It's time to get down to business: flying. It's something that many of us do on a regular basis, but it's also something that divides opinion. From the ins and outs of where to sit and what to do all the way through to whether or not you're afraid of doing so, flying is a topic that really does intrigue us for a variety of different reasons.
Alas, while some of you out there may be experts on the matter, a lot of us are often left in the dark when it comes to the specifics. It isn't considered to be an interesting topic in some parts of the world but there are certainly reasons to be intrigued, and while it may be a little bit nerdy, we all have to let that inner nerd out of us from time to time.
Without aviation, the planet would be a very different place, and while you may believe it'd be a good thing, we aren't so sure. However, that's another debate for another day, and it's time to focus on the (questionable) thrill of jetting off on an adventure.
25 Planes Are Often Struck by lightning (but we'll be fine)
We’ve always thought that this must sound absolutely mental to people who don’t fly a lot or who just generally don’t know much about aviation, but it’s true. Planes are built in a manner that allows them to withstand a great deal of force, which is probably why it’s so rare that you hear about crashes – which we’ll get onto a little bit later.
As it turns out, though, the average commercial jet gets hit by lightning once every two or three years, and more often than not it’s fine. There may be checks that need to be done when the plane is on the ground but aside from that, they’re legitimately lightning proof.
24 Some Airlines Have Secret Bedrooms
If you’re on a long haul flight then the odds are that you’ll need a nap, regardless of whether or not you’re a passenger or a member of the flight crew. As it turns out, some airlines actually have ‘secret’ bedrooms in which crew members can have quick naps in order to rest and recuperate.
They’ll swap out with another member of the crew in order to keep the passengers happy, and more often than not, these switches occur when the lights go off and most other folks on the plane are asleep.
It’s a good tool to have because let’s face it, these guys and girls get a lot of grief.
23 You Can Open A Locked Bathroom From The Outside
While you may think that you’re safe if you’ve locked yourself away in the bathroom on a plane, you’re not. That may seem incredibly invasive, but this is done in order to allow the staff to get into the toilet in case of an emergency.
This would be particularly awkward on a cheap airline where the facilities are actually quite small, but it’s all the same thing when it comes to safety.
Air travel is a delicate thing and if there’s an issue of any kind, then action needs to be taken immediately. It may come as a shock initially, but we’d assume you’d understand in the long run.
22 Pilots & Co-Pilots Eat Different Meals
The reason is simple: in case someone gets food poisoning, the other is able to take over almost instantly. While food poisoning on a plane isn’t exactly something that happens every day, they need to be ready for any and all issues that come their way.
If the pilot and the co-pilot both fell ill at the same time, we don’t need to be the ones to tell you that it’d be bad news for everyone on board.
We do wonder what it is exactly they’d get to eat, though.
21 The Environment On A Plane Changes The Food
Have you ever wondered why you find yourself disliking airplane food? Well, as it turns out, the environment you’re in actually alters the flavour. Whether it be making it more moist or generally changing the way in which it can be cooked or reheated, the pressure associated with the heights that you’re flying at means your food won’t be the same as it is on the ground.
When you really think about it this doesn’t matter all too much as long as it’s still edible and you aren’t going to get food poisoning, but we know that some of you out there are bound to be fussy eaters.
20 1 In 5 People Have A Fear Of Flying
Some people tend to hide the fact that they have a fear of flying, but we’ve never understood why. It’s a perfectly reasonable thing to be afraid of, because let’s face it, being so high up in the air isn’t exactly a natural sensation is it?
It’s something that we all need to get used to, and as it turns out, one in five humans have some kind of fear about it. We’re honestly surprised that figure isn’t higher because, at the very least, there must be quite a few folks out there who have never done it before. If that’s the case, we can virtually guarantee the figure will rise to two in five or potentially even more over the course of the next few years.
19 Airlines Go To Great Lengths To Compete
When airlines create new and imaginative ways in which to make their customers happy, whether it be with a new menu or an entirely new design for those in first class, they don’t always do it in the name of doing what’s right.
Alas, they do it because they want to take some of the interest from rival airlines. It makes sense as they need to provide people with the best possible option in order to be favoured, but there have legitimately been stories about airlines attempting to spy on their rivals in order to try and get ahead.
It sounds bizarre, but we can kind of understand the logic.
18 Takeoff And Landing Are Most Likely Crash Times
We’re only putting this for the sake of covering all bases, and we don’t want you to think that this is even remotely likely to happen. The odds of being in a plane crash are astonishingly high – with some suggesting it’s as high as one in 11 million.
As it turns out, though, they aren’t all ‘random’ occurrences. 80% of plane accidents happen within three minutes of the plane taking off, or within eight minutes of it landing. So then, if you’re in the middle of a long haul flight, at least you can rest easy knowing that you’re incredibly safe.
P.S: please don’t let this throw you off, because car accidents are way more likely.
17 Antonov AN-225 Mriya Is Heaviest Aircraft Ever
At 640 tonnes, this bad boy is known for being the heaviest aircraft ever made. The sadistic side of us now wants to see a collection of the world’s strongest men attempt to pull it, but in reality, there’s a much more important message here.
The message is that humans are capable of building some truly amazing things, and it truly does feel like this is only the beginning. The AN-225 first came into existence during the late 80s, and the world of aviation has come on leaps and bounds in that time.
Just think where we’ll be in twenty years or so.
16 Oxygen Masks Only Last 15 Minutes
A lot of folks tend to make the mistake of ignoring the pre-flight demonstration, when in reality, it can be absolutely vital to know what you need to do in case of an emergency. Not everyone is particularly well equipped to deal with these kinds of high-pressure situations, which Is why you need to prepare yourself.
As it turns out, though, the majority of oxygen masks available on flights only last for 15 minutes. We aren’t entirely sure what the reason is for this and we aren’t convinced that we even want to know, but it’s absolutely worth noting.
15 A Boeing 747-400 Cockpit Window Frame Costs As Much As A BMW
This one kind of speaks for itself, and we’ll leave it up to you to decide how reasonable or ridiculous it may be.
It costs an insane amount of money to build your standard plane, and that’s hardly a startling revelation. These things have revolutionised the way in which we travel around the world, so you can only imagine the type of expense that comes along with that.
Obviously the cockpit window frame needs to be secure as it possibly can be and we aren’t suggesting otherwise, but it’s interesting to compare and contrast the prices of two entirely different vehicles.
14 1911 Was The Year Of The First Licensed US Female Pilot
Women have come a long way over the course of the last 100 years and beyond, especially when it comes to their rights. Harriet Quimby represents the best of the best in that regard, becoming the first female US pilot to receive a licensed certificate way back in 1911.
She went on to become the first woman to fly across the English Channel in 1912 and the rest, as they say, is history.
The aviation world will forever remember her, even though she unfortunately only lived to the age of 37. She loved to fly and she loved to do the unthinkable, and for that, we appreciate and respect her.
13 The Average Flight Altitude Is 35,000 Feet
The term ‘flying high’ can mean a variety of different things but in this instance, it’s pretty literal. The average height at which a standard flight will go to is 35,000 feet and that is, just... well, it’s scary, to be perfectly honest with you.
But, in equal measure, it’s also marvellous. The thought that a collection of people can be thrust so high into the air is remarkable, and it has helped us to take massive strides towards reaching our loved ones and enhancing our ability to work around the globe.
Once you get over the initial shock of the figure, it’s actually kind of great.
12 Aviation Industry Costs $640 Billion
This isn’t exactly a business that people get into exclusively for the financial benefit of it all, because it’s mainly done for the love of it – regardless of whether or not you’re an engineer, a pilot or the owner of an airline.
Over half a trillion dollars is an absolutely insane amount of money, and part of us is curious as to how it’s not worth even more than that. Over the course of the next few decades, that number is likely to go up and up and up, and we’re ready to see it happen.
Buckle up, guys and girls.
11 Average Commercial Jet Speed - 550 mph - 580 mph
To put this into perspective, the majority of trains travel between 100 and 150 mph whereas the standard limit on a UK motorway tends to be around 70/80 mph.
When you think about how much there still is to learn and develop in aviation, it soon becomes a little bit startling and (arguably) a little bit scary, too.
If you actually watched a car moving at that kind of pace along a road, you’d think that you’re watching something out of Back to the Future. Because it happens in the air, though, you only really get an appreciation for the speed when the plane is in the process of landing.
10 Airlines Try To Hit Their Weight Average
This tends to be the case on cheaper airlines more than anything, but it’s still somewhat frustrating.
You know when you’ve got your hand luggage and the staff are trying to take it off you, claiming it’s too big when you know it isn’t? That’s because they’re trying to hit a pre-determined weight average for the flight and while we understand why they’d do that for safety purposes, more often than not, it just seems to be a guideline.
The staff aren’t exactly subtle or caring when it comes to actually discussing the matter either, which can obviously be incredibly irritating
9 Flight Crew Only Get Paid While In The Air
As much as you may think that flight crew all have phenomenal salaries and what not, that isn’t necessarily the case. On top of that, they aren’t just paid by the hour to sit around doing nothing – which is why they’re just as frustrated as you are when delays and cancellations occur.
They get paid when they’re in the air and while they certainly earn that money during the flight, it can often be difficult for them to hide their frustrations following a delay.
A pro will soldier through, of course, but it’s easier said than done when you’re put in that kind of predicament. After all, just because it’s your holiday doesn’t mean it’s theirs too.
8 Long Haul Flight Windows Can Damage Your Eyes
If you’ve ever been on a long haul flight, especially over North America, there are a few things that you’ll notice – and the first of those things is that they’ll switch the lights off on the flight in order for you to get some sleep.
If you decide to open your window in order to catch a glimpse of the outside, though, you’ll likely be met with a painful level of brightness that is difficult to ignore.
If you stare at it for too long, just as is the case with the sun, then you risk doing some actual damage to your vision.
The same could be said of many things in life, but trust us, the window isn’t going to protect you.
7 The Little Hole In The Window Regulates Pressure
The little hole that some of you may have seen in the window next to your seat is located in the middle pane. The purpose is for the hole to regulate the pressure between the passenger cabin and the air gap, because as you can imagine at that kind of height, you need to think of everything.
It also prevents the windows from fogging up which doesn’t sound like an overly important point, but it can be an issue if you’re planning on taking lots of wonderful photos for everyone to see.
The world of aviation is complex, guys, and they think of every possible variable in order to ensure you have a safe and pleasant experience.
6 There is an Average Of 9,700 Flights In Air at any moment
If you’ve ever been on FlightRadar24, and we wouldn’t blame you if you have, then you’ll know that the sight of seeing so many planes in the air at one time is pretty cool. It almost looks as if they’re all destined to bump into each other at any given time, when in reality, air traffic control handles any and all of those issues.
At any given time there are around 9,700 flights going around the planet, which we think is just awesome. Everything seems to run like clockwork and while there are obviously delays from time to time, it’s still pretty smooth when you think about it.
5 The Aisle Seat Is Statistically The Comfiest
The studies have been done and the customers have been queried, folks, and as it turns out, the aisle seat is statistically considered to be the comfiest of the three standard options.
While luxury flights obviously give you the option to have your own individual seat, the majority give you the choice of middle, aisle or window. While the two alternatives are also good, the leg room permitted from sitting in your aisle seat is what takes it to that next level.
If you don’t believe us, though, then we’d highly suggest you go and test it out for yourself.
4 Mild Hypoxia Makes You More Emotional
The standard definition for hypoxia is the deficiency in the amount of oxygen reaching the tissues. This occurs on pretty much any flight that even gets off of the ground, and there are actually some interesting side effects.
Studies have shown that mild cases of hypoxia can lead to you becoming more emotional than you’d usually be, which means you’re legitimately more likely to cry.
So if you’re planning on watching a film on your long haul then we’d suggest you avoid any romantic comedies, because otherwise, you may need a tissue or two.
P.S: there’s nothing wrong with crying – just saying.
3 Planes Land Hard In Rain On Purpose
In order to get the right kind of grip on the landing strip, and in order to avoid any slips from the plane, a pilot will specifically land harder when it’s been raining.
It’s all about regaining control for themselves, and we think it’s a pretty interesting anecdote. There are multiple weather conditions that you need to prepare yourself for on a day to day basis if you’re a pilot, and landing can be particularly tricky.
So the next time you complain about a bumpy landing, maybe look out of the window to see what they’re dealing with.
2 There is an Average Of 1.2 Million People In Air At Any moment
The amount of people in the sky at the time of reading this accounts for around 1.2 million of the individuals on Earth – which would make the ‘Airspace’ the 156th most populated country in the world.
That’s just downright awesome and we don’t care who knows it! (Buddy the Elf reference for all of you holiday lovers out there).
The fact that so many people are able to be taken safely from point A to point B is incredible, and it’s a testament to just how far we’ve come.
Will we ever get to the point of reaching 2 million? It seems inevitable.
1 Flying Causes You To Be Dehydrated
The pressure involved with flying can cause an array of different reactions that you probably can’t control, with one of them being the sensation of being dehydrated. It happens to everyone on a daily basis, but it happens even more so when you’re in the air.
So if you’ve ever been left wondering whether or not you’re imagining things, trust us when we say that you aren’t. If you’re on a long haul it can be particularly difficult, but considering they tend to give you free drinks on flights over a certain distance, we’d hesitate to say you’ll be just fine.