Airline Workers Are Sharing Surprising Things That Happen Mid-Flight That Passengers Aren't Privy To
It's wild up there in the sky.
People have different opinions about flying: You either don't mind it...or you really hate it. In either case, there are lots of things that happen mid-flight that passengers don't know about...until now.
1. "I was training to be a cabin crew member, and we were taught that in the event that someone dies on board, the cabin crew should make it less obvious that they have passed. Put glasses on them, maybe a hat. Essentially dress them up as subtly as possible so the other passengers don't realize or panic."
2. "Pilot here. We only get paid when the doors are closed and the pushback has commenced. So if we’re delayed or sitting with the door open, we’re just as annoyed as you are."
3. "Flight attendants often talk about the 'hot guy in 23B' or whatever seat he's in. Pilots mess around a lot up front. They'll take pictures, post on Facebook, watch movies...automation has taken over a lot of the work on long flights."
4. "One of my all-time favorites was when the captain accidentally broadcast his passenger briefing ("Welcome aboard," "weather in Chicago...") on frequency instead of on the aircraft PA system, blocking up ground, ramp, tower, and so on...for a solid 15 seconds. You automatically become the laughingstock of the airport."
5. "There's a special frequency called Guard that all aircraft are supposed to monitor. It's for emergencies or for when an aircraft ends up on a wrong frequency and the controllers need to get in contact with the pilots to change them to the right frequency."
6. "Ex–airline employee here. We'd often have someone on board with terrible body odor. You can set a hotter temperature on one end of the cabin so it localizes the smell to one part of the plane. If you see coffee filter bags hanging anywhere, it's because someone smells horrible somewhere on the plane."
7. "Pilots are on their phones or reading the newspaper all the time."
8. "At altitude, we’re constantly in contact with air traffic control and change to different 'center frequencies' (or 'control,' for locations other than US). We’re also doing fuel checks to make sure the fuel burn isn’t abnormal, dodging weather, and probably bitching about scheduling."
9. "An instructor told me that he and his training buddy BOTH fell asleep for about 45 minutes at the same time while gaining hours for licensing. The plane was in complete autopilot mode with clear skies and zero turbulence. They both swore if they ever flew again, they would 'hand off' sleep like handing off the controls."
10. "Pilot here. Sometimes passengers may be having a nice and quiet flight in the back of the plane while the pilots are up front dodging thunderstorms and yelling their heads off."
12. "On longer flights/bigger airplanes, they even have a special 'room' where the flight crew can get some sleep."
13. "Don't fly with an ear infection or fluid in your ears. There is a chance you can rupture your eardrum. Flight crews are especially susceptible to this because we are constantly going through pressurization and depressurization when we work."
15. "Pilot here. Most of the time, the passengers are not given the full truth about why a flight is delayed or canceled. Airlines will typically blame cancellations on unrelated events (weather) instead of mechanical issues so they don’t have to pay for hotel rooms/meals, etc."
16. "A smooth landing is not necessarily a good landing. One can make a smooth landing, but it could be a risky landing if the pilot decides to use extra runway. Never shout at your pilot for a bad landing, and if he makes a crash landing, understand that you are alive because of him."
17. "Flight attendants don't get paid on the ground. Only flying hours are paid. We are slave labor on the ground, and duties are continually added to our unpaid work time because the company knows they don't have to pay us."
19. "Never drink the coffee. I have never seen those machines cleaned."
Are you a flight attendant, pilot, or airline staff member with a wild story? Tell us in the comments below.
Note: Some responses have been edited for length and/or clarity.