With summer in full swing, you might be planning on flying abroad. But before you book your flight, you should be aware of the many dark secrets that the aviation industry wouldn’t t want you finding out.
Here, thanks to the secret confessions of flight attendants and pilots from a recent Ask Reddit thread, we reveal 20 things you should bear in mind when next booking your flights.
1. Don’t drink tap water- ask for bottled instead
An ex- Lufthansa cargo agent revealed that the ports to remove toilet waste and to refill the aircraft with potable water are within touching distance of each other.
2. Headphones on planes are never new
We all appreciate in-flight entertainment on long-haul flights, but what you won’t like is the revelation from one person who previously worked at one of the warehouses that supply airlines with headphones. In fact, even the headphones that come wrapped aren’t new. Instead, they will have the headphones cleaned, then re-package them to pass them off as new.
3. The noise your pets experience on a flight can be deafening
While an aircraft fueler admitted that airlines would do their best to take care of passenger’s beloved animals, some things can’t be avoided. One such concern you should consider when next bringing your pet on holiday is the noise on the ramp. Workers in this area always wear ear protection, which probably gives you an idea of how hard it is for pet’s with sensitive hearing.
4. Most of the time, pilots are asleep
Alarmingly, around half of all pilots will sleep during the night. Of course, it is common on long-haul flights to have more than one or two pilots, and many will take it in shifts to steer the plane. However, 33% of the time, a pilot reported waking up from their break only to see their co-pilot asleep too! Cruise-control, you really are a life-saver…
5. When the crew tells you to turn off all electronic devices, what they really mean is ‘everyone turn off your devices apart from us’…
Nobody likes a hypocrite, but according to one Reddit user whose sister is a flight attendant, once the crew tells you to turn your devices off, a few minutes later, they’ll hide in the back and start texting their friends and family. The cheek of it!
6. How your luggage is treated by baggage handlers
There have been various stories over the years of people losing their luggage or having things stolen. Of course, trying to prove that baggage handlers took your belongings is never an easy task. What was confirmed by one Reddit user was the rough treatment your luggage receives. For instance, even if your bag has a ‘fragile’ sticker on the front, the label will often be ignored due to their want to get as much on board the plane as quickly as possible. However, those that emblazon their luggage with an ‘I love baggage carriers’ sticker would have their bags treated with more care.
7. Before landing, have you always wondered why the lights dim?
While the dimming of lights is a welcome and calming experience on night-flights, it’s real reason is rather frightening. In the case of a crash landing, the dimmed lights will allow passengers to acclimatise to the darkened surroundings outside should an evacuation be necessary.
8. The pilot and co-pilot must always have different meals
To avoid food poisoning, one Redditor, whose father works for a large airliner, revealed that the pilot and co-pilot are always given two separate meals to prevent both falling ill from possible food poisoning. But what if both meals are death-inducing? It’s plane food after all….
9. Human organs will often accompany you on your flight
It isn’t uncommon for cargo pits to contain human remains and organs. Spooky….
10. When lightning strikes
According to one Redditor, planes are commonly struck by lightning! But fear not. They have special insulation that safeguards damage to the electronics. Incidentally, once the aircraft is in the air, the pilot has a plethora of autonomous powers. They can arrest people, fine you, and even take the will of a dying passenger.
11. Avoid tea and coffee
Like what was stated earlier in regards to the tap water, the holding tanks on planes are usually old, and in close contact with lavatory waste. So to be on the safe side, avoid hot drinks.
12. Planes are often dirty….
Those plump cushions you see strewn neatly across the chairs are never new, neither are they washed. Worse? According to one Redditor, the trays used for meals aren’t washed either….
13. Don’t get caught with your pants down!
Unbeknown to many, there is a mechanism- usually behind the no smoking badge- which allows you to slide the bolt and unlock the door from the outside.
14. Experienced pilots don’t always control big airlines
Most major airlines don’t always hire respected and esteemed pilots. Instead, those who buy tickets from Delta, United, or American Airlines usually hire subcontractors. The pilots on these flights have a fraction of the experience mainline carrier pilots have but come at half the cost.
15. You’re allowed to tip your flight attendant
While few do it, it is not prohibited for passengers to give flight attendants tips. However, for those that do, they will greatly appreciate your kindness. They have even been known to let generous passengers drink for free.
16. No fuel? No problem
In the rare event that an aeroplane’s engine ran out of fuel, the plane could still glide for a long distance.
17. You can still smoke in the lavatory
Why smoking on-boar an aircraft has long been banned, ashtrays are mandatory in lavatories. The reason? Many airliners are weary that some smokers, due to panic or stress, might light up in the bathroom and dispose of their cigarette in the bin or toilet- which could cause a fire or crash. In fact, a 2009 British Airways flight to Mexico was grounded after the crew had realised an ashtray had not been fitted. As such, smokers will probably get away with smoking on-boar if they make use of the bathroom’s ashtray.
18. There is a way for air-traffic controllers to know if a stationary plane is being hijacked
If a plane is being hijacked before take-off, the pilot will keep the wing flaps up. This is a common signal used by pilots to indicate that there’s a problem.
19. Remove all batteries from your hand-luggage
One flight attendant told Reddit that any onboard devices packed into the luggage should always have their batteries turned off. The reason being is that if cabin crew feel or hear something vibrate, they will have to tell their supervisor for fear of it being an illicit device. Embarrassingly, the supervisor will guide you off the plane and have you open your bag.
20. There are an array of loopholes that, if known, could allow potential criminals to bypass security
If widely known, there are an array of loopholes and tricks that enable potential criminals to bypass security and get to within touching distance of airlines, runways, and taxiways.