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It really depends at what latitude the flight is operating. The lowest layer of the atmosphere, the troposphere, extends up to an altitude of about 23,000 feet (7km) at the poles, and an altitude of about 60,000 feet (17km) at the equator. Therefore, at the poles the aircraft would be flying above the troposhere, in the stratosphere. At the equator, though, the airplane would still be in the troposphere. As you go north or south from the equator, the maximum height of the troposhere (known as the tropopause) generally decreases from 17km to 7km. However, there are notable 'step' changes in the height of the tropopause, where there is a large change in temperature. This causes the high speed winds known as jetstreams, which aeroplanes use to improve journey times. At any location, the height of the tropopause (i.e. depth of the troposphere) is a function of temperature and air pressure/density. As it is warmer and pressure is lower at the equator, the tropopause is higher here than at the poles.

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Q: Passenger airplanes cruise at an altitude of 11 000m on long flights. In which layer of the atmosphere do these airplanes cruise?
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