In our modern world, flying is the fastest and most common way to travel, with an estimated 10 million flights per year in the U.S. alone. Aside from the everyday airplane regulations, there are actually a few tidbits that are well-known among the staff, but not the average flier. Keep scrolling to learn of five shocking air travel secrets that you most likely didn’t know about.
1. Some Airplanes Have Tiny Bedrooms For the Crew
If you’ve ever been on a long-haul flight, you may have noticed that the crew members take turns serving the passengers. Well, it turns out they have shifts, and when they’re not working, they’re taking quick power naps in their special little bedrooms. These sleeping cabins are located above or below the passenger cabin and are equipped with single beds, privacy curtains and overhead lights for reading. This is very much needed, as some flights can go on for nearly 18 hours and we all need our beauty sleep.
2. Pilots and Co-pilots Can’t Have the Same Meal
If you’ve ever had food poisoning, you know first hand how it renders you completely helpless. Now imagine dealing with that while you’re supposed to be flying a large aircraft. It’s for this very reason that pilots and co-pilots have different meals; it lowers their chances of getting sick at the same time. This rule is not law, but a policy enforced by many airlines. Sounds like a great plan, but it’s not foolproof. Turns out there was a case in 1982 where 10 crew members were all sick after eating the same dessert – tapioca pudding.
3. Pilots Have Secret Distress Signals
Everyone hopes for a smooth and successful trip, free of emergency landings or even scary situations. Luckily, pilots are prepared for such moments and use their transponder or squawk to send a four-digit code that alerts air traffic control of their emergency. Other ways of signalling for help is by flying a triangle pattern or using the plane’s wing flaps. Given all this, there have been moments of human error where pilots accidentally sent out false signals, sending air traffic control in a bit of a panic.
4. The Tiny Hole at the Bottom of Your Window Keeps You Safe
Many people find flying scary and even frustrating, but you can rest assured that your well-being is very much taken into account. You may have never noticed it, but there’s actually a small hole near the bottom of your window. And that’s no accident. It’s called a bleed or breather hole and is located in the second of the three window panes. This allows the pressure to balance between the passenger cabin and the air gap as the plane approaches higher altitudes. So from on you can sit back knowing this tiny hole plays such a huge role in your safety.
5. Airplane Bathrooms Can Be Unlocked From the Outside
Pleasant would be the last word to describe airplane bathrooms given how cramped it is in there. But it has certainly come a long way of just throwing waste directly into the air. One such improvement is being able to unlock the door from the outside. Now you might be thinking this tramples your privacy but there’s a good reason for this. This technique is often used to check on a passenger who has been in there for too long and is unresponsive or to make sure they didn’t sneak off in there for a smoke break.
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