www.thetravel.com

15 Things Only Pilots Know (15 That Flight Attendants Keep Under Wraps)

The travel industry is full of people that make visiting the world possible, and it all starts with getting there! One of the biggest aspects of traveling is the mode of transportation, and for the most part, that usually involves taking a plane. Although flying to a destination may seem exciting, you soon learn that airports, lengthy plane rides and the cost of flying alone are not nearly as fun as you'd like. With that being said, flying is an operation that takes countless people to manage, from baggage handlers, customer service reps, runway workers and of course, the people we see the most, flight attendants and pilots.

Considering most of our time getting to where we're trying to go is spent on the plane, it's important we know just about everything we can on the people who are ensuring we get to our destination safe and sound. Although being a flight attendant or a pilot seems pretty straightforward, there is a lot more to the job than just flying a plane, or pouring drinks. Flight crew certainly know a lot more about what's going on than we do, which is probably for the best. With that being said, here are the 15 things only pilots know, and the 15 that flight attendants keep secret!

Continue scrolling to keep reading

Click the button below to start this article in quick view

Start Now

30 Engines Fail More Than You Think

Via Iron Maiden

Believe it or not, things can go wrong during a flight, however, pilots have their own way of making you think otherwise. According to Express UK, plane engines fail a lot more than we think, and although one faulty engine during a flight isn't too big of a deal, planes sometimes have issues with both! In this case, pilots will often head onto the speaker system and say something such as: "one of our engines is indicating an improper functionality", says the source, when they really mean that it is no longer functioning. This is definitely not something to worry about, considering planes can glide and land without an engine, and how skilled pilots are to deal with these types of situations.

29 Pilots & Co-Pilots Are Equals

Via The Independent

Each and every flight has both a pilot and a co-pilot, and although the titles may differ, and their roles are not entirely the same, they are held to the same standard and seen as completely equal during a flight. According to Travel + Leisure, a captain and their co-pilot are at par during a flight in regards to their importance of arriving at a destination safely. If anything were to go wrong, they are both trained equally in order to handle any unforeseen situation. In some cases, a co-pilot will take full control of the flight while the captain simply overseers everything, stepping in only when need be, says the source.

28 under wraps: There Are Secret Areas For Them

Via Business Insider

Flight attendants work endlessly, especially during long-haul flights! It goes without saying that being on your feet isn't always easy, so in this case, flight attendants have a secret cabin of their own, where they too can rest up and relax! According to Business Insider, most planes that operate long-haul flights have an area for flight attendants equipped with beds and lounge areas to allow them to sleep, rest, and relax! Although this isn't such a big secret, it is not something flight attendants share, however, if you realize things have quieted down, and you aren't seeing as many of the cabin crew, chances are they're resting or sleeping.

27 They Take Selfies During Flights

Via Everipedia

This happens a lot more than you'd think! Although pilots' main task is to fly a plane to and from a destination safely, they've got some other things to do as well. Believe it or not, pilots need to keep their social media feeds fresh and relevant too! According to BoredPanda, pilots do take photos in the cockpit while flying the plane. Although they are not permitted to do this at low altitudes, or during turbulence and severe weather conditions, taking a selfie or two is totally legal. This is why a lot of the time you will see some amazingly lit selfies on social media of pilots doing what they do best!

26 Turbulence Is Not A Safety Issue

Via Bravo TV

Turbulence can certainly be one rollercoaster ride you did not sign up for, however, it's important to know that some shakiness and sudden drops during your flight, are not something to be alarmed over. According to The Telegraph, pilots regard turbulence are more of a "comfort" than a safety issue. In any case, where a flight experiences even the most severe turbulence, it is no cause for panic, considering how turbulence cannot in any way break or cause any malfunction to the exterior of a plane. In rare instants, passengers can only get injured during turbulence if they have ignored the "fasten seatbelt" indication, claims the source. If you experience some turbulence during your flight, relax and remain calm, and always fasten that seatbelt.

25 They Nap On The Job

Via TheTravel

Whether you'd like to believe it or not, pilots do in fact take naps or full-on sleep during flights! According to Science Direct, pilots do take short naps while on the job and take short periods of sleep during long-haul flights that can last up to 15 or more hours. In this case, due to the grueling and long hours that pilots work through, it only makes sense that they would require some downtime in order to rest and relax. Although the idea of a pilot sleeping on the job may sound scary, it's important to know that this poses no risk to the safety of your flight! Pilots may be removed from the duties for a short period of time, but with a co-pilot, and advanced auto-pilot technologies, the plane is always in a controlled state.

24 The Best Spot To Sit On A Plane

Via TripSavvy

Flying can be quite scary at times, making people worried to even step foot on a plane out of fear of enduring a turbulent flight, however, we've got you covered! According to the Huffington Post, travelers who are afraid of shaky and bumpy moments during a flight should always opt for a wing window seat! This ensures the smoothest ride, especially during some iffy times. The front and back of the plane tend to bounce more than the wing area of the plane would, allowing any anxiety ridden passengers to feel less turbulence, keeping them at ease, says the source!

23 Under wraps: Pilots Receive Different Meals

Via Peta

When it comes to the food on the plane, chances are you won't be eating 5-star quality food, that's for sure, however, believe it or not, not everyone on the plane is allowed to eat the same food. Flight attendants take food requirements quite seriously on flights, especially when it comes to the pilots. According to Traveller, pilots cannot eat the same food as one another, or the same food as any of the passengers. This is done in order to avoid any chance of a pilot getting ill from the food, claims the source. This is taken quite far, as flight attendants are even required to inform the pilots if they both ordered the same meal to avoid any chance of them both getting ill from the same thing!

22 Where The Worst Airports Are In The U.S.

Via Business Insider UK

If there is anyone seeing more airports in their lifetime than the traveler themselves, it's definitely the pilots! Having to maneuver an aircraft through runways and gates isn't always easy, however, when certain airports have runways that make the task only harder, it only makes sense as to why a pilot will turn to absolutely disliking a certain airport! According to Business Insider, airports such as Laughlin, Newark, and Aspen, all either have tricky runways, are surrounded by high mountains, or have sound limitations requiring limited noise landings, making it quite the tedious task for a pilot! As if the job wasn't hard enough, it appears certain airport layouts decide to toss in a few more roadblocks to give the pilots an extra challenge.

21 under wraps: The Food Is As Bad For You As It Looks

Via Finnair

Unless you're flying on Air Gordon Ramsay, chances are the food you will be served is nothing great! In addition to the lack of appetizing food most airlines offer, chances are the food you are eating isn't all that healthy either. According to Business Insider UK, flight attendants have admitted to the fact that airplane food is quite "unhealthy" for passengers to consume. The food is usually prepared and stored days prior to a flight, and is at times, pumped with preservatives to keep it as fresh as possible, for as long as possible. Most choices are also not the healthiest choices either, so if you're hoping for a yummy garden salad with house dressing, you're better off waiting until you get to your destination.

20 Morning Flights Are The Smoothest

Via NY Daily News

If you're looking to book a trip, it's best to grab a flight that takes off in the morning, as those are known to be the smoothest. According to Travel + Leisure, morning flights are the least likely to be delayed! Not only does this make your travel experience far easier, but it also allows you to travel with ease, knowing that you can get to where you need to be at the time promised. In addition, weather conditions in most cases tend to be most calm in the morning time, as opposed to afternoons and nights, when good conditions tend to decrease, says the source. Although waking up earlier may not seem appealing, the easy and breezy flight will make up for it!

19 under wraps: Germs Are Everywhere On The Aircraft

Via NYCAviation

Airplanes are breeding zones for an endless amount of bacteria! Whether this is something you want to hear or not, it's true! Flight attendants know this far too well, however, it's best you do too. According to View From The Wings, a plane is deep-cleaned roughly once per month and is only quickly cleaned between back to back flights. This means that your headrests, tray tables, and armrests are not cleaned if the aircraft is being used for a back to back flight, meaning you are sharing the same germs as whoever was on that flight prior to you. This is why flight attendants encourage passengers to always clean down their area while boarding, to ensure that you have a clean and germ-free seat to enjoy during your flight.

18 Planes Do Get Struck By Lightning

Via Conde Nast Traveler

It's safe to say that a large metal aircraft flying thousands of feet in the air throughout vastly different weather conditions is bound to get struck by lightning! Although passengers would not be able to tell in the slightest, planes do, in fact, get hit by lightning. According to Condé Nast Traveler, every single airplane gets struck by lightning at least once per year, however, they are constructed in order to withstand it. Due to the aircrafts aluminum exterior, which is an obvious electrical conductor, lightning is bound to hit planes, but passengers will never know considering the shock is discharged overboard and never reaches the cabin!

17 under wraps: They Notice Everything

Via Insider

If you think you can pull a fast one on a flight attendant, you are sorely mistaken! Flight attendants see, hear and know just about everything when it comes to the passengers onboard. If you're trying to sneak into the lavatory with your significant other, the flight attendant will notice, if you're on your sixth glass of white wine, the flight attendant will notice, and most importantly if you are in coach, and find sneaking yourself into first class, the flight attendant will know! According to Insider, flight attendants see a lot of curious business happen on-board, which is why they are constantly alert and aware of everything going on.

16 Bumpy Landings Are Done On Purpose

Via Pinterest

Landing a plane isn't an easy job, however, most pilots know how to do it with ease! In some cases, you will experience a landing that has a far greater amount of bumpiness and shakiness than normal, however, this is done totally on purpose! According to LifeHacker, pilots will perform a bumpy landing on purpose when weather conditions are not ideal. In rainy, icy or snowy conditions, the aircraft is more susceptible to sliding on the runway, however, if a pilot were to perform a bumpy landing, this eliminates the chances of sliding, and provides more traction on the ground! Although it may seem like the pilot is performing poorly, they are actually landing the plane in a far more safe manner than if they were to simply let the plane touch down and slide.

15 They Have To Carry As Little Fuel As Possible

Via Breaking Energy

This may sound odd, considering fuel is an imperative part of staying in the air, however, countless sources claim that pilots are required to fly an aircraft with as little fuel needed as possible. Although airlines deny these claims, NBC News shares how pilots are forced to fly with the bare minimum at times in order to conserve as much fuel as possible. Considering the travel industry and airlines are a massive business, cutting costs is a big must, and in this case, a plane that carries excess fuel burns through it at a much faster rate, increasing their fuel costs annually. In this case, airlines will implement a minimum fuel requirement in order to keep their fuel supplies lasting longer and keeping costs down.

14 Some Planes Are Too Old To Fly

Via AskThePilot

Flying an aircraft is hard enough as is, however, flying one that is far past its expiration date can only make things even harder. According to CNTraveler, pilots anonymously confessed to flying planes that were far too old to be 30,000 feet in the air. With certain parts needing repair, engines reaching their end or simply cabin interiors that date back decades, there are some planes that are still in use that should have retired long ago! Although chances of finding yourself on an older aircraft for your trip to Bali is unlikely, the source claims that they are often times used for short-haul flights flying to and from nearby cities.

13 Airlines Do Manipulate Flight Times

Via Matador Network

Although this may sound like common knowledge, airlines have a trick they use in order to save themselves from any form of compensations due to delays or time discrepancies. According to Live & Lets Fly, airlines will often use a tactic referred to as "schedule padding", which allows more time for a flight than required, in order to save themselves from any complaints if a flight takes longer than expected. In this case, a flight may be scheduled for 5 hours, when it really only takes 3.5 hours to get to the destination. Airlines, although denying doing this, have increased their flight times tenfold in the last decade, says the source, giving them a lot more extra time for any unforeseen issues on their end to avoid delayed flight compensation!

12 Using a phone Won't Actually Crash The Plane

Via Vector News

We have all been there before when we are asked to power off our electronic devices, or switch to "airplane mode" while flying. Many travelers are under the impression that using your electronic devices without disconnecting from a network will lead a plane to impending doom, however, that is not the case whatsoever. According to Vector News, no such case has ever even happened! The reason we are asked to shut off our devices is not to avoid a crash, but simply to avoid any signaling interference, which may cause issues for pilot communication, but by no means will your phone connected to 3G bring down the whole electronic system!

11 An Engine or Wheels Aren't Necessary For Landing

Via Wired

Although a situation like so may sound incredibly scary, planes and pilots are very well equipped to perform a landing without an engine, or wheels! Landing on the belly of the plane straight onto the tarmac is a safe procedure if done correctly, and has been done many times in the past if a plane undergoes a malfunction of sorts. According to The Telegraph, a landing like this works the same way as if landing on water, and if a plane provides ample warning to runway crew, they can spray foam onto the tarmac in order to eliminate any friction, allowing the plane to land as smoothly as possible!

10 under wraps: Not To Drink The Airline Water

Via VideoBlocks

It's safe to say that drinking the water in the lavatories is definitely a no-no, hence the signs that most washrooms onboard have to inform passengers to refrain from ingesting the tap water. Although this may be one case, it's important to know that the water flight attendants serve is also not the best, especially in iced form. According to Express UK, the filters used on board are not always cleaned thoroughly, making it a breeding zone for bacteria! The same thing goes for coffee pots, which are not cleaned out very much, making it a less than favorable environment for that cup of coffee to live. Next time, ask for a drink without ice, bottled water, or pass on the coffee for the time being.

9 under wraps: There Is Limited Oxygen While Flying

Via Customized Communications

Flight attendants will demonstrate just how to use your oxygen masks in case of any flight emergency where cabin pressure drops significantly! Although it's reassuring to know that oxygen is available, it's also important to know that there is not an unlimited amount of it! According to The Telegraph, there is roughly 15 - 20 minutes worth of oxygen available during an in-flight emergency. Although this may seem scary, this is done so on purpose to conserve oxygen and give the plane sufficient time to reach a lower altitude where oxygen is readily available. This may sound somewhat nerve-wracking, however, rest assured a situation like so rarely occurs!

8 under wraps: There Is A Secret Latch To Open Locks Lavatories

Via The Points Guy

If you've ever used an airplane lavatory, you know just how small a space it can be, if that weren't concerning enough, it's best you know that the lock switch isn't totally safe! Flight attendants are in fact able to unlock a lavatory door from the outside. Although chances of this happening are slim, it is done so in order to have access to the lavatory during an emergency, says The Points Guy. Whether a passenger has an accident in the washroom or needs to be evacuated for one reason or another, a flight attendant is able to use a hidden latch on the outside door in order to get inside.

7 under wraps: Aisle Seat Armrests Lift Up

Via Travel Update

Another little trick that flight attendants know about but keep secret, is the fact that the armrests located on each and every aisle seat, is retractable and can be lifted up! According to the Travel Update, there is a small button located beneath the armrest corner, that can let you lift it up. This will not only allow you to be more comfortable, but move in and out of your seat far more easily. Although a flight attendant will tell you to lower it, it's still a great trick to know, and perhaps one that you can even get away with if your flight attendant is alright with it! A tip for this one, always ask if it's okay, even just for a bit to get a little more comfortable, this way the flight attendant might be a bit more lenient and understanding.

6 under wraps: Bag Locks Do Not Work

Via Luggage NZ

Traveling is all fun and games, until your luggage is broken into! This happens far more than it should, however, it's a reality that occurs when it comes to travel. Although you can take precautions such as putting any and all valuable in your carry on, or putting a lock on your luggage, it turns out that is doesn't make all that big of a difference. According to Luggage NZ, flight attendants revealed how bag locks do very little when it comes to people breaking into your luggage! The source claims how there are 101 ways for baggage handlers, or anyone that comes into contact with your luggage, to bypass the lock and gain access to it.

5 under wraps: They Cannot Get You An Upgrade

Via One Mile At A Time

Everyone always dreams of spontaneously being bumped up to first class when flying, however, this isn't always the case. Although it never hurts to ask the airline employee at the check-in desk if it's at all a possibility, chances are, you'll be stuck where you originally paid to sit. In a few cases, many flyers don't take no for an answer, and go as far as asking the flight attendants on board if they can get an upgrade to first class, however, flight attendants cannot guarantee you a spot in first class, says One Mile At Time. When boarding is complete, and all passengers have been accounted for, flight attendants may be able to bump specific passengers up, but expecting them to simply say yes is not a good idea.

4 under wraps: Blankets & Pillows Don't Always Get Washed

Via Lonely Planet

Getting comfortable is key to having a smooth flight, and a blanket and pillow may help do the trick! Although they can keep you warm and snug during a flight, it's important to know exactly what you're dealing with. According to Lonely Planet, the blankets and pillows are not always washed after each flight. Flight attendants have admitted that they simply get refolded, and put back into plastic bags for the next flight. That means you are practically getting a used blanket and pillow, which isn't always the most hygienic thing! It's best to come prepared and bring items of your own to ensure you aren't covering yourself in someone else germs.

3 under wraps: They Only Get Paid Once The Plane Door Closes

Via Business Insider UK

Although it may seem like a very glamorous job to have, considering flight attendants get to travel to all sorts of places, the pay may not be the greatest at times! According to Business Insider UK, flight attendants only get paid for the time they are flying for. In that case, this means that if that plane door is open, they are not getting paid for anything yet. This is a huge bummer when it comes to the position, considering that plane door can be held open for quite a long time in some occasions, meaning that although the flight attendants are working, they aren't being compensated for it!

2 under wraps: They Are The First To Deal With On-board Crimes

Via YouTube

Flight attendants have a long list of duties when it comes to their position on a flight! Believe it or not, their job is more than just getting your food. Flight attendants' first priority is your safety, hence, the reason they are actually the first to deal with any serious crimes on-board. According to the Independent, the flight crew is the first to realize if there is any monkey business happening on a flight. In this case, they report the passenger immediately to the captain and inform the airport to have authorities waiting upon arrival. If a serious crime is committed during a flight, an air marshal is often available until the plane can safely land and the passenger in question can be handed over to official authorities.

1 under wraps: They Have Insider Knowledge On Passengers

Via Daily Star

Flight attendants are the first face you see and the last! In this case, it's best you always say "please" and "thank you", when dealing with a flight attendant, considering they are your source for just about anything during the flight. If you don't know just how serious a position being a flight attendant is, then perhaps you will after this. In addition to securing the safety and well being of each and every passenger on-board, flight attendants are also secret agents. According to the Daily Star, flight attendants have inside information on each and every person on-board. That means if your traveling on your honeymoon, chances are flight crew knows. Any dietary restrictions? Flight crew knows. Traveling with your uncles best friends cousins mom, well, you guessed it, flight crew knows. Although most personal information is kept secret, chances are your flight crew knows just about everything they need to when it comes to the passengers on board! Something to definitely keep in mind during your next flight. Happy traveling!

Sources: travelandleisure; dailystar; insider

More in Travel