Top 10 Secrets Flight Attendants Don’t Want You to Know
These secrets flight attendants don't want you to know might make you consider driving or taking a boat to your next vacation spot.
These tidbits aren’t in the preflight presentation. Welcome to WatchMojo.com and today we’ll be counting down the top 10 secrets flight attendants don’t want you to know.
For this list, we’ll be going over the lesser known facts about air travel that the airlines and their employees don’t exactly broadcast.
#10: You Can Ask for More Food
We all know that most airplane food isn’t going to be winning any awards for culinary excellence—or even a basic taste. However, some long flights can leave you feeling ready and willing to eat just about anything. What you may not know is that, because the food is pre-made, it spoils soon after and anything left over is going to be thrown away after the flight; meaning that, if you’re feeling especially hungry, you can ask for more. It will prevent the food from going to waste and fill your belly at the same time, so win-win.
#9: “Fragile” Containers Get Tossed Around Like the Rest
Transporting any kind of cargo on planes can be tough, but it can be especially tough when what you’re bringing is easily broken. While our expectations are that if we label our container as fragile that it will be strapped down or stored safely to prevent jostling, the reality is that it gets thrown around like everything else in the cargo bay. Labeling a container as “fragile” only indicates to human handlers that the item should be handled with care—the plane has no such ability. In the end, all we can do is pack it with soft surroundings and hope for the best.
Popular wisdom suggests not drinking the water when visiting a foreign country, but the same holds true for the plane you may take to get there. The water tanks on airplanes often build up residue and have a higher than average percentage of bacteria compared to the standard levels found in most drinking water. While few cases of people getting sick from airline water have been proven, it’s still probably better to err on the side of caution and avoid water—and anything made from it, like tea or coffee —unless it comes from a bottle.
#7: Complimentary Items Are Reused
Flight attendants usually dole out free or inexpensive items to use while onboard. These include pillows, blankets, and some kind of headphones. One of the reasons they’re so willing to give them away is that the items are often recycled from previous flights, which means they’re not always cleaned thoroughly. Even the items that come prepackaged have often been used by prior passengers. So the next time you’re offered something, you might want to think twice about who may have used it before you, and whether or not you want to stick it in your ears.
#6: Changing Tray Tables
You may want to leave your tray tables in their full and upright position after this. Though typically used for their intended purpose, there are those who use travel tables for a more unconventional activity: changing diapers. While it would naturally be more sanitary to change diapers elsewhere, some parents or guardians prefer convenience over courtesy—though there are, no doubt, occasional emergencies. This habit has likely contributed to tray tables having 8 times more bacteria than the bathroom flush buttons. Gross.
If you’ve ever gotten the feeling that your pilot isn’t being entirely truthful over the loudspeaker, you may be right. Pilots often lie about any problems they encounter or else repackage the issue in less alarming language. This is done to prevent passengers from panicking about something, as it’s better that they stay calm than for them to worry about something they can’t do anything to fix. Having a bunch of people freaking out in a metal box up in the sky isn’t good for anyone.
#4: Flight Durations Are Inflated
If aviation technology has increased in efficiency and speed, then why have flight times increased too? Simple—padding. Airlines overestimate how long flights will take to give themselves more leeway if any unexpected delays crop up, but this also means that they’ll extend the time they take intentionally in order to stay “on time” instead of “ahead of time.” While all that time spent taxiing on the runway is frequently the result of a high volume of planes, it can also be because airlines are trying to stick to their schedule—no matter how inconvenient it is for the passengers.
We can understand the urge to kick back and relax on flights; they take ages, so why not settle in and get comfortable? Well, because, airplanes are absolutely filthy. Chances are, someone threw up at least once where you want to put your feet. Now, granted, the airlines do clean their planes, so the grime and gunk may not be visible, but it’s definitely there. Also, these cleanings are usually cosmetic, since planes are only cleaned thoroughly about once a month—and with how many people that use them during that period, it’s best not to get too comfortable.
#2: Oxygen Masks Don’t Last Long
Though a merciful few of us ever need to use them—let alone see them—the thought of oxygen masks being there is a somewhat comforting one should something go wrong. What the preflight instructions don’t tell you though, is that the amount of oxygen onboard most flights will only last 15 minutes, at most. While this may seem like a small amount, you can breathe easy, as this is usually enough time for the pilot to bring the plane to a lower altitude, where additional oxygen isn’t necessary.
Given that it’s mostly stowed below our feet, we never know what kind of cargo is coming along for the ride with us. As it turns out, it can be rather morbid, a lot of the time. Flights are often used to transport dead bodies, as people often die away from home; necessitating transport for burial. Planes are also used to transport human organs for transplants, since it’s often cheaper, and faster, than shipping them overland. So, while it may be unsettling knowing there’s a dead body or body parts on your flight, try to think about instead how they’re going to where they’re needed.