Flying around the world is not nearly as big of a deal now as it was fifty years ago. With all the innovation and progress in aviation technology, it has now become very convenient and economical for the common man to fly anywhere now. However, with the constant media coverage on missing planes, terrorist attacks, inebriated pilots, and more - it almost seems like a game of Russian Roulette when boarding a plane.
With that being said, there are a few hidden secrets to flying you may be unaware of and probably may not want to know; however, now you will. If you feel that you can handle the truth, continue reading below.
The complimentary headphones, blankets, and pillows that you receive are not always clean. On some flights, those items may have been given to another patron on the previous flight. And no, often, they are not cleaned at all between flights. They're simply recollected after the conclusion of one flight and distributed on the next one. Yuck!
Those emergency yellow oxygen masks that drop down can sustain you for just fifteen minutes from when they drop down, as set by the Federal Aviation Administration. Within this time, the pilot can bring the plane down to an altitude that does not require an oxygen mask.
You may have devoured your in-flight meals, cranked out some emails, or even slept on it. The most unsanitary part of the airplane is the place you utilize the most during your flight - the tray table. Sources claim the tray table has far more bacteria than an airplane toilet!
Flight attendants don't get paid until the doors to the plane close. In a way, this can be good news for you because it motivates flight attendants to get you into your seat and get the flight off the ground as soon as possible. Consider this a hidden benefit.
Half of pilots are asleep 33% of the time in flight. Thanks to autopilot, they can get a bit of shut-eye. This occurs more so for longer international flights. There is nothing for you to worry about since emergencies don't happen without sufficient alarm signals.
Lavatory doors can be opened from the outside. Don't be surprised, but the doors to the lavatories can be opened from the outside as well, even after you lock it from inside. This is a safety feature in case someone collapses inside. The 'no smoking' plate on the door hides the knob, which can open a locked door.
Coming straight from the mouth of a former cargo employee of Lufthansa, the pipes carrying potable water and the pipes leading away from the drainage from the lavatories are side by side. Most of the time, the tanks containing potable water are not maintained at all for the entire age of the plane, which makes your simple cup of coffee or tea, a vile concoction.
Luggage locks do not protect your bags or suitcases. Airport staff are instructed to check untagged bags by opening them with a pen or a sharp point and then close them along the zipper.
Airplanes are a common method of human trafficking. This is one of the darkest secrets of airline travel. However, flight attendants and staff have been trained to pay attention to any incidents of suspected human trafficking.
It's nearly impossible to beat an airline in court. Many have tried, few have won. Airline tickets are treated like contracts that include many stipulations, such as the fact that they are not obligated to take you to the destination you booked, tickets are not exchangeable, and the amenities on your flight are subject to removal at their sole discretion.
While this phenomenon is often unreported, theft by TSA agents is more common than you might think. The TSA has been known to detain individuals for reasons they deem not 'flight-worthy' or 'unsafe' and pocket the items after work.
Lightning strikes airplanes when flying. Although there have been no casualties, statistics show on average, each airliner will be hit by lightning at least once.
Flying for pets is no vacation. The conditions while loading and unloading are very harsh. It's hard work without earplugs to reduce noise so imagine the decibel levels your pets experience. The cargo hold of a plane is not a very pleasant place to travel in, especially when you're already in a cage.