Every company has its secrets. And within the company the employees must follow suit –they also must keep a tight lock on the treasure trove of hidden facts. But not anymore. In today’s society secrets don’t last long. Some of these facts have been leaked and people now know more about airline companies and their dirty little secrets than ever before. Flight attendants have spoken up about some of the atrocities they have witnessed and some tricks to the trade. While many of these secrets are now common knowledge as the public and social media have been spreading the word about airline practices, some of these might surprise you. Read below to learn about the mysterious world of flight attendants and airlines. Heed warnings, take advice, but whatever you do don’t panic –flying is still the safest form of transportation available.
Water is the source of life and nothing gives more life 35,000 feet in the air than water. Naturally, we become dehydrated at such altitudes and the best way to battle dehydration is some good old fashioned water. Now, this does not mean any water, of course. We must also protect ourselves. This means only bottled water. Do not drink the water from any other source. And never, ever, ever, ever drink water from the bathroom. While that water is semi-safe for washing –it is still considered very dirty and should not be drank, period. So keep the cups of water coming, fill up a personal thermos, and give your body life –but also be aware that not all water is created equally. See below for some information about the hot water used to make beverages. You will never think about airplane tea and coffee the same way again.
14 Dimmed Lights
Your night flight is ideal because the cabin darkens which means you can try and get some shut eye on your journey. And while you might think that your flight attendants dim the cabin because they extremely considerate and want you to sleep better, you would be wrong. This is partially true, the dimmed lights do relax people and put their minds at ease. However, there is another reason that might shock you. If the lights remained lit during an emergency, your eyes would have a very difficult time adjusting to the darkness outside of the plane. This means during an emergency, things could go very wrong which would be dangerous for you and other customers. To keep your eyes adjusted, the attendants dim the lights to prepare you for anything that could happen. For safety purposes and to save lives, flight attendants dim the lights to prepare you for any unfortunate event that might take place during your overnight or red-eye flight.
13 Bathrooms Unlocked
The bathrooms have a lock, yes, you’re right. You are not imagining them. And those locks are vital for handling your private business –whatever that means to you. But those bathroom locks are not exactly real. Yes, you can lock the door. Yes, you have privacy. However, the bathroom door can be unlocked from the outside. You should not be alarmed –on the contrary. This is part of company policy. Flight attendants must have access to the bathroom in the case of an emergency. In the event that something happens to a customer while inside, flight attendants must have a way to enter in order to manage the situation better. It also exists to prevent those who might decide to join the mile-high club or engage in illegal activities prohibited by the flight crew.
Flight attendants rarely if ever receive tips despite the fact that they work in a service industry. It’s as though they are waiting tables for free. And not just a few tables, but an entire restaurant full of families, fighting couples, and screaming babies. Imagine working day in and day out, on your feet, in a uniform, and not receive gratitude. In the event you decide to give a tip to a flight attendant, you will probably be given special service. Actually, more than likely you will be treated like royalty. This could come in the form of extra snacks or unsolicited refills on your beverage of choice. This could also come in the form of a special meal and smiles rather than snarls. A few bucks will go a long way when it comes to making your journey a little more comfortable and enjoyable. Tip away.
11 Pilots on Pilot
Pilots do spend many years studying, this is true. The years spent studying, training, and practicing pay off once a pilot lands a job with a commercial airline. It’s no secret that flying is a specialized skill that requires degrees and certificates. However, what you might be surprised to learn is that during any given flight pilots sleep –yes, that’s right, pilots sleep while the plane continues to fly itself. Pilots have co-pilots that assist in the journey, but the major supporter is the auto-pilot. This is used by all pilots today and is quite normal. Auto-pilot allows them to sleep or relax during really long trips that require rest. And the way planes are designed, the constant need to navigate manually isn’t necessary. So while you’re sleeping, your pilot is probably sleeping right along with you. Sleep tight, dear one.
10 Diet Coke
Altitude affects all kinds of things. From the body –the way you puff up and swell like a balloon and have a hard time zipping up your jeans at the end of your trip. To the pressure inside your head –the way your ears pop and the tunnel-effect sounds. The cabin pressure can cause heart palpitations and even headaches. Even the way the food is cooked and the flavors are affected by the high altitude. The body processes alcohol differently, too –you are more susceptible to the effects of alcohol when you’re sky high. Diet Coke is just another example of something that is altered by the cabin pressure. It takes twice as long to pour diet drinks due to the bubbles –the extra carbonation and the artificial sweeteners play a role in how long it takes for the bubbles to fizzle down. That additional time can delay the beverage service which means either grumpy attendants and a longer wait for you to get your drink.
Oh, the tray, the glorious tray that holds that tiny airplane meals that are just enough to get you through the flight. But flight attendants have seen the trays used for all sorts of things –from changing diapers to being used as a sleeping tray to being vomited upon and used to collect nail clippings. Flight attendants admit that the trays are rarely, if ever, cleaned or sterilized. You might think it’s part of their duties as airline employees, however, the airline companies do not demand tray cleaning as part of the protocol for between flight preparation. Flight attendants strongly suggest that customers clean the trays themselves with antibacterial gel or wet wipes. There are travel size packets of both items that you can quickly grab at any pharmacy or within the airport itself. You should never eat directly from the tray or place your clean skin against it. To avoid spreading sickness and disease, you must sanitize your tray yourself.
8 Pillows & Blankets
On long flights, overnight flights, or red-eye flights –customers want a pillow and a blanket. In all that is uncomfortable on a flight, from the minimized spaces to the close quarters with strangers –a pillow and a blanket are tiny pieces of refuge among the chaos. And often times with the temperatures, that blanket can be something sent from the gods. But did you know that those pillows and blankets are not cleaned between flights? Sure, they’re in plastic wrap, indicating that they are fresh or new, but that’s not the case. Flight attendants place those pillows and blankets in plastic bags only to organize the cabin between flights. Do not think that the pillow and blanket coming out of the plastic bag is hygienic because they are not, nope sorry. Best to bring your own, just to be safe.
The on-flight film is one of the highlights of the trip. It’s a moment to escape some of the nightmarish situations that might be happening around you, it’s a moment to enjoy yourself, it’s a moment to distract yourself from tensions and anxieties. But you might want to reconsider accepting the headphones that are distributed freely by flight attendants. While they are free and convenient, these headphones are very much like the pillows and blankets –they are wrapped in plastic, but they are not unused, they have only been placed in plastic between flights. For those who suffer from ear infections, it’s best to not accept these headphones. Or for anyone who fears contamination, it’s best to refuse those offered and instead bring a personal pair.
6 Hot Beverages
Just say no. Like no matter what hot beverages like tea and coffee should not be consumed ever. Even if you are freezing or sick, you should still refuse all coffee and tea. Flight attendants have admitted that the metal containers that house the hot water are not cleaned –ever. That means since the construction of the plane, the hot water carafe has not been washed or disinfected. Flight attendants have admitted to seeing build-up on the interior and green mossy-like growth. Even they don’t drink hot beverages made on the plane, like ever, never ever. So the next time a flight attendant asks you for coffee or tea, just politely smile and say no knowing that you have just turned down a hot glass of dirty water.
5 Check-In Politeness
The check-in staff can really make or break your trip. Being polite will pay off. You could find yourself moved up to first class, sitting in an emergency row that has more leg room, or placed in a low number row for quicker exiting. A few smiles and some please and thank yous are not only the right thing to do, but they can have benefits. If you are rude, beware. Any snappy attitudes or bad language will surely get you a seat that you definitely don’t want. It is very possible that you will get revenge in the form of sitting next to kids, a middle seat, or a seat in the last row –you know the row that doesn’t recline at all. Best to be nice because after all, it’s makes the world a better place.
4 Oxygen Bags
Flight attendants demonstrate the location and use of oxygen bags. And it is really important to know how to manage a situation that requires the use of an oxygen bag. The number one rule for oxygen bags is to put yours on first before you help someone else with theirs, but there’s something they don’t tell you about the oxygen masks. While they will definitely save lives or make an emergency situation easier to deal with, the amount of oxygen is not unlimited. Most oxygen masks have about twelve to twenty minutes of oxygen. No, it’s not a lot, but it’s enough to keep you calm during a high-stress situation. And it’s enough to keep you thinking about how to solve the problem you find yourself in –remember, place your mask on first otherwise you run the risk of fainting.
They call it food, but we know that it’s not exactly food. Nonetheless, we eat it and for the most part we’re happy to eat it. Flight attendants won’t tell you that the food they so pleasantly serve you will not be consumed by them. They bring their own food. They refuse to eat the stuff, period. But they will not ever admit this to you because it would be against company policy to not endorse the airline’s food. The food itself is full of sodium and preservatives –this is due to transportation time of the food and the plane’s altitude. It’s only made to look and taste like food, but in reality it’s only imitation. Therefore, it might be to your benefit to bring some small snacks that are easily portable like nuts or fruit, even an expensive sandwich from the airport’s food court would be better, even better a salad.
2 Pilot’s Food
Something else that is interesting about food on the plane is that pilots get their own special meals. These meals look much different than what the clients are served and can be considered to be of slightly better quality. They will be given meals that are quite different in terms of cuisine, however, the portions are still very small. The standard mouse portions still apply in this case. However, something that is really eye-opening is that pilots are not, under any circumstances, allowed to share food between them. In their contracts, pilots must sign a clause stating that they will not engage in food sharing as it is against company policy as it relates to possible poisoning. Therefore, if someone intends to poison the pilot, the co-pilot will be healthy enough to fly or vice versa. But why has no one discussed what would happen if someone poisons both meals?
The dreaded, yes the dreaded, moment when the flight attendants tell you to turn off your phone. Often times, customers refuse to listen to the request –talking until the very last second possible. Others pretend to be so enthralled in conversations that they didn’t hear the instructions. Even with the pilot’s command, customers have a hard time shutting down their phones. But whatever the excuse, the truth is customers hate turning off their gadgets even if it’s only for an hour or so. Flight attendants claim that the phones will interfere with the plane’s system which could lead to motor failure or malfunctions –but this is not true. The real reason the flight attendants and pilots ask you to turn off your phones is because hearing hundreds of people talking at once is distracting. And no one wants to distract a team of employees trying to maneuver a big machine. Pilots could loose concentration or miss an order from the control tower; flight attendants could struggle to convey simple messages to each other about in-flight activities. Therefore, it’s not so much any technology waves doing damage, but rather all the voice simultaneous chattering away making for a very unpleasant take-off.