Getting on the plane and flying somewhere is a whole set of special experiences. Whether you barely fly or you’re a frequent flyer, you probably know the drill. But behind the scenes of your flight and your airport journey, there’s a shadowy realm of aviation secrets you’ve never heard before. Luckily, flight attendants from around the world have come forth and filled us in on all the secretive juicy details.
Some of these secrets might seems obvious in retrospect while others will probably leave you in shock. However you feel about the situation, reading the following pages will probably give you a whole new outlook on air travel and on the men and women who walk up and down the aisles.
Of Course, the Air Crew Members Get Romantically Involved
When you see flights attendants interact with each other, you always get really professional vibes, no doubt. But don’t kid yourself, behind the scenes, it’s very common for them to develop romantic relationships with each other. It can easily happen when you spend so much time in close quarters with someone.
It’s not only that the flight attendants are together a lot, but the very nature of the work itself has something inherent in it that must foster workplace flings and long-term relationships. Going on a Europe-bound flight with your co-worker and spending the weekend wandering the streets of Paris with her or him is not always the least romantic thing out there.
The Crew Members Are Using Their Cellphones the Entire Flight
One of the things you do as a good passenger is to turn off your phone or at least put it on flight mode. If you’re an obnoxious passenger and you don’t turn your phone off and you pull it out while the plane’s in the air, the flight attendants will tell you to put it away. But did you know that they are allowed to use their phones the whole time?
On most planes these days, there’s wifi. But often, it’s expensive; more than what most are willing to spend. But the flight attendants get to connect for free! We suppose they deserve it. Next time you’re on a 16-hour plane ride and you’re itching for a quick scroll, just remember that there’s some lucky flight attendant somewhere nearby secretly scrolling away.
Flight Attendants Are Trained to Restrain You
You don’t want to mess around with flight attendants. Part of their training includes learning how to restrain disruptive travelers. It happens more than you think that a traveler gets angry (often there’s alcohol involved) and starts being a menace, even a danger, to the other passengers.
Along with their technical know-how when it comes to restraining irate dangerous passengers, the crew also has the legal authority to do it. If the customer is so disruptive that after being taken to the ground and restrained by a flight attendant he still doesn’t stop, the crew sometimes has to use seat belt extensions to bind him to a seat for the remainder of the flight.
The Air Crew Communicates With a Secret Code
Ever wonder all the hand gestures the flight attendants make to each other. As it turns out, it’s how they communicate with each other and it’s an important part of the job. So next time you think they’re playing games, keep in mind that they’re actually communicating in a meaningful signal code.
“With over 6 million passengers served each month, the ‘secret code’ has been invented to enable our cabin crew to deliver a speedy and efficient service, whilst keeping unnecessary crew noise to a minimum and provide passengers with a relaxing and enjoyable flight,” explained the EasyJet’s Head of Cabin Services.
A Little Flirting Never Hurt Anyone
Airlines don’t write specific policies against their flight attendants flirting with the passengers. But in most ways, it’s not always welcome from them. Kind of like a waitress; they’re so used to people hitting on them that their guard is up and they spend a good amount of energy fighting off the onslaught of unwanted advances from travelers.
So it’s flight attendants flirting with travelers is not the most common occurrence but it does happen. There are even lots of interesting stories about a passenger and an air crew member flirting on the plane and then ending up as a couple by the time they get back home.
The Crew Will Size You up
Notice how when you come onto an airplane, there’s always a crew member there to greet you with a “hello” and a wide beaming smile? True, it’s pleasant, but there’s a more than just a greeting going on. The flight attendant is quickly doing a mental survey of each passenger as he or she boards the aircraft.
Who’s traveling alone? Does anyone look sick? Do any of the travelers seem suspicious or dangerous? Is anyone intoxicated? Who looks like a troublemaker? Who do we need to take special note of? These are the kinds of questions the flight attendants ask themselves as they assess the passengers coming aboard.
How to Score a Class Upgrade
Of course, the sure-shot way to get upgraded is to pay the big bucks. But if you’re a little low on cash and you want to fly in luxe, then this is how you can increase your chances. First of all, if you have some legitimate reason why you deserve an upgrade, go with that. For example, if you’re pregnant, injured, super tall, or a frequent flyer, you’re already a good candidate for the upgrade.
If you don’t have any “legitimate” reason for requesting an upgrade (meaning you just want one for the fun of it), then your best bet it to just be extremely nice and pleasant to your flight attendant. It’s not uncommon for there to be empty seats in business class and first class. So if they happen to be giving them away, then being in the crew’s good books might be enough to put you in their list of lucky people.
The Job Actually Doesn’t Pay That Well
For all its glitz and glamor and exotic travel and sleepless nights, being a flight attendant doesn’t actually pay that well. In America, on average they make $57,000 a year, which is just slightly over the average income. The problem is that, allegedly, they only earn their full wage from the moment the plane’s engines start until the moment the plane lands and is powered down.
This means that they don’t get paid well for all the flight prep time. Also, consider that while it is nice to stay for free in foreign countries all the time, the crew is still away from home. They don’t get paid in full for this time. According to one report, for the hours spent off the plane but away from home, they can make as little as $1.50 an hour.
The Crew Will Cut You Off If You Get Too Drunk
One of the comforts of flying with a good airline is that you usually get as many beverages as you want. Want to slurp back eight cans of Coke? No worries. But when it comes to alcohol it’s a different story. If the flight attendants feel you’ve had too much to drink, they won’t hesitate to cut you off.
There are also a couple legal issues surrounding the question of air travel intoxication. For one, it’s illegal, plain and simple. You can’t be wasted on a plane. Second, it’s actually illegal for the flight attendants not to cut you off if they feel you’ve had too much. Keep in mind, too, that when you’re sky high in a plane, the cabin pressure actually makes it easier for you to feel drunk.
Never Accept a Coffee
We’re really sorry to break it to you, but according to flight attendants (and this is backed up by serious scientific research as well), you should never ever accept a cup of coffee on a plane. Research has indicated that the quality of tap water on planes varies wildly depending on which airline you choose. Researchers detected the presence of multiple microorganisms in the airplane water, including coliform bacteria.
So in order to avoid drinking disease-causing pathogens, it’s advised that any beverages you consume should come from a sealed bottle. Oh, and we’re really sorry tea lovers, this advice also goes for you too. We know getting a nice warm beverage in the cold plane cabin is nice, but it’s probably just not worth the risk.
Airplane Food Is Notoriously Questionable
No one can deny that when you’re doing a long haul on a flight, those warm, neatly compartmentalized airplane meals are your saving grace. But sadly, you might want to just stick to bringing your own food. The onboard meals are typically loaded with preservatives, sodium, and sugars. So in terms of nutrition, airplane food sucks.
The nutrition is bad. But worse yet is the lack of oversight – federal and otherwise – of the food storage and preparation facilities. One NBC investigation, for example, revealed that in a airplane food inspection, at least 22 health and safety regulations were being simultaneously violated. Sorry to bust your bubble, but there’s a reason airplane food gets a bad reputation.
The Job Is Not for Everyone
Being a flight attendant certainly has its perks, but it also has a grueling dimension to it. You’re often away from your family. You go through periods of being constantly jet-lagged. And you’ll often have to get up at inhumanly hours during the night to make early morning flights.
Onboard, the hours can be very long. Consider that some flights are over 24 hours (though they do get to take naps). Also, flight attendants, even though they’re so much more, are often just perceived as airborne waiters. And perhaps one of the most difficult parts of the job is dealing with drunken, often angry, rude, and insanely disruptive travelers.
You Might Want to Think Twice About First Class
If you’ve got the money or you happen to be lucky enough to score a free upgrade, you might want to reconsider choosing to fly on first class. It’s nice, of course. But it’s also – statistically speaking – the most dangerous. Numerous studies have shown that those sitting in the front of the plane (and that’s where first class is located) have a higher change of dying in a plane crash.
Those same studies showed that the safest seats on the plane might be located next to the emergency exits. And the highest survival rates for passengers in a plane crash are for those that sat at the rear of a plane. We don’t mean to scare you; plane crashes are statistically extremely unlikely, but the slightly increased danger of first class is just something to keep in mind.
The Air Crew Has to Look the Part
Ignore all the reports that claim there are no beauty physical appearance standards flight attendants must meet! Maybe some of the most draconian ones are not officially relevant anymore, but do one quick Google search and you’ll see all sorts of crazy stories about insane beauty standards.
Some make sense. For example, you can’t be too tall or too short and you need to be clean and well-groomed. But some other demands are awful. For example, Aeroflot, a Russian airline, allegedly lowered the salaries of flight attendants who failed to meet their weight requirements.
Getting the Job Is Not Easy
In case you thought anyone can get the job of a flight attendant, think again. It’s actually a really coveted position and it’s very hard to pass the whole interview process. Let’s look at some numbers to get ourselves convinced. Apparently, in 2010 Delta had 1,000 openings for flight attendant positions. The company received 100,000 applications, and only four percent of them even got a callback.
In South Korea – a country with a culture that sees flight attendants as celebrities – an airline reported that out of 20,000 candidates for the job, it would only take about 150. That’s a smaller percentage than the amount of people who get into Harvard Law School! So you probably only have a slim chance of becoming a flight attendant. But it helps if you’re good at customer service and if you’re bilingual.
Oxygen Masks Have a Time Limit
Hopefully, you never get into a situation that requires the air crew to deploy the oxygen masks. But if there’s a loss of cabin pressure due to a mechanical problem or issues with terrible turbulence, then you might suddenly see them dangling in front of you. Surprisingly, – and we’re not trying to frighten you here – the masks can supply each traveler with about 12 to 15 minutes of oxygen.
12 to 15 minutes of oxygen might not sounds like a lot to you, but in fact, it’s more than enough for the pilot to steady the plane or to reach a safe, oxygen-rich altitude where travelers can safely breathe again. But hopefully, none of this info matters and you never have to use the oxygen masks!
Extra Luggage Won’t Crash the Plane
We’re sure you agree that one of the most annoying things about flying is being slapped with a big fat $100 fee when you want to bring an extra bag or when your luggage weighs a few extra pounds. And if you take the worried words of the flight crew and check-in staff too seriously, you might become convinced that your extra few pounds of luggage endanger everyone.
Worries and stress notwithstanding, extra bags do not pose any danger to the plane. It’s true that when the plane takes off, the luggage in the cargo hold needs to be evenly distributed in order to keep the the center of gravity, but this actually has nothing to do with the amount of weight it’s carrying because it can be evened out with sandbags (the common practice).
Some Flight Attendants Say There’s Actually No Problem With Using Your Cellphone
It’s been accepted for decades that you can’t use your cellphone on a plane because it could interfere with the plane’s electronic signals. But in recent years some flight attendants have claimed that in reality, there’s actually no technical problem with using your phone (still, we don’t recommend it).
The flight attendant explained that the ban on cellphone use was put in place in 1991 when we were using far less advanced aviation signaling tech and that as of today, there’s no real problem. But the jury seems to still be out on this issue because others still do maintain that cellphones can disrupt the plane’s signals. Also, some people claim the rule is still in place in order to avoid having everyone chitchat the whole time and make noise.
Always Be Nice to the Check-in Staff
As a rule of thumb, you never want to be rude to people who handle your food. Well, this solid wisdom can be extended to the people who handle your seating arrangements on your flight. If you really tick them off, they can easily strategically place you next to a screaming baby or a group of rowdy passengers.
The check-in staff have all the passengers’ details and have quite a bit of control over who sits where, so organizing revenge against a rude traveler is no big deal. Thus even if you’re having a bad day, when you get to the check-in counter, drop your physical and emotional baggage and pull out your passport and your dashing smile.
Feel Free to Give a Tip
It’s true that flight attendants are not waiters or bartenders, but that doesn’t mean they won’t be happy if you give them a tip for their service. Some people erroneously think that the air crew members can’t or don’t want to take tips. But that’s just not true. Even if you tip a small sum, it builds up and it can be enough to brighten someone’s day a little.
Just because you’re on a plane does not mean you can’t give the service providers a tip. After all, they are making sure you’re comfortable and making sure you’re safe, so they certainly deserve it. Also, contrary to what many think, they actually aren’t getting astronomical salaries, so the financial reward of tipping is very relevant for them.
Don’t Bother Wrapping Your Gifts
If you’re bringing gifts for someone it might seem like a good idea to bring them already wrapped. But don’t bother. When you’re going through security there’s a good chance that the agents will ask (actually, they’ll demand) that you unwrap your gift so they can get a better look.
Having your carefully wrapped gifts ripped opened by airport security is not only time-consuming, but it’s also a little embarrassing. So next time you fly and you want to bring gifts to people, you’re probably better off just putting stuff in a nice gift bag.
Don’t Trust the Pillows and Blankets
It’s nice that the airline provides you with pillows and a blanket for when you want to keep warm and fall asleep but if you might want to be wary of using them. Flight attendants recently revealed that in contrast with the plane itself, the pillows and blankets are only washed once a day.
So if a given plane happens to make multiple trips in one day, then the passengers on the second (and subsequent) flight will be given unfresh pillows and blankets. So if you’re a clean freak or germaphobe or you just don’t want used linens, then you might want to consider bringing your own pillow and a thin blanket.
Is the Mile-High Club Really a Thing?
The mile-high club is definitely a thing. According to a survey (albeit a slightly outdated one, from 2010), around 9% of Americans claimed to have had an intimate encounter on an airplane. 5% of those reported their encounter was with a stranger and 3% said it was with a crew member.
While some consider it glamorous and exclusive, others consider it gross. The lavatories on airplanes aren’t the cleanest place ever, so their are for sure legit hygiene concerns. And just keep in mind that if you and your partner (or a stranger) do decide to join the club, you’ll need to be sneaky because it’s illegal and the lavatories are usually closely monitored.
You Won’t Be on the Tarmac Forever
One of the most annoying things that can happen when you fly is getting stuck on the tarmac for a long time. But if you happen to find yourself in this unfortunate situation, then you can at least take comfort in the fact that you won’t be stuck there forever: up to three hours for domestic flights and up to four hours for international flights.
According to the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT), after two hours on the tarmac, passengers must be given food and drink. After three hours (or four hours internationally), passengers must be given the right to deplane, unless there’s a really serious safety issue, and in that case, it’s the pilot’s call.
Always Pack an Empty Water Bottle
Flight attendants have revealed that the water systems on airplanes are kept under dubious sanitation conditions. So don’t order coffee or tea and don’t drink the tap water. Easy solution, bring a big bottle of water from home, right? Wrong. If you buy your water before you have cleared security, you’ll need to throw it out due to the no-liquids rule.
So some flight attendants recommend bringing an empty bottle of water and filling it up at an airport water fountain after you’re gone through security. That works. It’s also a good solution if you want to save money because buying bottled water in the duty free area is usually exorbitantly expensive.
Don’t Be a Rude Passenger
There’s really something to the saying “you catch more flies with honey than with vinegar.” Once again, this folk wisdom is highly relevant for air travel. Don’t be rude to the other passengers or the air crew. Other than just trying to be a moral person, there’s a lesser-known reason you should never be rude. Airlines apparently have a database called the Passenger Name Record (PNR) wherein they keep info about travelers, especially frequent flyers.
The PNR was originally conceived to enable efficient info transfer between systems (flight dates, passport numbers, contact details, etc.). But some have claimed (and this claim needs to be seriously fact-checked) that airlines also make notes regarding passengers’ behavior. So if you’re rude, it might be noted, and there may be consequences on your flight.
One article that mentioned the ubiquity of germs on airplanes put it terrifyingly: “…if you have ever put your food on your tray and eaten, or even touched your tray at all, you have more than likely just eaten baby poo.” There is, alarmingly, lots of hard data that indicates that airplanes can be loaded with germs.
For example, a 2015 study surveyed airplane hygiene by sampling areas and calculating a measure called “bacteria colony forming units (CFU) per square inch.” Here’s the verdict: tray table – 2,155 CFU/sq. in., drinking fountain buttons – 1,240 CFU/sq. in., overhead air vent – 285 CFU/sq. in., lavatory flush button – 265 CFU/sq. in., seatbelt buckle – 230 CFU/sq. in., bathroom stall locks – 70 CFU/sq. in.
Pilots Needs Sleep, Too
For a good portion of the flight, autopilot is in control. Not to say that the pilots can’t take over, but autopilot does a lot of the job. And of course, when it comes to landing and takeoff, the pilots completely take the controls. The long stretches of autopilot flying are the pilots’ opportunities to take a nap. Because hey, pilots are human and they need sleep too.
No doubt, the pilots have tons of huge responsibilities. The passengers’ safety is quite literally in the palm of the pilots’ hands. But in some ways, being a pilot is also a pretty chill gig. What other job essentially gives you countless hours of free time where you can dose off in a comfy seat?
Don’t Forget to Bring Headphones
It’s true that most airlines give away pairs of flimsy, low-quality headphones, but be careful, because not all of them do. So you can’t always depend on getting a free pair. You would never want to be stuck on a flight with no way to listen to music, audiobooks, or podcasts. That would be just awful.
Besides, let’s be honest, as mentioned, the headphones the airlines give away are usually of very poor quality. Not only do they sometimes feel uncomfortable in your ears, but the sound you usually get out of them is terrible. It’s best to just bring your own pair so you can really enjoy.
Don’t Ever Go to the Airport Starbucks?
To be 100% honest, we’re not sure if we agree with the multiple flight attendants who have reported that you shouldn’t go to the airport Starbucks. True, there are usually long lines there and the already-expensive Starbucks prices are jacked up further because it’s the airport. But if you want a good coffee, what are your options?
There are credible reports that show that you probably shouldn’t accept a cup of coffee on the plane because the water systems are not very clean. If you happen to be flying with Delta, Alaska Airlines, or a few more, you’re actually given a complimentary Starbucks coffee once you get onboard. Otherwise, maybe just brew a thermos of coffee after you clear security?
Will There Always Be an Air Marshal Onboard?
Air marshals, a.k.a sky marshals, are armed security personnel that wear civilian clothes and are disguised as passengers. They are placed on airplanes as a counter-terror measure. If something happens, like a highjacking, then the marshals can use force to protect the passengers and neutralize the security threat. But will they always be present. The short answer: no.
The presence of air marshals on a flight is dependent on the country. For example, in some countries where there is a lot of terrorism, like Pakistan, there is always an air marshal onboard. But safer countries (in terms of terrorism) like Canada, the United States, and Australia selectively (and sometimes randomly) deploy their air marshals.
The Brace Position Is Not a Myth
Every time you get on a flight one of the safety instructions is to be ready to enter the brace position if there’s an emergency announcement specifying so. Though some conspiracies and faulty information have said that the brace position is a myth (even a dangerous one, they say), in reality, it has been proven to save lives.
When you enter the brace position, you’re covering many of your vital organs from the front. You’re also covering your face. So it’s not hard to see how it affords a passenger protection. In one sad incident, everyone aboard a small aircraft was asleep as the plane was about to crash into trees. One passenger awoke and entered the brace position. He was the only survivor.
Medical Emergencies Happen
Getting on a plane does not mean you’re immune to medical emergencies. But the air crew and the plane are well equipped to deal with such contingencies. The flight attendants are always trained in basic life-saving techniques like the Heimlich maneuver and CPR.
Each aircraft is equipped with medical equipment such as defibrillator and first aid kits. If things get really bad, the crew might ask if anyone onboard is a doctor. And worst case scenario, the pilots might divert the plane and land in a nearby city so the patient suffering from an emergency can be taken to a hospital.
Planes are safe. Statistically, getting in a plane crash is extremely unlikely. Not that it never happens, but it’s rare. In order to protect yourself in the event of an aviation emergency though, you should protect yourself by buckling up.
Of course, you must buckle up during takeoff and landing, but lots of air staff also advise being buckled up mid-flight. In general, it is always best to keep your seat belt fastened throughout the entire flight rather than just waiting for the prompt from the pilot.
The Captain Makes the Rules
Barring legal authorities like police and other governmental agencies, it’s the pilots who call the shots on the tough questions that arise mid-air. The air crew, for instance, has the right to restrain a passenger that’s out of line. But it’s the pilots who have the last call on who should and should not be restrained.
Pilots also call the shots when it comes to making emergency landings or flightpath diversions. And when’s there’s something emergent and important, it’s usually the pilot who makes the announcement to the passengers. So although they don’t have unlimited power, they do have the authority (and the responsibility) to make some pretty impactful decisions.
There’s More Than Just Your Luggage in the Cargo Hold
The truth is that along with all the passengers’ luggage below deck in the cargo hold, a lot of commercial flights are also carrying human remains. It sounds a little morbid, sure, but if someone passes away away from home, their remains need to be brought back to their country of origin.
And it makes perfect sense when you think about it. Of course there’s not going to be some special hearse plane. Commercial airlines are are always taking off and landing, so arranging for a deceased person to catch a lift home is no big deal. Also, since cargo hauls are usually very cool, no special storage arrangements need to be made.
What Happens If an Engine Fails?
First of all, engine failure is an extremely rare occurrence. Plane engines are manufactured in top-notch facilities by expert engineers under strict oversight. But if what happens if this worst-case scenario does occur? Well, according to some flight attendants, the passengers won’t know because the pilot will never make an engine failure announcement. Just imagine the panic that would cause.
But even if the plane’s engine(s) fail, that doesn’t mean all hope is lost. Most aircraft are designed with this frightening contingency in mind. Their bodies are shaped such that they can safely glide to a landing without engine power. And pilots are obviously trained for this unlikely event.
Flying With Furry Friends
Most of the time, travelers have the option of bringing their furry friends along for the flight. And in the case of service animals, such as seeing-eye dogs, then they are often even permitted in the cabin with the passenger. Of course, you’ll need to have all the dog’s papers in order because the protocols are pretty strict.
The downside is that flying is usually a pretty unnerving experience for your dogs or cats. Though much effort is made to try and make them as comfortable as possible, most animals fly below deck. They often feel disoriented in an unfamiliar setting without their beloved humans. Also, it tends to be very noisy below the cabin, which adds to the unpleasantness.
Fly as Early as Possible If You Want the Smoothest Ride
Planes depart and land at all hours of the day and night. Most of the time, at what time of day to fly is last on the list of considerations when booking your flight. But if you’re scared of flying and you want to avoid turbulence, then flying early in the morning is your best bet.
“In the morning, the sun has not had a chance to heat the surface, so the air should be relatively smooth as long as there is little wind,” the National Weather Service explained. Alternatively, you could fly super late at night (which is also considered super early in the morning). Also, note that airports are the most busy between 8 am and 5 pm. So if you fly extremely early in the morning, you mights even miss some long queues.
There’s a Secret Compartment Where Flight Attendants Sleep
While economy class passengers are contorting their bodies into all sorts of inhuman positions while trying to take a nap, flight attendants often have a secret compartment where they can stretch out and catch some quality Zs. So if a few hours have gone by and your favorite flight attendant is nowhere in sight, she or he is probably below or above deck snoozing.
The cabin you see in this picture is on the nice end of the spectrum. Most of the time the attendant’s snooze cabins are pretty small, but they’re still very cozy. Not all planes have them – only the bigger ones, like a Boeing 777 or 787. Though they’re usually pretty small, they always have real beds.
Don’t Go Barefoot
We all know that being on a plane for hours on end can take a toll on your comfort level. So you do what you can to cope. Bring a neck pillow, maybe a nice warm sweater. And you might even remove your shoes. But flight attendants (and common sense) advise that you should never ever ever take off your socks and go barefoot.
For one, airplane floors are not the most hygienic surfaces. Things get spilled and everyone brings dirt and grime onto them via their shoes. And second, let’s be honest, putting your feet all over the place is just kind of gross. Save yourself the germ hazard and save others the cringe factor and keep your socks on, at least.
Don’t Be Annoying and Order Diet Coke
Flights usually have a good selection of nice beverages you can order. You have lots to choose from, so stay away from Diet Coke. The chemicals in Diet Coke make it way fizzier than other carbonated drinks so flight attendants have to take extra care while pouring it.
The end result is that each glass of Diet Coke takes about three times as long to serve than any other beverage that’s available. That’s why flight attendants secretly hate when a passenger orders one. So as long as you’re not diabetic, you might want to spare your fellow travelers the waiting time and spare the crew the trouble by ordering something else.
Rumors of Different Over-Ocean Procedures
This one needs serious fact-checking because we couldn’t find any solid sources that corroborate what some flight attendants say but we’ll let you in on the rumor. Legend has it that if there’s a bomb threat – or some other serious safety concern – that comes to the crew’s attention over the ocean, there won’t be any announcement.
According to these flight attendants, making such an announcement while flying over the ocean is particularly distressing to the passengers. So as part of the crew’s job to keep everyone calm, they keep everyone in blissful ignorance. Again, we count vouch for the accuracy of these claims – we’re just describing the rumor.
Safety Is the Same in Every Class
When some people consider the insane cost differences between economy class and the more expensive business and first classes, they wonder if costs have been cut when it comes to safety. Flight attendants say the unequivocal answer is that no, they haven’t. The safety standards are the exact same for every passenger.
There are ways for airlines to cut costs in economy class. Food quality, onboard entertainment, number of pieces of luggage, legroom, seat material, etc. But thankfully for all of us that do fly economy, safety is standardized for all. So you can be jealous of the first classers’ comfy chairs and champagne, but no need to envy their safety.
The Real Reason They Dim the Lights
During the night the flight crew dims the lights to give the passengers some semblance of night and day even when crossing multiple time zones. But have you ever noticed that even if it’s midday, the crew dims the lights during takeoff and landing? As it turns out, there’s a real reason for that. It’s to give the passengers a chance to develop some night vision.
Why does it matter whether passengers have night vision? Well, the takeoff and the landing are the most dangerous parts of the flight, meaning the parts that something is most likely to go wrong. If something does happen, and emergency procedures need to happen, then it’s better if every traveler can see where they’re going and what they’re doing.
The Reason Flight Attendants Put Their Hands Behind Their Back
When you step onto the plane, you’ll notice that there is always a smiling flight attendant at the threshold greeting you. But have you ever noticed that they always have their hands behind their back. It’s not just a formality or some artifact of flight crew etiquette. It has a real function. As the passengers board the plane, the crew conducts a head count.
It might look weird to people if the flight attendant greeted as they held up their fingers to keep count. So keeping track with the fingers happens behind the back, out of sight of the passengers. As a side note, we should remark that it must take some serious multitasking skills to be able to greet and smile, say hello, and keep count at the same time.
Flight Attendants Can’t Share Food or Drinks
Apparently, airlines forbid (or at least strongly advise against) their flight staff sharing any food or beverages with each other. It’s known that this is a pretty easy way to transmit germs to someone else and they want to avoid their employees getting sick, especially mid-flight.
All flight attendants are keenly aware of the perils of sharing food with each other, so they just don’t do it. No one wants to get food poising or get infected by someone else’s cooties. Usually, members of the flight crew avoid this outcome altogether and simply bring their own food.