Once upon a time, jetting off on an airplane used to be the preserve of the super-wealthy.Nowadays, thanks to relatively recent rise of budget airlines, increasingly competitive airfares and more flight paths, experiencing an overseas holiday has never been easier.
As a result, many of us probably think we know exactly what to do at check-in , as well as what to expect at 35,000 feet.But as with any work environment, there’s a lot more going on behind the sceneswhich we don’t know about. Flight attendants and airline employees shared some fascinating insights on Quora , revealing plenty of things most airline passengers are unaware of.
A mixture of the gross and the enlightening, they’ll (hopefully) change the way you fly. At the very least, you’ll certainly think twice before putting on a pair of headphones.
1. Music to the ear
Watching a film, listening to some music or simply drowning out the noise around you may seem like a great way of passing the time, but maybe ask for some new headphones before you tune out.Apparently, many “airlines who provide headphones hardly or even NEVER bother to replace the foamy-like ear parts.
“So please ALWAYS tear them once you use them just to make sure that they will replace them.”And the same applies to any pillows or blankets you’ve been handed for the flight. Ask for a new set if you can.
2. Working hours
“We are not paid during boarding or until the door to the aircraft is shut. This means it’s mandatory to show up to work about two hours early but not be paid for it.”
Another flight attendant pitied anyone having a water-based drink.“The water from the plane is disgusting. I feel truly sorry for our coffee and hot water drinkers. That water is in a tank under the plane and I’ve never seen that tank be cleaned out.”Another one even revealed the plane water was referred to as “Galley Springs”.Delightful.
4. Toilet break
No one likes the toilets on planes. The constricted space, the unflattering lighting. But even flight attendants avoid them if possible.One fight attendant admitted, “To be honest I only use the lavatories on the airplane if I need to wash my hands or if I absolutely have to go to the bathroom.“If it’s a short flight and I can leave the plane, I’m definitely waiting until I can use the bathroom in the airport.”
And Kelly Goodnuff added, “[…] Just how dirty the floor is. We think it’s disgusting when you do not wear shoes in to the toilet.”
5. Kindness pays
Being a good Samaritan and swapping seats can result in some VIP treatment according to Fatihah Sudewo.“If you’re one of those who have a big heart in giving up your seat for whatever reason without making a scene, we treat you ‘special’.
“We would give you two bread rolls instead of one, a whole can of soda instead of rationing it, basically we would compensate you for your kindness.”No mention of an upgrade to first class though.
6. DON’T ask us to help in the following scenarios
An anonymous user revealed the following: “We have to be diplomatic in situations to avoid discrimination lawsuits.“For example, that man that’s overweight and spilling into your seat on a full flight? I can’t tell him to suck in his gut or ask a thin person to switch with you.“However, you can, because the worst that can happen is you’ll get a no and maybe a glare.
“If I do, I am risking a possible lawsuit against my airline or at worst, my job.“With the age of social media, a lot of things get twisted. I never want to be the flight attendant that ‘harassed a mother and her crying baby’ or ‘not let allow a man with a medical condition sleep’ because he snores.
7. Perk of the job
Fatehah also admitted, “Our meals are slightly better than the passenger meals, and even though it depends on the airlines, we also get fresh fruits – like whole fruits and not the cut ones, pickles, bread rolls, desserts, beverages. “Basically we have at least a trolley dedicated for the crews.”
8. Getting tipsy
That free booze on the trolley? Go easy on it. According to more than one flight attendant, many passengers don’t realize how much more drunk they get at 35,000 feet, owing to the altitude.
And if you’re getting noticeably drunk or out-of-hand, the flight attendant is responsible for managing the situation.“Sometimes if we think you’ve had too much to drink, we’ll serve you, but not serve the whole mini-bottle of booze,” confesses one user named Ellen. ”“We may just dip the rim of the glass in enough vodka or gin and fill the rest with mixer.”
9. Missing a flight attendant?
Another anonymous user also explained an important point as follows.“If your boarding is delayed because they are missing a flight attendant and you see a flight attendant rushing on to the plane, that flight attendant is most likely not the flight attendant that caused the delay.
“At airports we have standby flight attendants (one or two at a time) who are dressed in uniform, bags packed and ready to go if a flight needs them or reserve flight attendants who get short notice to cover a trip when another co-worker cannot make it.”