While the invention of the airplane has helped to bring the world together and is absolutely necessary for many people to do their jobs, even frequent flyers may miss some of the secrets lurking aboard the planes they ride. Here are 12 things about your airplane experience you may not have known, from the most knowledgeable people aboard the planes you ride- the flight attendants themselves.
1. Steer Clear of the Water!
Because the water for drinks comes from the same water tanks used every flight, and because those tanks are rarely cleaned, you should avoid coffee, tea, and water on your next flight. And every flight after that, too. Attendants report that sometimes the water tanks go so long without cleaning that visible grime builds up.
2. The Attendants Hate Waiting As Much As You
Flight attendants make money off of their flight time- they get paid for the hours they do their job in the air. If you’re stuck on the tarmac checking bags and delayed for hours, while they may get an expense allowance, attendants are wishing for the take off as much as you are.
3. Be a Generous Guest…
Because they make so little money, you can brighten the day of the flight crew a few ways. An easy way is to tip a fiver or more; they may refuse the money at first because their taking tips is looked down upon by the Airlines and Association of Flight Attendants, but ask again and they’ll probably take it thankfully. If you want to give something else, bring some upscale chocolates to hand out to the crew- they don’t get much variety in their sweet treats, and would love the shake up.
4. …And You May Be Repaid
While you should be nice to the crew because they deserve it, the fact is that flight attendants have been known to be more attentive, give free drinks, or even upgrade generous flights for their kindness. Don’t expect it, but you may get it for being nice.
5. Don’t Press That Button!
Just because the “Call” button exists doesn’t mean you should use it. The flight attendant will get to you in time, and if you fill impatient enough to press the button before it’s your turn in the rotation, you may earn the ire of the attendants.
6. Share the Wealth
You may feel bashful about your recent engagement, wedding, anniversary, or baby announcement. Don’t be! Attendants love when exciting things happen on their flight, and they can add to your festivities by announcing the celebration over the intercom in addition to freebies.
7. The Fun and Risks of a Mile High Ride
According to flight attendants, having in-air fun in the restroom isn’t illegal, but you do have to follow the commands an attendant gives- so if they ask you to leave the restroom because you’ve caused a line, you (and the other person) have to leave. Some in flight restrooms also have a hidden unlocking mechanism under the no smoking sign, so you may be caught in the act!
8. No Sharing Food You Two
To avoid losing both pilots to illness from food poisoning, the pilot and co-pilot have their own meals that they can’t share with one another.
9. Sleepy Time for Pilot
Due to the advances in auto-pilot features, most pilots and co-pilots will spend up to half the flight sleeping in their cozy cockpits.
10. No Such Thing As Extreme Turbulence
While you might have felt turbulence on a flight before, the rules and procedures regarding “extreme turbulence” are so severe that few pilots will ever report experiencing it, even if an attendant is hurt due to turbulence.
11. Electronics Aren’t So Bad
They won’t bring the plane down, but too many on at once can cause interference for the equipment.
12. All Miles, No Money
Flight attendants make very little money (starting at 16k-18k) so appreciate them for their work and these tips next time you fly!