific article in their inflight magazine suggested films where crying would be expected, thus misunderstanding the condition. So, for example, if Hologram for a King, The Big Lebowski or Hidden Figures makes you sob while you are airborne, you can be sure that you are indeed suffering from AALS.
Cathay Pacific AALS.jpg
There is an alternative sister-condition also called AALS, but where the L stands for Laughter. Due to the heightening of emotions during a flight AALS (Laughter) is almost also common as AALS (Lachrymosity). Due to this the The Six Laugh Test may have to adjusted upwards during air travel. A definitive study of this is yet to take place.
Inspired by the teachings of the Church, two actual scientists with actual qualifications tried to see if AALS was real in a survey of over 1,000 passengers who had flown and watched a movie in the past year. By asking participants which film they had seen on a plane and following up with questions about the film's quality, as well as any alleged triggers of AALS such as alcohol, a guilty pleasure, or experiencing a sad event recently, the authors discovered that in fact there may be no such thing as AALS. Their data showed that when people are on a plane they choose different films than they do on the ground, choosing more dramas and animated family films than action films or thrillers. Given that people are more likely to cry at dramas (42.5% chance of crying per film watched) or animated/family films (28.9%) than comedies or action films (14%) and that people watch an average of six films on a long-haul return flight, it may simply be a case of dramatically heightened exposure to films, combined with a bias towards tear-inducing guilty pleasures, and a touch of confirmation bias. Female gender, watching a guilty pleasure, experiencing a recent emotional life event, and watching a high quality (rated 10/10 film) were all significant predictors. By contrast, alcohol, medical conditions, income, feeling tired/jetlagged, or age were all non-significant. This study is thought to be the first in the scientific literature to feature a "hello to Jason_Isaacs".
Wicks P & Lancashire L. No tears in heaven: did the media create the pseudo-phenomenon “altitude-adjusted lachrymosity syndrome (AALS)”?https://peerj.com/articles/4569/