Flying is truly a magical experience. Sure, when you’ve done it a few times, you may not be as excited to see that seatbelt sign go on again but when you think about the engineering it takes to lift hundreds of people from the ground, into the air, and then safely back down again in a totally different destination, you realize how truly magical the ordeal really is.

However fascinating the experience may be, there is also a great degree of risk involved and no one knows that better than our dear pilots and co-pilots. They are the men and women who are in charge of helping us all to arrive at our destinations safely. They have their lives, our lives, and the lives of the rest of the cabin crew resting on their shoulders. That’s a lot for anyone to bear.

So, besides being responsible for helping us to reach our destinations, they are also responsible for keeping a few airline secrets to themselves. Oh yes, ladies and gentlemen – there is a lot that we were kept in the dark about…until now. Scroll down below as we take you through some of the best-kept secrets by co-pilots and also the stuff they are openly sharing with the rest of us.

25 Only They Know: Planes Often Get Struck By Lightning

Sorry to share this bit of information with you, especially for the readers out there who are a little afraid of flying but it’s true, lightning often strikes airplanes. While flying through a storm, you may think that the lightning struck near the plane but in reality, chances are, it hit the plane directly. There’s not much to worry about though since the ordeal will not harm you. Live Science explains that “airplanes get struck by lightning frequently. Fortunately, they’re built to handle it.”

24 They Are Willing To Share: Planes Are Dirty

Oh yes. This one on our list is especially for all the germophobes out there. We’ve all read and heard about some of the dirtiest public spaces people frequent and sadly, planes are one of them. The reason is that the cleaning crew really doesn’t have sufficient time to do a proper clean between flights. This is why many people will advise passengers to carry their own wipes and hand sanitizers that they can use while flying because no one wants to catch anything while traveling.

23 Only They Know: Hard Landings Are Sometimes Done On Purpose

This can be surprising and a little baffling but it turns out that a hard landing is not always such a bad thing. Factors such a runway being short or wet, affect how the pilot decides to land. For instance, if the runway is short, a firmer landing is best, followed by a hard braking. When the runway is slippery or wet because of the weather, a harder touchdown is also required as this will help them be able to decelerate properly.

22 They Are Willing To Share: Morning Flights Are Best

Weather forecast can sometimes be an unpredictable thing. Sure, we have meteorologists who help us as they study the weather and climate. But their findings are never 100%. We’ve all been there – on our way to the beach because the forecast promised a hot and sunny day, but then the clouds start forming and you get confused and frustrated because this is not what you had expected.

Although one can never really be sure about the weather, pilots want us to know that morning flights are generally much smoother. This is because there are fewer storms and lighter winds at this time, which will then result in less turbulence.

21 Only They Know: Turbulence Is Not A Big Deal

So, this one on our list may come as a surprise to many who are reading this, especially people who hate flying. Turbulence is one of the unpleasant things about flying and while it may not feel so great to be stuck in the air while you’re experiencing turbulence, this is the least of the pilot’s worries.

Pilots are more concerned about what is referred to as “updraft”, which is basically like hitting a huge speed bump while speeding. What’s even more frustrating to the crew is that it can’t be detected on their radar while flying at night.

20 They Are Willing To Share: We Should Try To Buy Directly From Airlines

If you’re a frequent flyer, you will want to highlight this point on our list. It’s of course, a great thing that we’re now afforded many different options about where, when and how we can purchase our plane tickets but buying them directly from the airline is the best option for passengers.

Live and Lets Fly indicates that “booking directly with the airline gives you more leverage during irregular operations such as delays or cancellations. Even dealing with schedule changes may be greatly impacted by whether you bought your ticket directly or through a third party.”

19 Only They Know: Weather Delays Are Not About The Destination City

Okay, so we live in the digital age and when we’re traveling, most of us tend to check not only the weather of the city we’re currently in but also the weather of the city we’ll be traveling to. We then get frustrated if the flight is delayed because of the weather when we don’t see anything wrong in the weather forecast.

What we don’t know is that it really doesn’t matter much what the weather is like in the destination city or where we’re traveling from – the airspace between the two can sometimes be the determining factor.

18 They Are Willing To Share: Using Your Phone Won't Make Them Crash

This is one of the best news to be revealed to passengers over the past few years. For many years, there have been ongoing debates and studies about this myth. This has led a lot of airlines to have a strict policy when it comes to cell phone usage on flights. TheTalko reveals that although your phone won’t necessarily crash the plane, pilots would still prefer you to keep it off. “Pilots do report that too many signals can muddy up their communication systems. There’s also the preventative measure in the case of a crash or sudden, intense turbulence.”

17 Only They Know: They Can Unlock The Bathroom Door

Oh yes, this one has to be one of the best kept secrets by the airline staff…well, at least until now. So, it turns out that the bathroom door on an airplane is actually not as secure as it appears to be. This may come as a surprise to many people since the door actually slams violently and you could swear that no one would be able to get in while you’re there. It has now been revealed that there’s actually a secret latch that can be used to open the door while you’re still inside. Relax though, no one will be barging in while you’re doing your business. This is just for emergency situations.

16 They Are Willing To Share: Stick To Cans or Bottles

One of the things that people look forward to while flying is enjoying the snacks and beverages on the flight. If you’re having an early morning flight, you might forego stopping at a café because you know that you can have yourself a delicious cup of latte while up in the air.

While we certainly want you to enjoy yourself, we also want you to be precautious about what you take in while flying. There have been reports that the water used to make coffee or tea isn’t always the cleanest. Sticking to bottled water or beverages from cans are your best options.

15 Only They Know: They Greet Each Other By Flashing Lights

Okay, this item on the list is probably the coolest one. It’s like an “inside thing” that only the co-pilots know and the rest of us civilians are oblivious too. But now that you’re reading this article, the next time you see it, you’ll know exactly what’s going on. It turns out, pilots actually tend to flash their lights at each other to greet other planes that may be not so far off their radar. It’s like their way of saying “hello”.

14 They Are Willing To Share: Pilots And Co-Pilots Are Equals

You may think that the pilot is the main person in the cockpit…that the co-pilot is basically like an assistant but this is terribly wrong. Pilots and co-pilots are actually of equal rankings. No one is superior to their other. The only difference is that there can only be one person in charge of a single flight at a time. This means that one might be a pilot on an inbound flight and then the next day, become a co-pilot when flying out again.

13 Only They Know: They Are Not Crazy About Babies On Laps

Most airlines allow parents to carry their babies, who are under 2 years old, on their laps while flying. There are many reasons why this is allowed including; the fact that they can easily fit on a lap and this makes it financially possible for families to travel more. If pilots had it their way, this wouldn’t be allowed. This is because if there’s a sudden impact, deceleration, or unexpected turbulence, the parent carrying the child can lose control of the child.

12 They Are Willing To Share: They Enjoy Free Flights

Without a doubt, this is one of the best perks about being a pilot. Airline employees are able to fly for free and all they need to take care of are the taxes. Some airlines even allow them discounted rates for friends and family members so that when they are on that much-needed break, they are able to afford to get away with their loved ones. Considering how much they help us to reach our destinations, we’re definitely not mad about this one on our list.

11 Only They Know: Some Planes Are Really Old

So, planes are expensive machinery. That much we can all agree on. Because of this, airlines cannot afford to change them often – like one would change their car, for instance. Luckily for us though, planes are built to last. They also regularly get checks from technicians to make sure that all is well with them. The reason why many of the flights we fly on may not look old is mostly that of a little thing called a fresh coat of paint.

10 They Are Willing To Share: They Are Not Always Flying The Plane

This is certainly one of the most bizarre things for us to know but it’s true, our pilots aren’t necessarily always seated by the controls with their eyes firmly on the windshield. While a driver of a car can never even think of doing this, airplanes have a little something special called “autopilot”. Thanks to modern technology, once the flight has taken off and reached its required altitude, pilots can then switch to autopilot mode and relax a bit in that cockpit.

9 Only They Know: Autopilot Can't Replace Them

Okay, so the previous point on the list praised modern technology for the amazing invention of autopilot but one thing people don’t realize is that pilots are still in charge. At the end of the day, the controls are told what to do by the pilots. With regards to taking off and also the landing, that’s also solely on the pilots’ shoulders. Sure, the advancement of engineering has certainly helped the whole process but without a doubt, we still need our pilots.

8 They Are Willing To Share: Middle Seats Are Steadier

You’ve probably already heard or read about this one before and if you didn’t, you’re welcomed. Patrick Smith, pilot and author of Cockpit Confidential, revealed in his book that the worst seats are at the back of the airplane. This is because, in an airplane, air tends to travel from the front of the plane to the back, making the back not the most pleasant place to be if the plane hits some turbulence. The middle of the plane, however, is pretty much like being in the middle of a seesaw.

7 Only They Know: Their Food Intake Is A Little Complicated

Did you know that pilots don’t eat the same food we eat on a plane? Before you think that it’s because they have their own private chefs, that is so not the case. The reason they don’t consume the same food as the passengers is for precautionary methods – if the airline’s food was contaminated and the pilots ate it, we’d all be in trouble.

Eating raw fish and shellfish is also something they are discouraged from eating as a further precautionary method.

6 They Are Willing To Share: Pilots Love To Be Complimented

So, in the beginning, we highlighted how magical it really is to fly. It turns out, one of the most complicated things for pilots is actually not so much the flying of the plane but the landing. It’s not a small task to land a plane smoothly and it takes a whole lot of skill and practice to get is just right. For this reason, when a pilot finally has gotten the hang of it, they appreciate it when they are complimented on their smooth landing.