24 Things The Airlines Wish They Could've Kept Under Wraps

Since the Wright Brothers invented the airplane in 1903, they paved the way for a global industry that employs millions of people and generates billions of dollars in annual revenue. Flying has enabled people to reach their destinations quicker and the opportunity to explore the world. While some people take flying for granted, others have never stepped a foot inside a plane.

The majestic flying machines are like restaurants in the air, as the hostesses serve you drinks and food while you watch a movie. Flying above the clouds is surreal, and I encourage those who haven't flown before to book a flight as soon as possible. While flying, don't be surprised if some wacky stuff happens, that's the nature of things at times. These events occur in planes, and airlines have trained their staff to handle such situations.

Every industry has events unfolding behind the scenes that patrons are oblivious to and aren't supposed to discover. While you're flying, you're unaware of all the events that are unfolding in the airplane. We wanted to find out all the aspects of flying that airlines don't want you to know, these are secrets that most passengers never knew existed.

Continue scrolling to keep reading

Click the button below to start this article in quick view

Start Now

24 Airlines May Owe You Money For Lost Luggage

via The Economist

Losing your luggage isn't a pleasant experience, but it happens while you're flying. Although you might have travel insurance, you should know that you can hold the airline responsible. Passengers who can prove the contents of the lost bag might be entitled to compensation from the airline.

Although airlines are notorious for being stingy with payouts, they might not have a choice if you have a valid case. Passengers traveling in the U.S. may be entitled to a payout of up to $3,300 for lost or damaged possessions but have to prove the value of the items.

23 Passengers Can Get Refunds On Non-Refundable Tickets

via Arrko

Who would've thought? Airlines have to conform to industry standards that the U.S. Department of Transportation enforced. The watchdog allows passengers to take advantage of a 24-hour cancellation without a penalty. To take advantage of the policy, passengers should book with airlines by phone or online, instead of using a third-party website.

Passengers who have booked a flight have a day to contemplate if they want to commit to the journey before the refundable window closes.

22 Updrafts Worry Pilots More Than Turbulence

via Updraft Aviation

Being in a shuddering plane that bad weather affected can make your stomach drop and wish that you were on the ground. Although turbulence bounces passengers around for a period, pilots are more worried about updrafts. When a plane flies into a massive updraft, which the pilot can't see on the radar at night, it's the same as hitting a big speed bump at 500 miles per hour.

Pilots state that turbulence cannot cause a crash and avoid it not due to danger, but rather due to the annoyance it causes.

21 We Speak In Code About You

via DVDbash

Car salesmen aren't the only ones to speak about you in a lingo that you don't understand; pilots and the cabin crew do it, too. Gate lice are people who gather around the gate before boarding to be first on the plane. Pilots refer to the autopilot as George. "I’ll let George take over."

Spinners are passengers who get on late and don't have a seat assignment, so they spin while looking for a seat. A two-for-one special is when a plane touches down on landing, bounces up and touches down again.

20 Ask For Cash If Bumped

via Tripsavvy

Traveling is a stressful experience, but what makes it worse is when the airline bumps you due to the overbooking of the flight. For the airline to make a profit, the flight has to be at least 85% full. If a gate agent offers you a voucher on an overbooked flight, you can ask for cash.

Passengers can use cash for anything, as opposed to vouchers, which have expiration dates and restrictions. Some passengers get bumped against their will. In that case, the airline has to pay unless it can get you to your destination on time.

19 Oxygen Masks Last 15 Minutes

via Travel and Leisure

Passengers who thought that they could use their oxygen masks for the duration of the flight will be shocked to find out that it lasts only 15 minutes. Why is that? 15 minutes is enough time for the pilot to drop to a lower altitude that allows people to breathe.

The pilots didn't state if they can drop to a lower altitude in bad weather conditions or if they have to remain above the clouds to avoid peril. Maybe take an oxygen mask with you as a backup next time you're on a plane if you have asthma.

18 The Dimming Of The Cabin Lights Isn't To Relax You

via Onemoreweektogo

After the hostesses served dinner and allowed passengers to watch a movie, they dim the cabin lights to allow everyone to sleep. Is that really the reason for the dimming of the lights though? The hostesses dim the lights to ensure that you get used to the darkness.

According to a former flight attendant who spoke to the Huffington Post, they want passengers to see in the dark if something goes wrong. Also, window shades remain open so that the crew can see outside of the plane in case of an emergency, and firefighters can see inside the plane.

17 Don't Buy Group Tickets At The Same Time

via Explorica

Buying multiple tickets at the same time might seem like a good idea due to the efficiency and possible price reduction, but that isn't the case. Reader's Digest stated that a passenger who purchases multiple tickets at once could pay more.

If you want to purchase five tickets but the airline has only four discounted tickets remaining, logic dictates that you'll get four tickets at the discounted fare and pay the full price for the fifth. Not always. The airline could increase the price of the four discounted tickets so that you pay the full price for all.

16 Buy And Fly On Certain Days

via Stark Tourism

Some passengers don't have the luxury of flying on any day of the week and have to leave abruptly. Passengers who have the option should be strategic about their flying time, as certain days are cheaper than the rest of the week.

If you want to save money, then the cheapest days to fly are Tuesdays and Thursdays, as fewer business clients travel on those days. You should make sure to buy your tickets on the cheapest days of the week, Tuesdays to Thursdays. Getting the best flight is about strategizing.

15  Airlines Inflate Flight Durations

via Fortune

If the time needed for a flight is an hour, the airline will schedule it for an hour and fifteen minutes to ensure that the pilot is on time if he is running late. The airline can inflate the duration by more than an hour if a flight lasts longer than ten hours. That makes sense since the airlines don't want passengers holding them accountable for being late.

The only problem with inflating flight duration is that passengers plan according to those times and have to wait for their transport if the plane arrives within the actual time needed for the flight.

14 Pilots Sleep In The Cockpit

via Freaking News

Nobody wants to be transported by a sleeping person who has occupied the wheel. Long distance flights entail two pilots to flying the plane, so it makes sense that they would take turns sleeping in the plane. Well, some don't take turns sleeping; they sleep at the same time.

Many functions on a plane are automated, allowing the two pilots to take a nap while the plane maneuvers itself in the air. The next time you notice the plane flying without a glitch, know that it could be the auto feature, not the pilot.

13  Pilots Are Under Pressure To Carry Low Fuel

via Nlo-mir.ru

Running out of fuel with your car will leave you stranded on the side of the road, but what happens when the plane runs out of fuel? A pilot stated that airlines are always looking at the bottom line and want to reduce the costs as much as possible.

A captain at a major airline stated that if you carry fuel, you burn fuel, and if you carry just enough fuel while hitting thunderstorms and delays, then the plane is close to running out of gas, according to Reader's Digest. At that point, the pilot has to land at an alternate airport.

12 Water Landing Doesn't Exist

via ABS-CBN News

Ask a pilot about water landing, and he'll respond, "There's no such thing." When you watch a plane land on the water in movies, you surmise that your pilot is capable of achieving the same. Wrong. When a pilot confessed to Reader's Digest about landing in the water, he said, "It’s called crashing into the ocean."

The only thing that can save you if your plane goes down into the water is knowledge about surviving the crash, which passengers should read before flying.

11 Passengers Get Sick From Touching Dirty Components

via CNN

Many passengers get sick after flying. While the popular misconception is that the oxygen passengers breath is contaminated, the truth is that passengers get sick from touching the dirty parts of the plane.

Pilots have confessed that passengers should assume that the table tray and the button to push the seat back are dirty. The pilots also stated that the cabin crew does wipe the lavatory. I would recommend that passengers also assume that the lavatory is dirty and clean it themselves.

10 The Two Worst Airports Are The Reagan National And John Wayne

via The Los Angeles Times

No, not for passengers but pilots. Pilots don't like the John Wayne in Orange County, California because the rich people who live near the airport don't like jet noises. The airport has a noise abatement procedure that entails the pilot to switch the plane into a ballistic missile as soon as he's airborne.

Some pilots also stated that some airports have short runways, resulting in bumpy landings regardless of the pilot's skills. Some of the airports with short runways include the Reagan National in Washington and John Wayne.

9 A Smartphone Won't Crash The Plane

via CNN

The cabin crew makes it seem as though pulling out your smartphone can cause a big mess for the flight. Although the cabin crew is pedantic about ensuring that your phone remains off during the flight, a phone has never crashed a plane.

The reason for the imposition has to do with interference from electronic devices that can harm the aircraft system, not crash. Knowing this doesn't mean that you can play on your phone during the flight.

8 Surprising Objects Are Hidden On Planes

via Travel and Leisure

While some special planes have beds to accommodate high flyers or the cabin crew, I'm referring to objects that protect passengers from themselves and others. The cabin crew has access to handcuffs to restrain any passenger causing a disturbance. Most airplanes have ashtrays.

Although smoking isn't permitted on flights, airlines know that a rulebreaker will throw the cigarette butt in the bin, causing a fire, if he or she doesn't have an ashtray. Other items on a plane include an ax, crowbar, and a defibrillator.

7 The Airline Can't Keep You On A Delayed Plane

via CNN

Regulations limit the time that airlines are allowed to keep passengers on a plane. Governments enforced regulations that prevent airlines from keeping passengers on a plane without moving anywhere for longer than three hours.

The Chicago Tribune stated that the tarmac rule increased flight cancellations, according to Cheat Sheet. The reason is that airlines don't want to be fined holding passengers for too long. The next time you're on a delayed plane, remember that you have rights.

6 Pilots Are More Tired Than You Think

via European Cockpit Association

The industry rule is that pilots should be in the air for up to eight hours in a 24-hour cycle. That flight time doesn't include ground delays, maintenance or pre-flight checks. On some flights, pilots can work up to fourteen hours. Pilots also need to get eight hours of rest, but they don't due to the commute to and from the airport, as well as the preparation for the next flight.

The next time you see the pilot yawning, don't be surprised if he switches on George so that he can get much-needed rest.

5 Pilots Eat Different Food From Passengers

via Hejorama

The most important people on the airline are the pilots. They have to be well rested and healthy to operate the gargantuan machine that is transporting hundreds of people. Far too many people complain about the food they receive in restaurants or airplanes. I feel that they should be grateful for having food.

Passengers who complain about the flight food will be more irked when they find out that pilots eat better food than them. "Flight attendants give us special meals so that if the airline food shipment was contaminated, we won't get sick," a pilot who wished to remain anonymous said.

4 The Tap Water Can Be Contaminated

via The Independent

Always be careful about the tap water you consume, regardless of your location. Some dams are contaminated, and you will bear the consequences if you're not selective about the water that you drink. According to sources, it's not the water only on land that you drink that can be dangerous, but the water on planes could be contaminated, as well.

According to This is Insider, an Environment Protection Agency study found that one in eight planes fail the agency's standards for water safety. That is the reason that most flight attendants don't drink tea or coffee on a plane.

3  Pilots Often Forget To Switch Off The Seat Belt Sign

via KLM Blog

In case of emergencies, the only thing that can save you on a plane is the seat belt. You should have it fastened for most of the flight's duration, as you never know when peril might strike. If you've forgotten to fasten your seat belt, the pilots are there to remind you by switching on the seat belt sign.

Once the plane is stable in the air, passengers are allowed to unfasten the seat belt once the pilot switches off the sign. Some pilots forget to switch off the seat belt sign, confining passengers to their seats.

2 Pilots Downplay Problems

via Videoblocks

The last words that you want to hear from your pilot over the intercom are, "We have a massive problem with the engine, and we're about to crash." Pilots confessed that they would never say, "There's zero visibility;" instead, they would mention that there's fog ahead.

A delay for technical reasons means that something is broken. Don't expect the pilot to tell you that he's experiencing a problem he doesn't know how to fix. Their job is to keep passengers calm.

1 Lightning Strikes Planes Often

via Thermo Fisher Scientific

One of the reasons that planes fly above clouds is to avoid rain and lightning. That is not always possible, as the pilot has to prepare for landing or fly at a lower altitude to ensure that passengers can breathe.

According to statistics, lightning strikes every plane at least once a year. If you're a passenger on the plane that lightning strikes, then you'll be glad to know that engineers built planes to withstand the strike. While that should give you some comfort, being in a plane that lightning struck is not a fun experience.

Sources - The RD, This Is Insider & Cheat Sheet

More in Car Culture