Home Things to Know 11 Biggest Secrets That The Airlines Don’t Tell You

11 Biggest Secrets That The Airlines Don’t Tell You

by Jasleen K.R. January 27, 2017
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The success to every business is a few inside secrets which nobody is supposed to know. Similarly Airlines are not so gold plated as they seem. In fact, it is a possibility that you would never travel in an airplane if you knew all the Airlines secrets.

From Emirates to Qatar, American Airlines to British Airways, every airline is doing a little cheating with its customers for their profit margin. Knowing these secrets might make you an aware traveler. So let’s read about the Biggest Secrets that the Airlines Don’t Tell You


1. Oxygen masks only last 15 minutes

Planes don’t carry oxygen tanks for each passenger but instead, they use chemical oxygen generators that can provide at least 15 minutes of oxygen. They get activated when the passengers pull the masks down which are above their seats. Though these 15 minutes are considered enough for an emergency descent to a safe altitude ~10k ft where there will be enough oxygen in the air for people to breathe without needing the mask anymore.

a girl in the aircraft, holding oxygen mask, demonstrating passengers how to use it in an emergency. -

An airlines stewardess with the oxygen mask in an aircraft.


2. Planes can have missing screw

Have you ever looked out the window at the plane wings and noticed some lose or missing screws ? But no need to worry, as planes have 2 million screws and after it undergoes heavy maintenance, a few of them go missing as human eyes oversee them. That happens a lot with airlines, so sit back and enjoy the view instead of worrying about missing screws.

an american airlines craft. flying above the shores of th beutiful city.

An American airlines craft”s wing.


3. Cabin crews only get paid if the door is closed

You must have felt at times, that the crew members close the doors of the plane too early. It’s not just because of the safety reasons that they close them so early, but because they only get paid for hours the door is closed. Yes, this might seem really odd, but it’s true. There are times when the crew have to work for 13-hours day but are paid for just 5, and If you add in delays, that’s an even longer day all without pay.

A cabin person, opeaning the exit door of the aircraft looking towards the camera capturing her.

A stewardess opening the aircraft’s door.


4. The seats are getting smaller

You are not the only one who has a problem in fitting their legs comfortably in planes. The airlines are making the legroom and seats smaller in order to fit more seats. After the deregulation of the industry in the 1970s, the average leg room went from 35 inches to just 31 inches today. Even the seats shrank from 18 inches to just 16.5 with most airlines. As obesity has only increased, people tend to add extra seats giving the airlines a profit.

Seats of an aircraft.

Seats of an aircraft.


5. Pilots do not eat the same meal

Yes, pilots of the plane are not given the same food as which is there for the other passengers. It’s not a global rule for airlines though, but there is usually a statement that goes along with it which also says it is to avoid foods with a higher than typical rate of food poisoning, such as raw fish before and during the Flight, might cause illness to the pilots and would become sick mid-flight.

A pilot eating his meal during the flight hours.

A pilot eating his meal during the flight.


6. Airplanes don’t carry much fuel

You know how we fill our gas tank before the road trips. Well, planes don’t work that ways at all. In fact, according to FAA rules, planes in most airlines carry only 45 minutes of extra fuel on board. But this fuel isn’t always enough to land at a nearby airport in case of emergency. For example, the recent crash in Columbia which killed the Brazilian soccer team was due to running out of fuel. The plane was only 8 Miles from Medellin but was unable to glide into safe landing and 71 people died. But fuel exhaustion leads to very less crashes i.e only 0.5 %

Aircraft's fuel tank being filled by the airlines people.

Aircraft’s fuel tank being filled by the airlines people.


7. Blankets and pillows are hardly ever washed

Are you one of those passengers who are fooled by the neat packing of the pillows and blankets ? In reality they are not cleaned after every use. US Airways has admitted that they wash blankets after every 5 days Now you can imagine how many people might have coughed, sneezed or even farted under those sheets not that we want to scare of you !

Aircraft's seats with with pillows and cushions.

Aircraft’s seats with with pillows and cushions.


8. Your pilot might doze off at times

Most pilots only fly the plane for an average of seven minutes. After that, once the aircraft is up to its operating altitude, the plane goes on auto pilot. The pilots input the coordinates and then they don’t have to steer the plane the entire time. About 20% of pilots agreed that they have napped while flying. Maybe that’s why airlines prefer keeping the cockpit doors closed at all times.

Pilots taking a nap while the plane is in auto pilot mode.

Pilots taking a nap while the plane is in auto pilot mode.


9. Water tanks are home to bacteria

You probably might be thinking that the water on your aircraft is stored in a clean large tank. Large, yes. But clean, not entirely because they usually don’t clean it too often. That’s why you’ll see the crew bringing in their own beverages because they know the inside story. So the next time you are asked if you’d like an in-flight beverage, ask for anything that doesn’t come from the water tanks like alcohol.

A passenger pouring water from the water bottle provided by the airlines.

A passenger pouring water from the water bottle provided by the airlines.


10. Overbooking is a huge factor in running an airline

This is like a given fact that Airlines over overbook the flights. Not only one flight in a day but every flight that goes in air. And that’s because they earn no profit if planes take off at less than 75% capacity. They just assume that a few people will be late to make it in time or some just too drunk to remember they had a flight. Therefore they sell extra tickets to fill their seats based on past databases determining how many extra seats they will sell for which flight.

Passengers waiting in long queues for their turn through security.

Passengers waiting in long queues for their turn through security.


11. Lavatory locks are just for show

Don’t be under the delusion that you are safely locked behind those lavatory doors. The doors aren’t really locked and there are pretty good reasons why. It becomes necessary to open them from outside sometimes. Few cases are children locking themselves inside and people passing out inside the lavatory. The cabin crew has access to opening the door from outside in these cases. But now that you know it, I advise you not to try it next time you are on board.

A passenger pressing the lavatory lock for safety.

A passenger pressing the lavatory lock for safety.

I never trust the airlines from those countries

where the pilots believe in the afterlife.

You are safer when they don’t!!