When you travel anywhere far away, airplanes generally are what take you there. The crew on the plane, including the pilot and flight attendants, work long hours to ensure you safely arrive at your destination, and there is plenty they know about the plane and the operation of the plane that you don’t know about, or perhaps, don’t want to know about. It takes a lot to get the plane off the ground, and pilots know plenty of wild things about the aircraft they control. You’re in good hands once you get onboard, as pilots have hundreds of hours of experience flying and will make sure you are safe.
Meanwhile, flight attendants are the front-line workers who deal with the passengers each day. They are more than just waitresses but ensure everything runs smoothly, on-time and everyone in the cabin is safe. But there is a lot of things they don’t tell you, either because of safety reasons or because it could cause panic in the air. They keep a lot to themselves to make sure the flight goes off without an issue, and there is a lot of things they won’t tell you unless you really need to know. So check out this list and look for some of these details when taking your next flight.
30 Pilots: Just Enough Fuel
It is very expensive to fuel up a plane and they don’t top up these massive commercial carries to the rim like you would your car. In fact, according to CBC, they put in just enough fuel to get to the plane to the destination, and it’s up to the pilot to figure out how much fuel that would be. According to NBC, pilots are told to fly with the least amount of fuel as possible to save costs, as it also keeps the plane lighter. If you run out, don’t worry, as planes can fly for a good distance with no fuel.
29 Pilots: Pilots Nap
Pilots are sometimes forced to fly upwards of 14 hours a day. That’s a long time to be working for, even if planes are doing a lot of the work themselves when on autopilot. According to USA Today, pilots take controlled naps in order to keep them fresh when in the air. But don’t fear, as all planes have two pilots, so while one may be catching a few z's, the other is in complete control of the airplane and can wake the other pilot if trouble arises. With tight schedules and long trips, even the pilots need to rest their head a bit.
28 Flight Attendants: Lights Dim On Landing In Case Of Emergency
During takeoff and landings, the lights in the cabin dim down. No, they aren’t trying to set the mood for the flight coming up, but rather for passenger safety. According to the Telegraph, lights are dimmed in order to adjust your eyes to dim lights, so that if the power goes out in an emergency, your eyes have already adjusted and can find the exits easier. Flight attendants won’t tell you this, however, because they want you to think it’s just to make the flight calmer.
27 Pilots: They Have Least Favorite Airports
Not every airport is the same, and pilots will admit, they don’t like certain airports that they have to fly into for many different reasons. According to Reader’s Digest, the two worst airports are Reagan National in Washington, D.C., and John Wayne in Orange County, California. John Wayne Airport has noise restrictions because of locals complaining, so pilots have to turn the pilot silent as soon as they take off. Others have short runways which mean quick and unpleasant stops and difficult fast take-offs.
26 Pilots: Planes Do Get Struck By Lightning
There is always that fear that a lightning strike will take down an airplane. Well, pilots will tell you that, yes, the plane does get struck by lightning, but that doesn’t mean it’s bringing you down. According to Reader’s Digest, pilots say that passengers will just hear a large boom from the lightning and a bright flash, but that’s about it, and you won’t fall from the sky. The plane is constructed to withstand the lightning strike, but most of the time, you won’t even know it.
25 Flight Attendants: Pillows And Blankets Aren’t New
If you have ever asked for a blanket or pillow on a flight, you should know they are reused blankets and pillows and a new one isn’t opened every time a customer asks for one. According to littlething.com, the pillows and blankets are just folded up and put back in the bin to use again. The only time new ones are being used is when they are brought in in the morning before the plane has had any flights that day.
24 Pilots: Turbulence Can’t Bring Down A Plane
One thing everyone experiences on an airplane is turbulence. It can make some people sick and make for a rough ride, but it won’t bring the plane down, despite people thinking it will. According to Reader’s Digest, pilots say they avoid turbulence, not because it has any danger to the plane, or the wing is going to rip off, but rather because it’s just annoying to ride through. For pilots, it’s more of a comfort thing for the passengers than a safety concern.
23 Pilots: Pilots Take Selfies
Everyone has cell phones these days and are taking selfies when on vacation, so why shouldn’t the pilots? According to the Daily Mail, there are a few pilots who have made names for themselves by posting awesome selfies from the air, putting everyone’s selfie game to shame. They are allowed to take them like anyone else, just not during take-off and landing, or when there is turbulence. Although it does raise a question, if the pilot can use a phone, why not the passengers?
22 Flight Attendants: They See Everything
If you think of pulling a fast one on the plane, like a couple slipping into the bathroom, or trying to change seats or grab overhead bags before you are allowed, just be aware that flight attendants see everything. According to Insider, flight attendants have a good idea of what is going on the plane, which passengers are trouble, which ones to keep an eye on and what rows and seats people are in, just in case they have to point them out to police later on. So be mindful that with multiple flight attendants, someone always has eyes on you.
21 Pilots: They Eat Different Food
Pilots have to eat as well, as you don’t want them hungry at the throttle of a flying plane. But for safety reasons, they eat different food. And no, not just different food as the passengers, but different food from each other. According to the Express, both the pilot and co-pilot eat something different, just in case one of the meals prepared gets them sick. It ensures at least one person will have a probability of not getting ill in the air. Although the food is the same quality as what passengers eat, which isn’t the greatest.
20 Pilots: Rough Landings Done On Purpose
A lot of people dislike the landing part of flying. What if the plane comes up short or misses the runway, and they hate the hard landings pilots do that jumps them out their seat. However, pilots will tell you, according to Reader’s Digest, that hard landings are done on purpose, and not because the pilot is not trying to make it soft. If the runway is slick, icy, snow-covered or short, pilots will hit down hard to create more friction to stop the plane.
19 Flight Attendants: There Are Germs Everywhere
Airplanes are like a flying dish of germs, as flight attendants won’t tell you that the plane doesn’t get clean after every flight. According to Reader’s Digest, the plane is cleaned deeply once a month, and other than that, the flight crew will do a quick sweep through the cabin to pick up garbage that people didn’t throw into the bag when they walked by, but things do get missed, and they don’t get all the germs as they are trying to prepare the plane for a quick turnaround for the next flight.
18 Pilots: Phones Won’t Bring Down the Plane
During flights, you are generally asked to turn off your cell phones or put them on airplane mode so that no signals interfere with the plane's systems. Despite what has been said, no plane has ever crashed because of cell phones being turned on, but it can create issues for the pilot. According to Reader’s Digest, the reason is that the signal coming to your phone can disrupt the readings on the aircraft, telling the pilot they are higher than they actually are. That could be dangerous, but, luckily, so far, no planes have crashed because of it.
17 Pilots: FAA Rules Don’t Make Sense Either
Don’t worry, you’re not the only ones that don’t understand the FAA rules for flying. According to Reader’s Digest, even pilots don’t understand why passengers can be served hot drinks in the air, 39,000 feet above the ground going over 400 miles per hour, but when the plane is coming in to the terminal at a brisk five to 10 mile per hour pace, people have to be strapped down. Sure, a sudden stop could send someone for a jolt, but it still seems rather silly.
16 Pilots: On-Time Is Most Important
There are many reasons not to be late for a flight and the first and most important is, you’re not the most important stat to the pilot. According to Reader’s Digest, the Department of Transportation has put more emphasis on on-time performance than worrying about passenger numbers. If you’re late, that should be your issue, but for those who are coming in on a connecting flight that might be late for many different reasons, sorry to say, the plane isn’t waiting for you at the gate.
15 Pilots: Engines Do Fail
We all get this scary thought that both engines will fail and the plane will fall out of the sky. That isn’t entirely true, as planes can fly without engines and land without them as well. They can also fly with one, as according to Thrillist, engines do break down, but planes can fly perfectly fine with just one engine. In most cases, the pilot won’t even tell you there is a problem so as not to cause panic, so you could be on a flight with one engine out and not know a difference.
14 Pilots: Pilots Tell Attendants To Sit And So Should You
Pilots know what kind of weather they are flying into and when to turn on the seat belt sign. But if you see the flight attendants racing from the row and buckling up themselves, you should follow as well. According to Reader’s Digest, if the attendants sit down, that means the turbulence they are heading into is too dangerous for even them to be standing and handing out coffee. So it’s not just a warning sign for passengers, but one for the men and women working as attendants as well.
13 Pilots: Landings Tell The Good From The Bad
Landings are generally done by the pilot and not autopilots. According to the Telegraph, 90 percent of the flight is done by autopilot, but the take-off and landing are all in the hands of the pilots, and so a pilot who can land smoothly and without incident is considered a good pilot. If they take a few bumps on the runway, or need another try, or come in shifting side to side, they either need some more experience or aren’t very good.
12 Pilots: It’s Expensive To Become A Pilot
Most people think pilots have the luxury lifestyle, as they can be paid high salaries once they earn their wings and work their way up the ranks. But in fact, according to Traveller, it is very expensive to become a pilot in the first place, costing thousands of dollars to get the hours needed to fly as a co-pilot. Most require over 1,500 hours, and it’s expensive to rent a plane and get time in the sky, so while they do get paid very well later in their career, it can be expensive to even get off the ground.
11 Flight Attendants: Yes, They Can Upgrade You
Everyone would love a free upgrade. Maybe moving up to first class, or getting a little extra snack or drink, but they don’t know who they should ask. Asking the person at the ticket counter is useless, but according to Express, the flight attendant is the one who can give you the upgrade, just make sure you ask nicely and are polite to them. Flight attendants deal with plenty of passengers in a day and they come with all types of attitudes and want something from them. So if you are polite, say please and thank yous and don’t ask too much, they may give you an upgrade.
10 Flight Attendants: Holding Your Baby Is Dangerous
Very young children generally can get on a flight for free, and they normally sit on a parent’s lap. But according to Reader’s Digest, having your baby on your lap can be very dangerous, as the baby isn’t secured with a seatbelt, and if there is an impact or deceleration, there is a chance the parent could lose them. Flight attendants don’t normally tell parents this information, as some parents can snap on them for not minding their own business or paying more money for a seat on a plane for their child.
9 Flight Attendants: Your Laptop Can Hit Someone
It may seem like a silly request to ask you to put away your laptop away when the plane is landing, as it’s generally set up against the back of the seat. But according to Reader’s Digest, it doesn’t take much during landing with deceleration for the laptop to turn into a projectile and hurt someone in the cabin. And considering the speed it can go at, it can seriously hurt someone, or do worse if it gets away from you, even though you think you have a good grip on it.
8 Flight Attendants: They Do More Than Serve You
Some people think that the only reason flight attendants are on the plane is to serve peanuts and drinks and take care of passengers. But that isn’t their only job on the airplane, even though passengers may think so. According to the Independent, flight attendants are there for passenger safety, more so than their convenience, but they hide it in a way that makes it look like they are all about the service. Reality is, there are performing important safety checks during the flight and before takeoff, so be mindful that they aren’t just a waitress for you.
7 Flight Attendants: Have Secret Communication With Pilots
Flight attendants know a lot more than what you think they do. Their only job isn’t to remember your drink order. In fact, they have a lot of communication with the pilots and get information from the cockpit. According to Reader’s Digest, they have secret code words with the pilot in order to relay information from the front of the plane to the back, without raising concerns of a problem so as not to cause a panic. Flight attendants won’t let you in on those code words, as they don’t need you listening into their private and perhaps safety concerning conversations.
6 Flight Attendants: Paid When The Doors Close
When you see the flight attendant walking through the airport, you should know they aren’t getting paid. In fact, when you walk on the plane and they greet you, they still aren’t getting paid. According to Reader’s Digest, flight attendants don’t get paid until the door on the main cabin is closed. That means, from door closed to door open is when they get paid, but they have plenty to do before and after to get the cabin ready which they aren’t paid for. It’s why a lot of them don’t make as much money as you think they would.
5 Flight Attendants: They Don’t Have To Help You With Your Bags
When you get on a plane, the first thing you do is locate your seat, and then try and put your carry-on bag in the overhead compartment. It can be a struggle sometimes, especially if they are full and you need to cram your stuff in and sometimes the flight attendant will help. According to the Reader’s Digest, that isn’t part of their job to help you, but they do for two reasons. One, to speed up boarding the plane so they can close the door and get paid, while the second is for safety so that the things you put up top are secure and don’t fall out when flying and hurt someone.
4 Flight Attendants: There Is Limited Oxygen In Bags
It doesn’t happen often on a plane and it can be very scary if the oxygen bag does come down, but it’s not as scary as knowing that there is a limited amount of oxygen in the bag. According to the Telegraph, there are roughly 15 to 20 minutes of oxygen available. They don’t tell you that because you generally won’t need that much oxygen, as if the plane does lose pressure, the pilot can just fly lower to where you can breathe normally, and that takes less than 15 minutes to do.
3 Flight Attendants: Not A Typical Greeting
When you get on the plane, there are generally two flight attendants to great you and check your ticket to see which row and seat you are in and help you find them. That seems like part of the job and offering great service, but according to the Telegraph, their greeting is also about getting a good look at each passenger on the plane as they come on and remembering who might be trouble during the flight. They look for signs such as avoiding eye contact, being nervous outside of typical flight nerves, and different threats a person could be on the flight.
2 Flight Attendants: They Work Long Days
Flight attendants, like pilots, work long shifts and it requires them to be on their feet all day and in the air servicing customers. According to Reader’s Digest, flight attendants can work upwards of 15 hours a day, and not get paid for them all, because generally on flights they flight to one destination and then fly right back to where they started again to return home. Or on long overnight flights, they are up late hours to make sure everything is safe on the plane. They do get some naps in, but they are generally alert to what is happening on the plane.
1 Flight Attendants: Not Paid Very Well
Flight attendants work long hours and only get paid when the doors are closed, and when they are closed, they deal with a lot of stress and hard work, yet according to the Independent, they aren’t paid that well. They can earn between $18-20 an hour, but when you consider that they lose more than an hour of work each day when the doors aren’t closed, that’s a lot of free labor they are giving away. It’s why they have to work long hours and take overnight flights because it’s more airtime to bank hours on.