Of course, airlines want you to think that travel by air is perfectly safe. And, for the most part it definitely is! However, accidents can and do happen. What’s even crazier is that there are some things about airplanes and airlines that are specifically designed for such emergencies. Even crazier, there are more than a few safety protocols that might leave you scratching your head.
We’re going to warn you. If you already have an innate fear of flying, then don’t read on. The 15 facts that airlines definitely don’t want you to know will only make your fear of flying worse. But, if you’ve got the stomach for it, then let us introduce you to some fun facts you can share with your fellow passengers the next time you’re on a long haul somewhere.
1. Sleeping on the Job
Autopilot is an incredible thing these days, and it means that pilots can take a bit of a snooze while the plane is in flight. (Don’t worry, one or the other is always awake… We hope.)
2. Pilots Get Special Food
You know what would suck? Two pilots getting sick off the airplane food on a long flight. Airlines know this, which is why they don’t eat the same food as passengers. (What does that tell you?)
3. Gross Water
Really thirsty and can’t get the attendant to give you a bottle of water? Don’t head for the tap, because the water coming out of it is loaded with bacteria.
4. You Can Open a Locked Restroom
It makes sense that you should be able to open a locked restroom on an airplane, but you wouldn’t believe how easy it is.
5. Need to Know Bomb Threats
Let’s say that someone called in a bomb threat to the plane you’re on. Guess what? The flight crew would never tell you about it…
6. Danger! Danger! High Voltage!
What if we told you that on average every plane is struck by lightning at least once every year. Would you find that alarming?
7. Tray Table Germs
Want to know what one of the most germ-ridden things is on any airplane? Why it’s that tray table sitting right in front of you, of course!
8. Your PFD Might Be MIA
Would you believe that sometimes people steal the PFDs off of airplanes? While they’re almost always replaced, sometimes…
9. Missing Screws Are Allowed
You’d think that every screw needs to be in place on a commercial airplane. Not so! In fact, it’s permissible for one in every 10 to be missing.
10. Dim Lights Have an Ulterior Motive
Many think the lights get dim when the sun goes down to facilitate sleep or watching the in-flight movie. Nope! It’s to make sure your eyes will be adjusted to darkness if everyone suddenly has to bail out after an emergency landing.
11. Sleepy Air Traffic Controllers
Air traffic controllers can often be overworked, leading to some falling asleep on the job. As you might imagine, this can be a bad thing.
12. Big Handles with a Purpose
Those big handles on airplane doors aren’t to make them easier to open; they’re for flight attendants to steady themselves as panicking passengers stampede past them in an emergency situation.
13. The Oxygen Doesn’t Last Forever
If those oxygen masks ever pop out from overhead, then know this… The flow generally only lasts for 10 minutes, which should long enough… Should be…
14. Don’t Use the Pillows
You’d best be bringing your own pillow if you’re in for a long flight, because the ones the airline will provide probably haven’t been cleaned recently.
15. Commuter Airlines Are Where the Danger Lies
Hey, by and large, airplane safety is much greater than virtually any other form of transportation. However, the same can’t be said for commuter airlines, where the incident rate is 10 times higher than for ordinary commercial flights.