I am aware that this question is on the border of travel and aviation but nobody on the travel side of the fence seems to be able to answer it. Apologies if it is regarded as off-topic for this site.

The question and answers on Are cargo holds pressurised these days? provide some good info on pressure and temperature management in airliner cargo holds but none on noise management.

As part of the process of emigrating my wife and I will be taking our cats with us on an 11 hour flight. I have travelled the route regularly on both A380 and Boeing 747 services. My experience is that the passenger cabin of the A380 is significantly quieter.

Will the experience for the animals in the hold be similarly quieter, or is noise in the passenger cabin separately and specifically managed?

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    $\begingroup$ It depends on the lengthwise location, not just on the cabin vs. cargo hold. At the tip of the fuselage most noise is coming from the air flowing around the fuselage, while engine noise will dominate in the rear part. $\endgroup$ Dec 7, 2014 at 9:50
  • $\begingroup$ Is one of those types of noise easier to insulate against? Or would this affect the type of noise not the intensity? $\endgroup$
    – Bell
    Dec 11, 2014 at 17:34
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    $\begingroup$ Engine noise has a dominant frequency (easier to insulate) from the rotation speed of the parts inside, but they change with throttle setting (not easier anymore). I would expect it is quieter ahead of the wing, but I do not know how much difference the insulation actually makes. But I expect the cargo hold to be a lot noisier (Business class passenger pay more and complain more if they feel mistreated). $\endgroup$ Dec 11, 2014 at 21:24

1 Answer 1


The cargo hold will probably be quieter if the cabin is quieter, but there are multiple variables that can affect this. As Peter Kämpf commented, the noise source will depend on the position in the airplane. The two main sources of noise are the air moving past the airplane, and the engines. The two main noise concerns of manufacturers and operators are cabin noise and community noise.

Reducing the noise at the source is one option. Engines are the main sources of noise and receive special treatment to reduce noise as much as possible. This can reduce cabin noise and/or community noise, and should help both the passenger and cargo decks. Newer aircraft like the A380 will tend to have quieter engine installations than older aircraft like the 747-400.

In the case of the cabin, noise can also be controlled with insulation. Insulation in the cabin will help with both noise and temperature control. Both are less important in the cargo hold, but do have some importance since it is only separated from the passenger area by the floor. Cargo hold insulation will provide protection for structure from fire or accidental damage, and some degree of temperature protection. So it is possible that the cabin receives added protection from these features that the cargo area does not benefit from.

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    $\begingroup$ A third source of noise is that 10-month-old baby in 27E $\endgroup$
    – rbp
    Dec 18, 2014 at 23:18
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    $\begingroup$ @rbp Unfortunately the FAA doesn't really regulate that noise source. $\endgroup$
    – fooot
    Dec 18, 2014 at 23:45

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