If you are afraid to fly, you might not want to read this. While air travel is, statistically, the safest way to travel, there are a lot of unnerving things that go on. Even the most seasoned flyer should beware of a few key facts. Click on to discover what they are.
15. THE LOOSE SCREWS
Apparently a few loose or absent screws is a common and acceptable occurrence. You expect to have leftover pieces when you’re putting together your furniture or a LEGO project, but a plane is a little ridiculous. Guidelines, in fact, state how many screws can be missing on each side before it is a legitimate safety concern. A plane is a shakey creature, and parts disappear all the time…
NEXT: TAKE A BREATH
14. LIMITED O2
You already know that when the cabin loses pressure, an oxygen mask will drop down. You always put yours on first, then assist others around you. Better hurry. That O2 only lasts about 15 minutes – which should be PLENTY of time for the pilots to right things again. FYI: the flight crew’s masks last a little while longer.
NEXT: DON’T DRINK THE WATER
13. BOTTLED IS BEST
There’s a reason why bottled water is available on planes. The tap is crawling with yucky bacteria. Don’t splash the sink water on your face. You may even want to avoid washing your hands and stick to hand sanitizer. You’d just be rubbing more germs on yourself.
NEXT: LIGHTNING HAPPENS
12. PROBABILITY OF LIGHTNING
Pilots can, for the most part, avoid storms, but lightning does occur. Though only about one plane per year gets struck by lightning, it doesn’t usually do enough damage to cause any harm. If you’re that worried, avoid air travel March – July.
NEXT: YOU’RE NOT THE ONLY ONE SLEEPING ON THE PLANE
11. SLEEPING ON THE JOB
It is thought that a controlled, restorative rest is way better on a flight than a fatigued pilot nodding off. These naps aren’t permitted on American flights, but it is common on other international airlines, especially on long flights. It is not as dangerous as, say, falling asleep at the wheel. Pilots only take a quick snooze if there are more than two pilots on duty at a time – that way someone is always alert and in control.
NEXT: OUT OF CONTROL
10. EVEN SCARIER ON THE JOB SNOOZING
Even scarier than pilots nodding off? Air traffic control! There have been instances where planes have had to land on their own while the air was silent the control tower snoozed. These incidences are few and far between, but you never know who’s had a hard enough shift that they just can’t keep their eyes open for another minute.
NEXT: OPEN FROM THE OUTSIDE
9. YOU WON’T GET LOCKED IN
The good news: Airplane bathrooms can be open from the outside when locked. The bad news: Airplane bathrooms can be open from the outside when locked. All scared children, ill elderly, and generally claustrophobic travelers can relax! You won’t get locked in. All mile-high-clubbers and those who are afraid of their privacy being terminated… be on alert!
NEXT: CHECK UNDER YOUR SEAT!
8. SAFETY SOUVENIR
It seems some passengers like to take a souvenir from the plane, and flotation devices are a coveted item. The cleaning crew doesn’t always notice they’re missing, so if you are flying over water, you might want to double check you have one before take-off.
NEXT: FIRST CLASS DOESN’T EVEN GET THIS
7. PERKS OF THE PILOT
Airline food is generally not a sought after delicacy. All sorts of disgusting things have been found in airline meals. Thankfully, you can rest assured your pilot won’t get sick from it: they get something better. Not even first class gets this perk…
6. PLAYING BY DIFFERENT RULES
Something to keep in mind. In the last ten years, almost all the US airline fatalities were in regional airlines. Regional commuter airlines are really subcontractors that don’t necessarily adhere to the same regulations, maintenance schedules or experience levels as their “parent partners.” All pilots have extensive training, but they might not have as much experience as someone flying commercial planes.
NEXT: WHAT YOU DON’T NEED TO KNOW
5. NEED TO KNOW BASIS
Passengers aren’t necessarily informed of bomb threats on board an aircraft. Evidence shows a large majority of these threats are false, so the authorities never want to cause unnecessary alarm or panic. Even your pilot could be in the dark.
NEXT: FRESHNESS NOT GUARANTEED
4. GERM COLLECTIONS
Pillows and blankets may look fresh or brand new in their wrapping, but these comfort items are often reused several times before washing. Think twice before rubbing your face on these, as you never know what they are crawling with.
NEXT: MORE BRING YOUR OWN SUGGESTIONS
3. BYOW (BRING YOUR OWN WIPES)
Your tray table isn’t always wiped down between flights. What could the passenger before you have done? Changed a diaper, sneezed, spilled food. It’s always safer to bring some wipes of your own and give the tray and arm rests a good scrub before liftoff.
NEXT: NOT FOR YOUR USE
2. IN CASE OF PANIC: HOLD HANDLE
Have you ever noticed those excessively large handles beside airplane doors? Always thinking of contingencies, airplane designers were kind enough to install grab bars here. In case of a chaotic evacuation, flight attendants need something to hold onto as panicked passengers push past them.
NEXT: FOR YOUR EYES ONLY
1. ADJUSTING TO DARKNESS
Not to trouble your sleep, but I must confess: when you fly at night and the flight crew dims the lights, it is NOT to help you nod off. In case of emergency or evacuation, the flight crew needs your eyes to be adjusted to the dark. Dimming the lights takes care of this for you. It’s not a courtesy for your comfort – that’s just a bonus!