18 Airline Employees Were Asked: 'What Are Secrets Passengers Don't Know?'
Flying is by far the biggest hurdle of any vacation. Even if you bypass check-in and security with no hassle you're bound to experience some sort of panic once you're on the plane. I mean, a large metal object flying through the air isn't the most relaxing thought. In anticipation of the next big flight many people scavenge the internet for tips and tricks to make the most of the experience.
People who work for airlines were asked on Reddit: "What are secrets passengers don't know?" The following answers are the sole opinions of Redditors and should be treated as such.
1. There is a small latch hidden inside the lavatory sign on the bathroom door, which will open the door when pulled, even when it's locked. Airplane Peekaboo!
2. Almost every commercial flight you ride on has a dead body on board.
3. If you checked your dog there's about a 30% chance it's terrified before it even gets on the plane, who knows how scared it gets during the actual flight. Bag room agents will usually try to comfort a scared animal, but all we can really do is talk to it, so if you write your pet's name on their carrier it usually helps a lot.
I've never seen a cat who was scared in the bag room, cats don't give a fuck.
4. Don't get pissy if we're delayed even though the weather at your departure and destination airports is perfectly fine. You're flight could very well be traversing thousands of miles and, newsflash: lots of shitty weather could be happening in between. Every so often you get massive systems that can split almost the entire country in half. Navigating around those can be tricky, and could require us to take a much longer route potentially requiring a very annoying fuel stop. It's pretty insulting when this is the case and passengers come up to us demanding we leave since the weather is "fine". If ya'll want to fly through a supercell thunderstorm that's spitting out hail and tornadoes, by all means, go steal the plane and do it yourself, see how that works out.
5. You get more customer protections buying directly from the airline. All those third party travel sites are owned by the same company, and you lose a lot of the rights afforded to you in the airlines contract of carriage.
6. Employees and their families get "ID tickets" (ID is for "industry discount"), which means they only pay taxes and fees and nothing for the actual ticket.
The airlines basically lets them fly for free. And not just with their own airline, but with every airline in any alliance. The tickets are stand-by tickets, so you're not guaranteed to get on board, but you get a seat more often than not. The family members can travel on these tickets without the employee.
7. Paramedic here. If you switch on your alarm lights on the ambulance while being on the inner field of the airport (because...well you just get there sometimes) they will totally shut down all incoming and outgoing flights until they know exactly what's going on. My Buddy learned this the hard way. Needless to say people got mad at him...
8. Usually the only time you get a hotel (per the contracts) is if it is blatantly the airlines fault. You will almost never get put in a hotel due to cancellations due to weather. That's beyond the airline's control. ALWAYS PLAN YOUR TRIPS AROUND THE WEATHER IF YOU CAN ESPECIALLY IN THE WINTER.
9. You know how all the other armrests can be raised except for the one next to the aisle?
Turns out that one can be raised as well via a small button in a divot on the underside of the armrest. Useful if you want to spread out a bit more, though some flight attendants may tell you to put it back in place.
10. Planes don't fly themselves any more than a car with adaptive cruise control (or the Tesla for that matter) drives itself.
11. 2 pilots are served different meals and cannot share, this is done in case of food poisoning.
12. Locks on zippered bags are useless. You can pop a zipper with a pen and drag the locked zipper pulls around the bag to close them back up. I've done this many times to identify bags that are tagless and locked.
13. That there's a huge list of things that can be missing from the aircraft while still being allowed to fly.
14. Turbulence CAN NOT bring down a plane. Period. It is thought to have only ever possibly perhaps maybe happened ONCE in the whole history of aviation.
15. The coffee is absolutely disgusting because the no one washes the container that goes out every morning. The station agents who get paid way too little don't give a shit about cleaning it. I certainly didn't when I worked for AA.
16. My partner worked for Delta for about 4 years as one of the guys who loads and unloads your luggage and waves wands. Nothing is safe in those bags. They pop open all the time and your shit just gets haphazardly shoved back in. They get tossed around like volleyballs.
17. The terms "pilot and copilot" are extremely misunderstood and matter of fact rarely ever used in the industry. First off, the "copilot" (more accurately First Officer) as many people believe otherwise, is every bit as capable and experienced (in some cases maybe more) than the "pilot" (ie Captain). He's not (usually) the blithering idiot as shown in that one Denzel Washington movie. He has essentially the same authority as the captain, and they work as a team. News outlets love to say "the pilot did this, the pilot did that" and they always forget there's a TEAM in the cockpit, the pilotS. It's not a case of one guy more work than the other. We take turns flying. One guy flies out, one guy flies back or some other agreement.
18. Flight attendants have a list of who is who and what seat they are in. As well as what level of frequent flyer they happen to be. Or if they are employees or family and friends tickets. This is why you will see them being rude to someone or bending over backwards for jerks.
We are told that, if you're not confident, you should just "fake it til you make it."
This is great--in theory. In practice, sometimes "faking it" can have extremely real and terrible consequences, which these people found out the hardest of hard ways.