Flight Crew And Pilots Share Secrets Passengers Might Not Know

When it comes to just about anything, people like to know the insider secrets, and with travel, that seems to be especially true. Travel hacks, the best secret destinations to visit, how to save the most money—whatever it is, people want to know.

Flying is no exception to that. You’re putting your trust in this giant flying machine and the people running it, hoping that you get where you’re supposed to be going, so it’s natural that you’d want to know what’s happening behind the scenes!

Planes Aren’t Just for The Living

loading shipments on plane in germany
Photo Credit: Sean Gallup/Getty Images
Photo Credit: Sean Gallup/Getty Images

“Often there will be a dead body in the cargo hold.”

“It doesn’t ‘mean’ anything other than there being a body in the cargo hold. When people die abroad they need to be transported too.”

Remember That Flight Attendants Don’t Know What’s Happening On The Ground

flight attendant on american airlines
Photo Credit: Robert Alexander/Getty Images
Photo Credit: Robert Alexander/Getty Images

“I don’t know if you are going to make your connection or not. I am in the air with you and do not have access to the reservation system, let alone wifi, so I am not lying to you when I say that you will need to speak to a gate agent upon arrival.”

Flight Attendants Are Prepared For More Than You Think

denver plane flight attendant
Photo Credit: Robert Alexander/Getty Images
Photo Credit: Robert Alexander/Getty Images

“[Flight attendants] are trained in self-defense and to defend the flight deck at all costs. We are extensively trained on how to deal with threats—verbal and physical, bomb threats, suspicious articles, dangerous goods, hijackers, and other terroristic acts. We have handcuffs on board and will use them if you need to be restrained.”

Pilots Eat During The Flight, Too

meal during flight in cockpit
Photo Credit: Reddit
Photo Credit: Reddit

“Both pilots may not eat the same meal, but they might be eating at the same time while the plane flies itself.

“They don’t eat the same meal because of food poisoning. Cases have been reported where large numbers of passengers became sick due to a seafood dish, and you’d rather not have both pilots vomiting on landing.”

Avoid Putting Things In The Seat Pocket

shot of seat pockets on plane
Photo Credit: Unsplash / Gus Ruballo
Photo Credit: Unsplash / Gus Ruballo

“I ALWAYS recommend you never, ever, ever, EVER use or put anything in the seat pocket. They are cleared of rubbish but are never ‘cleaned’.

“I have pulled out and seen all sorts been pulled out from there. Dirty tissues, sick bags, knickers, socks, people’s feet, gum, half sucked sweets, apple cores…and then next flight you go and put your phone/laptop/iPad in there.”

Skip The In-Flight Coffee

cup of coffee on plane
Photo Credit: Flickr / Martin Deutsch
Photo Credit: Flickr / Martin Deutsch

“Pilot here. Don’t drink the coffee. The water comes from the onboard system that has the fill port right next to the port the lavatories are drained from. The water system routinely fails e-coli checks.

“Also, when you wash your hands using the same water, make sure you always use the soap.”

They Play Down The Big Problems

japan airlines flight delay board
Photo Credit: KAZUHIRO NOGI/AFP via Getty Images
Photo Credit: KAZUHIRO NOGI/AFP via Getty Images

“When people ask for the reason for a delay, we usually give a made-up response because the REAL answer would spook passengers. ‘We have a minor technical problem and engineers are on their way.’ And in reality: The cabin pressure isn’t working.”

Always Wear Shoes To The Bathroom

united airline boeing dreamliner bathroom
Photo Credit: Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images
Photo Credit: Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

“Please do not ever walk into a toilet with bare feet. I promise you, 9 times out of 10, that is not water on the floor.

“The toilets are often absolutely disgusting and get deep cleaned only at the end of a route… For us, this could be from one side of the world to the other… Imagine how lovely they are at the end of a 12-hour flight with 200 people using them.”

Be Nice To The Flight Crew

filght attendant greeting passengers
Photo Credit: Unsplash / Jacky Watt
Photo Credit: Unsplash / Jacky Watt

“It means A LOT to us if a passenger actually says hello back to us and smiles. We’ll remember your face. Believe me, because we got 150+ people who usually ignore us.”

The Dim Lights Aren’t Just For Sleeping

flight in los angeles august cabin lights
Photo Credit: Bob Riha/WireImage
Photo Credit: Bob Riha/WireImage

“When a plane is landing at night, they dim the interior lights in case you need to evacuate upon landing… your eyes are already adjusted to the darkness, so you’ll be able to see better once outside the plane.”

The Seatbelt Sign Isn’t A Suggestion

photo of seatbelt sign on plane at denver airport
Photo Credit: Robert Alexander/Getty Images
Photo Credit: Robert Alexander/Getty Images

“The seatbelt sign is not just for show. It can be frustrating, but honestly, it’s on for a reason. Either it’s a critical phase of flight where emergency situations are most probable, or the captain is expecting rough air.”

Duct Tape Isn’t Just For Home Repairs

tape on plane wing
Photo Credit: Reddit / Caesar100
Photo Credit: Reddit / Caesar100

“You’d be amazed at the number of screws that are allowed to be missing. Also, I’ve used speed tape and duct tape (yes, I know you’re not supposed to use duct tape on planes) to hold panels shut when not at a home base. The best thing I’ve ever speed taped on was a pilot’s side windshield. That was classic.”

Gate Lice Can Be Contagious, Too

departure hall of Gatwick's north terminal
Photo Credit: Oli Scarff/Getty Images
Photo Credit: Oli Scarff/Getty Images

“When everyone stands near the gate, waiting for their boarding group to call, you prevent other passengers from getting on board. Gate agents and flight attendants affectionately refer to this cloud as ‘gate lice.'”

Don’t Go Around Testing This Trick

door of airplane bathroom
Photo Credit: Aviation-images.com/Universal Images Group via Getty Images
Photo Credit: Aviation-images.com/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

“You are able to unlock airplane lavatories from the outside. There is usually a lock mechanism concealed behind the no smoking badge on the door. Just lift the flap up and slide the bolt to unlock.”

Passengers Are Often The Reason For Delays

passenger at american airlines counter
Photo Credit: Robert Alexander/Getty Images
Photo Credit: Robert Alexander/Getty Images

“One thing people definitely should know is that a surprising number 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.”

Sanitize Your Own Seat

cleaning crew on Frontier plane
Photo Credit: RJ Sangosti/The Denver Post via Getty Images
Photo Credit: RJ Sangosti/The Denver Post via Getty Images

“If you’re flying short-haul, definitely bring antibac wipes or sanitizer. A lot of airlines will have the crew ‘turnaround’ the plane, meaning they pick up your rubbish, fold your seatbelt over, file your magazines in the seat pocket, and then welcome new passengers on board.

“I have lost count of the amount of times I have had to tell people how disgusting it is to change their baby on the tray table or in a seat.”

Just Imagine The Temperature Changed

in flight call buttons
Photo Credit: Reddit
Photo Credit: Reddit

“When you ask us to change the temperature we pretend to do it. Planes are generally colder because if we hit turbulence warm temps will make the chances of someone puking much higher. No idea why.”

You’re Not The Only Passenger That Matters

passenger in aisle on plane
Photo Credit: Unsplash
Photo Credit: Unsplash

“I’m there for your safety, so if you hear a PA asking if there is a doctor onboard and cabin crew running around to a passenger with an oxygen bottle, that is not the time to be asking for a coke…I’m a little busy.”

We’re All Just Along For The Ride

portuguese airline flight attendant
Photo Credit: Sebastian Kahnert/picture alliance via Getty Images
Photo Credit: Sebastian Kahnert/picture alliance via Getty Images

“Your flight today could be my 5th, and I’ve been on the clock for 12 hours and I want nothing else than to get home/to my layover.

“Please don’t take out your traveling frustrations on me or my coworkers. It’s not my fault that TSA sucks, there is weather in the northeast, or that there’s a broken part of the plane. We’re just along for the ride too.”

Your Phone Isn’t Going To Cause The Plane To Crash

guy using phone on plane
Photo Credit: Unsplash / Daniel McCullough
Photo Credit: Unsplash / Daniel McCullough

“Mobile electronic devices won’t really bring an airplane down, but they can be really annoying to pilots. Just imagine sitting in the flight deck descending to your destination and hearing the interference of 100+ cellphones picking up a signal.”