Flight attendants might seem like they’re only on board to hand out packets of peanuts and top off your Bloody Mary mix, but they actually know a whole lot more than we give them credit for — after all, they’re trained in everything from emergency passenger evacuation management to CPR and defibrillation. With all that time spent in the aircraft, they’re practically experts on air travel.
Leave it to Quora, then, to come up with a question that brings out the best and the worst in flight attendants’ airplane knowledge: several pitched in with answers to the question, “What do flight attendants know about flying that they don’t tell passengers?”
The answers range from the interesting to the horrifying, starting with Anya Mary’s advice on why it’s best to travel early:
One of the things, that flight attendants won’t tell you, is that morning flights are better because the air is less bumpy. Obviously, the airline wants you to book at any time of the day. There is also less chance to hit thunderstorm, as these tend to happen mostly in the afternoon. So set your alarm clock early!
Another things is that landing in the rain can be bumpier, because the plane needs to touch the runway hard to avoid aquaplaning. So next time have a rough landing, keep in mind, that although pilots are usually judged by their landing skills, hard landing is necessary and a correct, safe way to land the machine.
For some reason, a lot of people are afraid of the lightning. Did you know, that planes get struck all the time? So no need to worry. The engineers have taken care of the construction to withstand the stress.
Last but not least, turbulence is not dangerous for a plane as its construction is designed to stand the stress. For pilots it’s just another annoying obstacle and they try to avoid it in order for passengers to have stress free flight.
Ishrat Parveen debunks the tray table myth, and scares us all into keeping our seatbelt on during turbulence:
- You get served frozen food which is kept for up to 72 hours.
- The most unhygienic thing in the aircraft is your seat belt then the tray tables.
- In case of a delay You’ll never make your connection unless it’s with the same airline.
- At times the crew offers you their own meal to make sure your are fed on the flight.
- There are ashtrays on the lav doors beside the no smoking sign, for those passengers who are adamant and still decide to smoke so that they won’t just trash the lit cigarette in the bin which could lead to a fire.
- The turbulence, a favorite time for some passengers to go and use the lavatories. We don’t scold you and tell you to sit down just because it’s a part of our job or we hold anything against you. Many cabin crew have severely injured their head and backbones in those situations. It’s no joke, it’s another case if it’s just a light turbulence but when you see the seat belt signs on, sit down!
- Avoid flying if you have severe cold. It can damage your eardrums and you may lose your hearing. Happened to me once, I couldn’t hear properly for a week and it hurt like hell.
- If you have air sickness, taking medicine in flight will never help you.
Finally, Amar Rama brings the horror home, with facts on the potable water and the amount of cleaning the aircraft actually goes through between flights.
1. Most accidents happen during take off and landing. This is why we do a cabin walk through to make sure everyone has their seat belts fastened, tray tables put away, and their seats in the original upright position. Passengers always give me the angry eye when I have to wake them up because their seat is reclined and they are still sleeping and we are about to land.
2. Turbulence itself can’t hurt the aircraft. No that crazy turbulence isn’t going to make us crash, however if you are walking around or without your seat belt fastened you could be seriously injured or injure someone else. Sometimes we could hit an air pocket unexpectedly and this could send someone crashing into the ceiling or landing back down hard and breaking bones. I’ve had many coworkers who have had injuries as a result of turbulence. I have been fortunate to only have had bruising as a result of hitting turbulence and being thrown against a door handle. So when we tell you to buckle up, it’s really for your own safety and the safety of others so you don’t land on them. Also, if it’s too bumpy for you to walk around, it’s most likely too bumpy for us to walk around. So please don’t press that call button for something that can wait until the ride is more smooth.
3. The aircraft is filthy. I’ve never seen our ground cleaning crew spend more than 3 minutes on a lavatory and maybe 5 minutes for the rest of the aircraft. They are constantly rushed to get off the plane so boarding can begin. The planes are usually only on the ground for the short period of time before the next set of passengers are boarded. So inbetween flights, its mainly just surface clean. Yes, people do put their feet and dirty diapers on the tray tables.
4. It baffles me that people try to hand me trash during food or beverage service. I personally refuse to put trash with other’s food and it’s just unsanitary to be touching trash and food at the same time.
5. Airplane potable water is gross. You will most likely never catch us drinking anything that requires hot water (coffee, tea etc).
Rama also give the most helpful bit of advice: be kind to your cabin crew. “If you are nice we will try to go above and beyond our job to help from a human to human level. However if you’re an asshole or demanding there’s no help there.”
So, pack the wipes, stay seated, keep calm…and maybe also wait until you’re back on solid ground to do your yoga routine. Really, it can wait.