Whether you like flying or not, there are some things better left unknown. That blissful ignorance is about to be shattered.
1. Pilot’s spend most of the flight asleep
Being an airpilot is an extremely exhaustive job, so its no surprise that flight crews work naps into their work schedule. I remember once on a particularly bumpy flight to Atlanta, a pilot plopping himself down in the row behind me, pulling over a curtain, and going asleep. In these circumstances the co-pilot is flying the plane, but it has become increasingly often for pilots to wake up and discover whoever is supposed to be flying the plane asleep also. In February 2013 two pilots fell asleep on a flight over Hawaii, flying past their destination. The Air France disaster on flight 447 found the pilot asleep moments before the crash killed 228 people. The NTSB has called pilot exhausting an ‘insidious’ problem. So chances are when your attempting an inflight nap, there’s others-namely the pilots- who are way ahead.
2. Planes are filthy
Airplanes-from the blankets to the trays are ridden with germs and bacteria. Recent studies have shown bacteria such as MRSA and E.coli can live on planes for days. Millions of people travel everyday, and planes dont always have enough time to be cleaned down and disinfected in between flights. So keep a bottle of hand sanitizer handy. (excuse the pun)
3. Plane water is filthy
Water for plane lavatories and even your tea and coffee come from the planes tank, which has been known to harbor bacteria such as E.coli and other harmful bacteria. So unless your water is coming from a sealed bottle, you should probably pass on the beverage.
4. Most of the time, pilot’s aren’t even flying the plane
Most commercial airliners are flown by computers (the autopilot), which means flight crews have very little to do after take off until landing. Arguably this may be safer as it reduces the risk of human error, but it also means pilots in the industry don’t get as much hands on practical experience with the aircraft they’re flying.
5. Planes are old, but rarely get full inspections
During routine maintenance checks, only sections of the aircraft are inspected, as full checks can take months- which would result in a loss of business to airliners. In an extremely competitive and demanding industry, airline companies are always trying to reduce maintenance and fuel costs, even if this means postponing the maintenance of old planes (most of 20-30 years old) which have likely experienced wear and time, as some planes fly over 7 flights per day- thats 210 a month, thousands a year
6. Pilots don’t always tell you whats going on
“We tell passengers what they need to know. We don’t tell them things that are going to scare the pants off them. So you’ll never hear me say, ‘Ladies and gentlemen, we just had an engine failure,’ even if that’s true.” – Jim Tilmon, retired American Airlines pilot, Phoenix