Every three seconds, a plane somewhere in the world is taking off into the sky and heading towards a new adventure and destination. Since Wilbur and Orville Wright’s successful flight in North Carolina, air travel has become the most common way for people to travel the world. Air travel has a dark side; there have been tragedies from airplane crashes due to natural causes and terrorist attacks, which have made numerous travelers wary of getting into a large plane and flying at 35,000 feet. But, whether you’re afraid or brave, there’s no doubt that air travel has become such a fundamental part of human society that it’s likely unavoidable for most of us. Air travel has made the world more accessible to society and isn’t going anywhere anytime soon.
With so many people traveling by air, it can be easy to miss some shocking facts about airplanes, let alone even think about the mechanics and production that go into preparing a plane for takeoff. For people who may travel as part of their job, it’s a daily process. For flight attendants and pilots, it’s a way of life.
From the weird standards of hiring flight attendants, to human and drug trafficking, there’s never a dull day in the life of air travel. The airport is a no man’s land; in a moment you can meet a new person, and the next moment, they’ve sped off into another direction to another life. The process of flying often maintains that same air of intrigue. There can be some boring and mundane aspects of air travel, but there are a few fascinating things about the unknown parts of the airline industry. Here’s a list of the top ten shocking facts about airplanes and air travel; some of these facts are fun and interesting, while others just might save your life on your next airplane ride.
10. Beverages Taste Better In The Air
Why does it seem that people drink more tomato juice and ginger ale on an airplane? Well, many people might order the ginger ale more often in the air than in their regular life because it’s right there on the cart and in their face, but it might also be because ginger ale is a good remedy for nausea. For those who feel airsick, ginger ale is the go-to beverage. But people have also argued that ginger ale just tastes better on an airplane. You know what else tastes better in a higher altitude? Tomato juice! And there’s a scientific explanation for it. When we’re in a low-pressure environment (like in an airplane), our senses have a higher threshold and can taste the sweetness of the tomato better.
9. Flight Attendants = Love At First Flight
Yes, it may be creepy, but it’s true. Research shows that people fall in love-at-first-sight with flight attendants more than any other profession (even waitresses or strippers). Perhaps it’s the flight attendant’s ability to make you feel like the only person in the world, and the fact that they act as just about everything in the air – nurse, waiter or waitress and concierge. Or perhaps it’s their mysterious allure, the fact that you only know them by their first name and uniform? Or maybe it’s the uniform.
8. Airlines Have Bizarre Money-Saving Methods
In an increasingly competitive industry, airlines have to decide where they need to cut costs so that they can make up for some of that lost money. American Airlines made a simple, yet extremely effective cost-cutting decision by eliminating one olive from their salads and actually saved $40,000. Unless you fly with American often and you love olives, it was probably a change that you didn’t notice. I’m sure most of us would take missing olives over lower baggage fees any day! One budget European airline, Ryanair, have made headlines with their stingy approach, charging huge amounts for the convenience of having your boarding pass printed at the airport and, on some flights, banning even hand luggage to cut down on fuel consumption. It’s been reported that the same airline has plans to develop ‘standing’ tickets and a charge for on-board toilet use…
7. Airplanes Actually Have Cleaner Air
One of the biggest concerns with getting on an aircraft is getting sick. In fact, there are myths that all the air you’re breathing in is unfiltered and recycled. Which would mean that you’re taking a big whiff of everyone’s germs! But that isn’t the case. The air on an airplane is probably the cleanest air you’ll ever breath, as it’s filtered with the same technology that is used to filter the air in hospitals. Of course being in close quarters means that germs are still an issue, but at least you can ‘breathe easy’…
6. Take-offs and Landings Are Riskiest
The likelihood of a plane crash to happen during your flight is actually pretty minimal. But there are times where a plane could be more vulnerable to crash, and you should stay alert. In the first 3 minutes of take off and the last 8 minutes of descent and landing. Which means, that you probably shouldn’t zone out and fall asleep as soon as you get on the plane, and when you get that warning that you’re approaching your arrival city, perk up! Of course you’re more likely to get killed by a donkey than a plane crash but better to be safe than sorry.
5. Pilots Fall Asleep
Yes, you read that right. Pilots will actually fall asleep during their flights, and it happens more often than you think. But guess what? Planes have a version of cruise control where it can be set and the pilots can back off – and there’s a co-pilot, obviously. Of course, we would like to think that it’s one pilot at a time falling asleep, but there have been reports of pilots waking up and finding their co-pilots dozing off as well…
4. Turbulence Isn’t That Bad – But It’s Getting Worse
One of the most frightening experiences on an airplane is turbulence. The pilot tells you to get back in your seat and buckle up, and the plane starts to shake. Turbulence isn’t as dramatic as the shakes may feel, but you better buckle up because one of the leading causes of death on an airplane is from people not wearing their seat belt during rough turbulence. Also, if you think turbulence is getting worse, you’re right. Reports have been showing that due to the amount of carbon dioxide building in the atmosphere, turbulence is getting worse and will continue to do so.
3. You’re Allowed to Join The Mile-High Club
So, you can jump for joy, scratch your head, or wince in disgust, but there actually aren’t any rules against joining the Mile High Club. However, if you and your friend are taking up too much time in the bathroom, causing a line to form, you may be asked by a flight attendant to get out and sit down. If you ignore your flight attendant’s instructions, then that is breaking a major rule and you could be fined and/or arrested.
2. Pilots Eat Differently
You might have even less confidence in that dreaded plate of questionable airline food when you learn that it isn’t eaten by the pilots. For a long while, there have been running jokes about the quality of airline food and how it could make you sick, and there might actually be something to this: Pilots are required to eat different meals than the passengers, that are prepared differently, and the reason for it is to minimise the chance of the pilot falling ill while in the air. Maybe instead of skipping just that one expensive olive, you should skip the whole salad?
1. Dead Bodies…
Believe it or not, because of the rising costs of transporting a dead body on an airplane, people have tried rather crafty ways to get a dead body on a plane without being noticed. “Weekend At Bernie’s” might spring to mind… What’s even wilder is that flight attendants experience this on a regular basis and they know how to detect a dead body. So if the person sitting next to you is a bit stiff and smells funny, you might want to hit that call button.
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