Here’re 20 Dirty Secrets The Airlines Don’t Want You To Know

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Sep 03 2014
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If you suffer from a fear of flying, you probably shouldn’t read this article. And if you’re about to enroll in a course which will end up in the aviation industry, you probably should read this to correct the perception that a career as flight attendant or pilot is the gloriest job on planet Earth. But if you’re a person who treasure cleaniness above your own life, then reading this may make you not to fly again, ever.


Below hidden secrets were dug from Reddit discussions which saw feedback from flight attendants, pilots and frequent fliers. In actual fact, flying is not much different from taking a bus. Instead of bus drivers and conductors, they slapped fancy titles called pilots and flight attendants, with gorgeous and sexy uniforms thrown in and voila, they look like heroes flying Star Treks.


{ 1 }  The Captain Has The Highest Authority

Airlines Dirty Secret - The Captain Has The Highest Authority

Once the plane’s door is closed, the captain is the king, with the ultimate authority. While the captain can’t actually arrest by way of hand-cuffing you, he or she can put you in constraints for the authorities to pick up or arrest you once on the ground – if you give problem which in the pilot’s judgement, endanger the safety of people on board the plane. So, think before you joke about terrorists or bombs.



{ 2 }  Dim Lights Are For Evacuation, Not Disco

Airlines Dirty Secret - Dim Lights Are For Evacuation, Not Disco

Do you know why the interior lights are dimmed when a plane you’re travelling on is landing at night? It’s definitely not for you to relax, let alone a preparation for party or disco. In actual fact, it’s a preparation for evacuation, should the need arises. The logic is pretty simple – dim lights means your eyes are adjusted to darkness, so you’ll be able to see better once outside the plane. So, stop dancing and singing when they dim the lights.



{ 3 }  Lavatory Can Be Unlock From The Outside

Airlines Dirty Secret - Lavatory Can Be Unlock From The Outside

Is your kid or love one locked inside the plane’s toilet for too long that you’re about to break down the door? There’s a simpler and less painful way though – there’s a secret mechanism concealed behind the no-smoking badge on the door. Just lift the flap up and slide the bolt to unlock.



{ 4 }  The Oxygen Mask Has Only 15-Minutes Of Supply

Airlines Dirty Secret - The Oxygen Mask Has Only 15-Minutes Of Supply

If the oxygen masks drop down (not sure if it ever happen in ill-fated flight MH370), you only have about 15 minutes of oxygen from the point of pulling them down. However, that is more than enough time for the pilot to take the plane to a lower altitude where you can breathe normally, and finds the nearest airport to land. There’re tons of rumours and speculations how MH370 was deliberately flown to extreme high altitude to knock out passengers.



{ 5 }  You’re Breathing Engine Air

Airlines Dirty Secret - You're Breathing Engine Air

The air that you breathe on were most definitely not imported from Swiss mountains but is actually compressed air from the plane’s engine. Well, technically, it’s not the air from the engine’s exhaust but filtered and treated air (about 50%) which is re-circulated. Of course the re-circulation doesn’t loop endlessly but gets its replenishment from outside-air.



{ 6 }  Nobody Washes Those Blankets

Airlines Dirty Secret - Nobody Washes Those Blankets

The next time the beautiful flight attendant pass you the nicely folded blanket which you thought should be cleaner than the one at home, think again. Just like some cheapo motels, those blankets (and pillows) on the plane have been re-used again, and again, and again. The only lucky passengers who get blankets which were properly washed were those taking the first flight in the morning in a provisioning city.



{ 7 }  Your Food Tray Could Have Poo On It

Airlines Dirty Secret - Your Food Tray Could Have Poo On It

Some passengers changed their baby’s diapers with sticky yucky poo-poo laid on those trays; the same one you use to put your food on, and the same one where you dropped your peanuts only to pick it up before putting into your mouth. And don’t dream about them clean it, let alone sanitize it. The flight attendants are “too busy” to do a proper sanitization, although the truth is they never want to do it.



{ 8 }  The Earphones – Nobody Washes Those Either

Airlines Dirty Secret - The Earphones - Nobody Washes Those Either

Just like those neatly folded blankets and supposedly clean food trays, nobody actually washes or cleans the earphones which they hand out freely during your flights. Heck, you should consider yourself lucky if the flight attendants care to put those re-used earphones back into a plastic bag and seal it. And you probably wouldn’t know how dirty those earphones were.



{ 9 }  Flights Attendants Use Their Phone All The Time

Airlines Dirty Secret - Flights Attendants Use Their Phone All The Time

Remember how the cabin crew or the captain always remind you to switch off your mobile and any other electronic gadgets during the flight? Well, don’t bother because right after that announcement, they go to the back, pull out their smartphone and start texting, facebooking and twittering like crazy – for as long as they can until the signal coverage is totally out (*grin*).



{ 10 }  Pilots Routinely Doze Off While They’re Flying

Airlines Dirty Secret - Pilots Routinely Doze Off While They're Flying

You may not like it, but based on a survey in the UK, Norway and Sweden, between 43% to 54% of pilots admitted to having fallen asleep while flying passenger plane. If that was not enough to scare the hell out of you, a third of them stated that they woke up to find that their copilot had also been sleeping!! Can you imagine your flight without auto-pilot feature (*grin*)?



{ 11 }  People Steal Life Jackets, All The Time

Airlines Dirty Secret - People Steal Life Jackets, All The Time

If you think people just steal spoons, forks, magazines, earphones, blankets, pillows or perhaps toilet papers, think again. Do not underestimate people’s creativity when comes to stealing souvenirs. Although it’s a punishable offence, life jackets do get stolen all the time. So, it pays to check if your life vest is there, before your flight takes off.



{ 12 }  You Can Ask To Be Upgraded To First Class After Takeoff

Airlines Dirty Secret - You Can Ask To Be Upgraded To First Class After Takeoff

Be different and be smart, it could pay off handsomely. Instead of wearing hoodie or T-shirt which you couldn’t remember when you last washed it, wear like a CEO who is about to give a press conference. It helps very much if you look like Tom Cruise too. Yes, you can ask to be upgraded to first class but it does not always succeed, primarily because they need to do paper work justifying why they did it, not to mention the need to provide extra meal for you. Still, you can try “bribe” them with a box of chocolate.



{ 13 }  Flight Attendants Sometimes Deliberately Withhold Your Dinner

Airlines Dirty Secret - Flight Attendants Sometimes Deliberately Withhold Your Dinner

This happens mostly on night flight where flight attendants (sometimes) deliberately drag their feet in serving you dinner. The objective of the mission is simple – so that more and more passengers will fall asleep, and they have less work to do. Gosh, they are so evil, aren’t they?



{ 14 }  Pilots Get Served Different Meals, In Case One Makes Them Sick

Airlines Dirty Secret - Pilots Get Served Different Meals, In Case One Makes Them Sick

Unlike Russian supremo Vladimir Putin who has sacrificial lambs to test his food for poisons, pilots do not have such luxury. But they do have an ingenious plan though – two pilots are served different meals and cannot share. Hence if one is down with food poisoning, the other can save the day.



{ 15 }  Don’t Drink Plane’s Water, It’s Super Dirty

Airlines Dirty Secret - Don't Drink Plane's Water, It's Super Dirty

Unless the water you requested from flight attendants come in a bottle, don’t ever drink it. We repeat – dont’s “DRINK or TOUCH” it. That’s because tests done from 14 different flights tap water found bacteria levels “hundreds of times” above US government limits. The reason – ports to purge lavatory shit and refill the aircraft with potable water are within feet from each other and sometimes serviced all at once by the same guy (*yuck*).



{ 16 }  You Can Ask For A Whole Can Of Coke

Airlines Dirty Secret - You Can Ask For A Whole Can Of Coke

Due to cost-cutting, flight attendants wouldn’t give everybody a whole can of Coke, but instead a small cup of it. And they enjoy watching you fighting for that couple of tablespoons of soda. Well, the next time you feel like being short-changed, ask “politely” for the damn can of Coke, rather than asking repetitively for refills later. Most of the time, they have no reason to reject your request.



{ 17 }  Your Flight’s Pilots Could Be The Lowest Paid

Airlines Dirty Secret - Your Flight's Pilots Could Be The Lowest Paid

The job of a pilot is not as glory as they try to make you believe. Some airlines don’t pay pilots or flight attendants for cancelled flights. And don’t be surprise to learn pilots who get paid only US$20,000 a year are flying your flight. It will probably take another 20-years to earn a cool US$100,000. Yeah, come to think of it, they are not much difference from commission-based bus drivers who rush their trip.



{ 18 }  Don’t Leave Batteries In Your Vibrators

Airlines Dirty Secret - Don't Leave Batteries In Your Vibrators

Fleet Service Agent or commonly known as “Ramp Agent” is a person who loads and unloads your baggage. And if you really need to pack vibrators (mostly dildo), make sure the batteries are taken out. Otherwise, they would read out your name and flight information for you to step out of the plane and open your bag, because your vibrators went off. You get to do that in the presence of 6-7 other ramp agents grinning and watching, while you pull out all sorts of vibrators.


{ 19 }  Passenger At The Last Seat Could Be A Criminal / Refugee

Airlines Dirty Secret - Passenger At The Last Seat Could Be A Criminal or Refugee

If there are people who get deported, they are put in the last row of seats. If they’re dangerous crimical, they are accompanied by some sort of air marshall sitting next to him. If they don’t pose a substantial threat they will be unaccompanied and look like regular passengers. Either case, they will usually enter the plane through the back doors. So, next time you’re sitting next to a sketchy person in the last row, you know who they are.



{ 20 }   You Wouldn’t Know If A Bomb Threat Happens In The Middle Of Ocean

Airlines Dirty Secret - You Wouldn't Know If A Bomb Threat Happens In The Middle Of Ocean

If there’s a bomb threat on your flight, and the plane is flying over the middle of the Pacific, most likely you will not know it simply because the procedures say “don’t alert the passengers”. Unless there’s an air marshall on board, chances are there’s nothing much to do except for the pilots to radio back and everyone on board gets their name cross-checked for links to terrorism and prior convictions.


After 9/11 terrorists attack, any plane that is being hijacked will have little room for negotiation. If the plane lands on airport, SWAT team will storm the plane, save as many passengers as possible and shoot all the terrorists in the head – two bullets to be sure – whether they chicken out and want to surrender or otherwise. The rule is to “kill the bloody terrorists immediately”.


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