Though I wanted very badly to believe that flatulence might have aerodynamic benefits—does it generate lift?—the real issue is that you shouldn't not pass gas: high altitudes increase the gas content in the digestive system (potentially resulting in discomfort and bloating), so disregard the risk of embarrassment and go for it.
Nowadays everything is cancer this, cancer that, so why don't we divert all our NSF funding to the burgeoning research field of "in-flight flatulence?" Then again, such choice quotes as this one would sound 90% less improbably charming and sophisticated if spoken by an American:
"On the one hand, if the pilot restrains a fart, all the drawbacks previously mentioned, including impaired concentration, may affect his abilities to control the plane," they said. "On the other hand, if he lets go of the fart, his co-pilot may be affected by its odour, which again reduces safety onboard the flight."
I have many questions, not least of which is what is being served for dinner on this hypothetical flight.
The authors also recommend that seat cushions should contain charcoal, which can neutralize unpleasant smells—adding that it could be included in "trousers" as well. But then, according to the New York Daily News, their argument takes a slightly sinister turn:
The scientists also brought up the approach of restricting airplane access from flatus-prone individuals but acknowledged it was politically incorrect and less practical.
The TSA's No-Fly List just got a lot longer.