Airline Employees Share The In-Flight Secrets That Most People Don't Know.

We'd like to think we know enough about what goes on behind the scenes on an airplane. After all, they show us that nice video with the safety demonstration before take-off. That's all we need to know, right? RIGHT???


This piece is based on an AskReddit thread. Link on the last page.

1/27. I'm a flight attendant, and Im here to tell you: NEVER take your shoes off on a plane. So many incidents occur in-flight every day that you would never see or consider.

For example, on my last trip, an elderly man accidentally ruined the flight for everybody by taking a dump on the floor! Then he stepped in it, and walked away like it had never happened.

Pee and poop happens, all over. I feel like I witness accidents pretty regularly; in seats or in the lavatory. People get nose bleeds, or their wounds open. Obviously when we land, the plane is thoroughly cleaned. But during the flight, our resources are limited.

By the way, DON'T CHANGE YOUR BABY'S DIAPER ON THE TRAY TABLE. This also happens all the time. It's unsanitary! People use the tray table to eat, put their personal things on, etc.

Lastly, it is NOT the responsibility of a flight attendant to lift your bag. There have been multiple injuries caused by flight attendants lifting heavy bags to be friendly, and then they're out of their job for months or even years. If you pack it, you lift it. If it's too heavy for you, it's too heavy for us.


2/27. There are sometimes body parts in the storage area near your luggage (when they are flying transplants to hospitals). Also, your pets are in the same area as well.


3/27. I was cabin crew for five years - long haul only - and whilst we've all passed the exams and tests and blah blah blah and we have a refresher course every year, you never really know how anyone will react in any kind of emergency until it happens. Do you? (continued...)

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Firemen and police are tested on a weekly basis, but in the five years I was crew, there was nothing I personally experienced that put any of the proper training into use, and I'd like to think I would not freeze or fall to pieces, but you just never know.

So definitely pay a bit of attention for the three minutes of the safety demo and figure out where the nearest exit and its alternative are, because you never know. You might end up having to help yourself.


4/27. In the event of a situation where passengers have to cover their heads you should not 'lock' your fingers over your head. Instead, place one hand on top of the other. That way, if something falls on your hand/head, you'll still have one good hand to use.


5/27. Yes, on trans-oceanic flights there is a cabin for crew to get some sleep. No, you won't be invited in for fun times. On some newer planes there's also a hold for people who have died on the flight. No, you won't be invited in for fun times either.

If you piss off the cabin crew they will fart on you. The pressure on aircraft makes you naturally gassy and it's easy to puff one off in the face of an annoying git while bending down to speak to someone on the opposite side of the aisle.

If a meal service is on offer go for the kosher option, so you know it was prepared that day.


6/27. You might be surprised at how frequently delays are actually caused by flight attendants not showing up and the airline scrambling to get a back-up scheduled. Like a flight attendant was partying too hard last night and decided to call off 2 hours before that $1500 cross ocean flight you just popped on.

Flight attendants are often hungover or "out of it" on flights. Even though pay is pretty, the unions make it very hard to get fired.


7/27. I just started working for an airline. Newsflash: the airplane you're flying on is probably defective in some way. (continued...)

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Obviously if it's not safe, the aircraft wont take off. But there's always something wrong with an airplane it undergoes so much stress that it can't possibly be maintained to a perfect degree.


8/27. If you're on a short or mid haul flight then most airlines just have an hour or so turnaround, for 'cleaning' and security checks, and the same crew will then man the flight home. So, you know Its pretty fast and loose.


9/27. I work on the ramp. We send full bodies on planes a lot. Some in caskets, some not. Twice in the 7 years I've been doing this "fluid" has leaked out of the boxes the bodies were in and got all over peoples luggage.


10/27. You get drunk quicker on board due to the air pressure (or something) and we don't tolerate drunken bullcrap. It's not a bar; you don't just get thrown out by the bouncer. You get off-loaded and possibly even black listed. If you're clearly loaded before we've even taken off, then chances are you're not going to be going anywhere.


11/27. We know if you're having sex in the bathroom. It happens all the time. We can also open the doors, easily, from the outside.'


12/27. If you ask to be upgraded to a better seat in economy, we will have to make you pay.

However, if you just sit down in any empty and act inconspicuous, we won't notice or care.


13/27. The shocking truth is that most US-based domestic flight attendants are only paid from the time the doors close and the plane pushes off until the plane lands and the doors open. So if it takes 45 minutes to get everyone on board and pay.


14/27. Lots of passengers panic when the flight is delayed for technical reasons or when they see the maintenance guys board the aircraft. Let me clear some stuff up. (continued...)

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If you see mechanics running around, thats actually a good thing. It just means we're aware of a problem and won't budge until it has been resolved. Much better to be aware of a problem on the ground than at 36000 feet!

The pilots do thorough pre-flight checks to make sure that everything is okay, and the engineers check the aircraft at the end of the day. Flying is safer now than it ever has been, no need to worry!


15/27. It is nearly impossible for turbulence to crash a plane (even the bad stuff). Turbulence is only dangerous because of things flying around the cabin and that includes people not wearing seat belts. Most accidents happen at take off and landing that's why we make you do all of those things before take off and landing.

The plane can move like a seesaw so seats nearest to the wings can have the least turbulence and seats farthest away will be the worst.


16/27. You might be surprised how much more radiation you're exposed to at altitude than on the ground.


17/27. Ive stopped drinking coffee, tea, or any warm beverage since I learnt they use water from the water tank. Those water tanks, by the way, are not adequately cleaned and are teeming with bacteria.


18/27. Yes, smoking really is an issue on board, please please don't do it. We're all trained in firefighting but it's still extremely dangerous to do so on board. Vaping on the other hand is completely harmless but forbidden anyway, purely because it may entice other passengers to light up real smokes.


19/27. If we're in the galley with the curtain closed, it's probably because we're sitting in our jump seat scarfing down food or rubbing our sore feet, and you make it really awkward for us if you stick your head back there and ask for another Diet Coke.


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20/27. Any child under 2 is a lap child. Any child over 2 is a child who requires a seat. While it's actually incredibly dangerous to have a baby/toddler in your lap rather than in a car seat, you can do it as long as they meet the age requirements.


21/27. We have fire axes and extremely heavy emergency equipment on board and are under orders to stop you entering the cockpit by 'any means necessary. Just saying.


22/27. DON'T say, "bomb" on an airplane. Don't even joke about it. I feel like I shouldn't need to say this, but I had a lady jokingly say that she had a bomb in her carry on, which is why it wouldn't fit in the overhead bin. DON'T. SAY. BOMB.


23/27. We now have the right to literally strap you to a chair and cuff you with a breathable net over your face if you are violent or endangering us or our passengers. I have taken these steps before and I'll gladly do it again.


24/27. Airplanes are filthy beyond all reason. People ask me if I would ever join the mile high club. No, because airplanes are so filthy I don't pee unless I absolutely have to. I don't want to catch monkey pox/bubonic plague/whatever.

Furthermore, when I see you walking into the lavatory in your socks I gag and talk about how disgusting you are with other flight attendants. You are stepping in pee.

Oh and also if I'm hassling you about something, it's only because I could get in trouble with the FAA if I don't. I personally don't care what you do as long as you don't bother me, but l can get fined for violations (items on the floor at the bulkhead, items stacked in closets, etc).


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25/27. Don't use the pillows. Bring your own. The pillows do not get cleaned. The blankets don't either.


26/27. Its tough for flight attendants to get into the cockpit since 9/11. We have a briefing before every flight and the protocol is different for every flight. It is also different for half the crew. So one half has access one way and the other half another. Only the captain (not even the 1st officer) knows who does what to gain access to cockpit.

Contrary to popular belief, there are no guns stored anywhere on an aircraft. Not even the cockpit. We have other things to handle a situation.

All the rafts are equipped with survival needs that could keep the raft occupants alive for four weeks. That's a full raft, so if it was at half capacity, its longer. Also on the raft, if anyone dies, they must be thrown overboard - no exceptions.

In a successful ditching (a rarity), the aircraft is designed to stay afloat for a minimum of 15 minutes. However the aircraft is also designed to break up on impact on the land, so the chances of a successful ditching is almost zero.

Its protocol on my airline that single men are not allowed to sit next to unaccompanied minors.


27/27. One thing people definitely should know is that a surprising amount of the delays that happen are due to passengers. Yep, passengers.

That one guy who throws a fit because he can't take four ounces of liquid through TSA and decided the gate agent was a great target to take out their wrath on caused your delay. So did that family that decided it was a great idea to bring three strollers and two car seats for their single child.

And that last delay you had that the agent told you was due to maintenance? Was thanks to some guy trying to steal a smoke alarm from the plane.




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