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Airline personnel reveal the industry’s biggest secrets

Published Jan 12th, 2016 2:46PM EST
Airline Travel Industry Secrets
Image: Quartz

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Whether you’re a seasoned flyer or you hate air travel, the chances are good that you still have a lot to learn when it comes to traveling by airplane. Luckily, airline staff, pilots included, may have answered some of your questions in a Reddit thread about the industry’s biggest secrets – and you won’t like all the answers.

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Before you book your next flight, you should know that you have a better chance of scoring a cheaper flight on Tuesday afternoon than on any other day, The Telegraph reports. And yes, if you’ve got the feeling that airlines manipulate flight times to make it seem like you’ve arrived early, well, that appears to be the case.

“Airlines really have adjusted their flight arrival times so they can have a better record of on-time arrivals,” an AirTran Airways pilot told Reader’s Digest in 2013. “So they might say a flight takes two hours when it really takes an hour and 45 minutes.”

When you’re getting ready to board the plane, you should know that children and people with disabilities have priority to speed up the process. “Miracle flight” refers to a common practice among travelers: pretending you need a wheelchair only for boarding. When it comes to disembarking, customers with reduced mobility wait everyone else has gotten off the plane, which is why people faking disabilities won’t request a wheelchair.

On the flip side of the coin, there’s a dead person on almost every commercial flight. “Possibly two, if you’re on a wide body aircraft,” according to one person.

The window blinds need to be open for take-off and landing so that there’s a clear view outside in the event of an emergency. This can help onboard personnel as well as passengers if everyone needs to get off the airplane as fast as possible.

While in the air, you’d be best off to avoid the coffee, as the coffee container is supposedly never washed. Also, the free headphones offered on board are not new. They’re just cleaned and repackaged before every new flight.

Speaking of food aboard the plane, you should know the pilots have different meals and are forbidden to taste each other’s food. The measure is meant to prevent food poisoning incidents from affecting both a pilot and a copilot.

When it comes to aircraft security, it turns out that emergency landings happen quite often – at Heathrow Airport there’s almost one emergency landing per week. In the air, lightning strikes all the time, but it rarely affects the structural integrity of an aircraft, and the energy is simply discharged.

More alarming is the fact that “a huge list of things can be missing from the aircraft while still being allowed to fly,” though it’s not clear what they are.

Finally, if you’re flying with a dog, there’s a good chance he or she will hate you for it. Not cats, though. They simply don’t care.

“If you checked your dog, there’s about a 30 percent chance it’s terrified before it even gets on the plane,” a Reddit user said. “Who knows how scared it gets during the actual flight. Bag room agents will usually try to comfort a scared animal, but all we can really do is talk to it, so if you write your pet’s name on their carrier it usually helps a lot.”

He continued, “I’ve never seen a cat who was scared in the bag room, cats don’t give a ****.”

Chris Smith Senior Writer

Chris Smith has been covering consumer electronics ever since the iPhone revolutionized the industry in 2008. When he’s not writing about the most recent tech news for BGR, he brings his entertainment expertise to Marvel’s Cinematic Universe and other blockbuster franchises.

Outside of work, you’ll catch him streaming almost every new movie and TV show release as soon as it's available.