Like it or hate it, we all rely on air travel to get where we need to go, but to many of us this mode of transportation is still shrouded in mystery! Have you ever wondered why you really shouldn’t use a cell phone on an airplane? Or the best day of the week to travel on a budget? How about the likelihood of a crash due to turbulence? We have all the answers you need for the most pressing air travel questions! We unraveled 40 secrets of air travel that we guarantee will change your life.
Best Travel Days
Sometimes your flight details aren’t negotiable, but if you aren’t tied to flying on a specific date then there are definitely specific days of the week that will cost you less money. Apparently, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Saturday are the best days to fly because less business class passengers are traveling and airlines have extra seats available. When airlines have too many empty seats they lower prices to encourage purchasing so take advantage of the deals while you can!
How To Pack
No one enjoys packing their suitcase, whether it’s a short flight or a long haul it can be the most frustrating part of the trip. Trying to find a way to fit everything you need inside a small case and without damaging or overly wrinkling your items is a challenge for sure! Apparently, the best way to get all of your items from point A to Point B is by rolling your clothing instead of folding. Rolling shirts and pants will cut down on the amount of space needed for each item and help to eliminate creases.
Safest Seats On The Plane
You might think that sitting at the front of the plane is preferable over anywhere else but think again. Sure, you might get preferential treatment from flight attendants and extra leg room, but is it really worth your life? Studies show that passengers sitting at the front of the plane have a higher chance of fatality in the event of a crash. The best place to sit is the middle seats at the rear of the aircraft, with only a 28% chance of fatality.
Bring Your Own Bottle
We all know it’s important to remain hydrated while aboard a flight but buying bottled water at the airport can cost an arm and a leg! The best way to avoid spending unnecessary money is to bring your own reusable bottle in your carry on. Packing an empty water bottle that can be filled at a fountain inside the airport will keep you and your wallet happy. Just make sure that it’s empty when you go through security so that you aren’t asked to throw it out.
Put Your Air Mask On First
We’ve all heard the announcement, ” In the case of emergency put your mask on first before assisting children”, but do you know the real reason why? Each oxygen mask has about 12 minutes worth of oxygen that needs to last you the length of time it takes for the cabin to depressurize – approximately 7 minutes. An adult will lose consciousness in 20 seconds at a descent from 40 thousand feet so it’s imperative to get that mask on right away! If a child falls unconscious they will resuscitate after a few seconds once wearing a mask.
Truth About Cell Phones
We all know the drill. Get on the plane and turn off all our cellular devices before take off to ensure we don’t accidentally crash the airplane, right? The truth is, it’s not that the cell reception is overtly dangerous or interferes with in-flight monitors. Cell phones simply annoy pilots who would hear all the static from phones trying to pick up signals while in the air on their monitors. And no one wants an angry pilot in control of their flight! It’s better to just follow instructions if you ask us.
Clear Your Cookies
Ever had the experience where you think you’ve found the best price on a flight, only to search again and see a drastic jump in the price? Airline companies log where customers are searching from through their cookies and raise prices depending on demand. The best way to avoid this is by either erasing your cookies prior to searching or looking for flight info in the incognito mode. Why should you have to pay higher prices simply based on your location? No fair if you ask us! Keep those extra dollars for the duty-free.
Traveling With Animals
If you think you get nervous on a long flight, just imagine how it is for your puppy! If you don’t have any other way of getting your furry friend where you need to go then make sure you know how to keep him happy in the hold. Sedating your dog before a flight is discouraged so instead, you should write your pet’s name on the outside of their crate so baggage handlers can sooth stressed out pets. Consider booking a flight in the early hours of the day during summer flights, so your animal isn’t too hot in the hold.
Sign Up For Rewards
Even if you don’t think you’ll ever have enough points to cash in on a free flight, it’s still worth it to sign up for a reward program. Many companies make it easy enough to earn points and provide their customers with a low cost or even free chance to travel after just a few flights. If you get lucky, you won’t have to use the same airline to travel on that you signed up for the rewards with. Take advantage of any chance you can try to save money by doing your research in advance!
Have you ever wondered what happens to your unclaimed luggage at the airport? Airline companies auction off unclaimed luggage after a certain amount of time so if you wanted to know where your lost skis went to, there’s your answer. In the UK, they auction off items to the highest bidder and, apparently, confiscated liquor is part of the deal as well. It’s rumored that airport security drinks the alcohol they confiscate but we couldn’t find any official sources to confirm or deny this claim.
You know those lovely prepackaged headphones and blankets you receive from the flight attendant aboard a long-haul flight? Well, they might be wrapped in plastic but that doesn’t make them new. The headsets are collected at the end of the flight from passengers, cleaned, disinfected and wrapped again. If this idea grosses you out just get used to bringing your own headphones. Today you can easily find great quality for low prices that fold up nicely for your traveling convenience.
If you miss your flight due to some fault of the airline and you’re given the option of receiving either an airline voucher or cash, the decision might be a difficult one. Our sources recommend you take the cash if you’re not permitted to take your flight. The US department of Transportation has a guarantee of up to $1,300 in cash if the company can not rearrange your flight within two hours of the cancellation. A voucher is often only usable on that specific airline and not always conducive for planning future trips.
Flight Attendant Training
Did you know your flight attendant can do a lot more than make your coffee and guide you to your seat? Attendants are trained in CPR, including how to deliver a baby, fire safety, and self-defense. It’s not that your flight attendant is anticipating a rough round of hand to hand combat with passengers, but in the event of a security risk, they are ready. Airplane employees learn basic self-defense and practice on dummies and each other to ensure that if it’s ever needed, they’ll be able to keep passengers safe.
Some people truly enjoy eating airline food. We’re not exactly sure why that would be but to each his own! Each airline has its own system for food for its passengers but some things are consistent across the board. Did you know that pilots are fed two different meals and are not permitted to share in case of attempted poisoning? And, if an airline employee were to take food from the plane, even if it was about to be thrown away, they could risk getting fired. The more you know!
Today, almost everything is available at your fingertips thanks to the lightning speed of mobile applications. Almost every airline has an app that you can easily access from a smartphone, and you should take advantage of this useful technology. Companies post the latest flight updates including delays and changes on their apps, weather reports and currency exchange information, and some also allow you to access your boarding passes electronically. Just imagine how much paper you can save by going mobile!
We all know that airplanes are used to transport various materials and supplies across the globe, but did you know most flights are also carrying some form of human material? If a person dies in a separate location from where they wish to be buried, the body needs to be transported by air. Plain wooden boxes marked “HR” contain human remains and are handled with the utmost care by baggage handlers. Most domestic flights are also carrying human organs for transplants. Amazing!
On Board Ashtrays
Have you ever wondered why there are ashtrays aboard planes if you aren’t permitted to smoke? Ashtrays are a piece of necessary equipment despite the fact that the FAA banned smoking in the air years ago. The reality is that if a passenger decides to break the rules and light up in the air, they need to have a place to dispose of the butt aside from the garbage can that could be quite dangerous. Better not to light up on board, getting caught smoking is a criminal offense!
Share The Wealth
Most people don’t tip their flight attendants because they don’t think they can or should, but it’s a welcome gesture. Flight attendants work hard to keep passengers safe and happy while in the air and if you’ve received first class treatment why not show a little love! Some people swear that by tipping their attendants they get even quicker service, and if you don’t want to give cash so why not buy a box of chocolates at duty-free to share.
Dim The Lights
Have you ever been on an evening flight where upon landing they dim the interior lights? Did it ever strike you as odd? The real reason lights get dimmed upon a night landing is in the case of an emergency evacuation. Your eyes need time to adjust to the change, so to make it easier on passengers the flight, the staff lower lights minimally so if you find yourself on the platform you aren’t in shock. Some passengers sleep through landing and probably didn’t even know this happens!
Don’t Wrap Gifts
If you’re lucky enough to fly home for the holidays, you should reconsider pre-wrapping gifts before putting them in your luggage. Airport security often has to unwrap gifts and packages to ensure no security threats are lurking in someone’s luggage. Most people travel with a TSA approved luggage lock that protects their personal items, but still allows access to security guards. Think of using a gift bag in the same way! Gift bags look nice and allow staff to check packages without ruining your presentation.
Don’t panic if you experience a hard landing – it doesn’t necessarily mean your pilot is having trouble keeping the plane under control. Experienced pilots know there are a few tricks to landing a plane safely and with skill in all conditions. If there is water on the runway, a pilot is better off coming down hard to break the water seal on the tarmac and prevent aquaplaning. When the wheels on a plane are unable to grab onto the surface of the tarmac due to water or ice it’s incredibly dangerous to land!
Were you aware of the fact that your airline is responsible for paying compensation if your luggage is delayed? The usual amount is between $25 to $50 a day to cover the inconvenience of being without your items, but the Department of Transportation says it should be more! If you miss an important business meeting or a wedding due to a lost luggage you are owed your fair share, companies can owe you up to $3,300 in liability!
One Way Ticket
When trying to get the best possible deal, people go to great lengths and even resort to flying standby to save money on their ticket! But it’s worth it to consider buying two one-way tickets instead of a roundtrip seat. The benefit of two one-way tickets is that you can get the lowest price available with two separate airlines, and you aren’t locked down to specific dates or times. Some people prefer the peace of mind that comes with a round trip ticket, but if you’re feeling adventurous it’s worth looking into alternatives!
All airlines have a cancellation policy, but it’s in your best interest to investigate before you buy a ticket to make sure you don’t end up in a bind! Some airlines allow you to change a scheduled flight within seven days and receive a refund while others have an exchange only policy. Also, it’s in your best interest to be aware if changes are only allowed to be made directly through an airline’s website instead of a third party booking site.
Who’s Flying This Thing?
There are two pilots aboard every flight for a reason. First reason being, pilots need to have someone else in the cockpit with them in case they fall asleep to manage the controllers and keep you in the air. Reportedly, half of the time pilots fall asleep but don’t worry too much! Essentially, the plane is self-contained and flies itself and only needs a human during take-off and landing. Regardless, everyone will feel better knowing there’s a human up there behind the wheel…
Bring A Pen
There are a few things you need on a flight that always seem to escape your mind like a pen, for instance! When you fly overseas and need to fill out immigration forms, don’t rely on your flight attendant to provide you with a pen. Most of the time the on-board staff carry one or two pens but not 200! Another useful item to have on board is a pack of tissues and chewing gum to ensure a comfortable flying experience.
For your safety, it’s best to have extra medication, including syringes if needed, in your carry on or near you during a flight. Your medication bottles should have prescription labels on them to speed up the security check process, and you need to be ready to open and demonstrate medical devices if you’re asked to by security. Don’t rely on other passengers to carry an extra emergency asthma inhaler or sanitary pad. It’s better to be prepared than caught in a life threatening situation.
Don’t Worry About The Rookie
Everyone needs to start somewhere, right? Even pilots! Don’t worry if you get a “rookie” though. It doesn’t mean he doesn’t know what he’s doing, simply that he hasn’t logged a ton of in air hours yet. A rookie is often called in as a subcontract when a regular pilot can’t make the flight, say because of an illness or prior commitment. A rookie is still a trained and qualified pilot who knows how to get you where you are going safely!
Know The Season
Flying off-season can save your wallet! Traveling during your summer vacation might be more fun, but the flights are for sure steeper than most people are prepared to face! Do some digging and find out when off season for your destination is and you can drastically cut down the cost of your flight! Off season implies rainy or cooler temperatures in your destination or a time of year when there are limited public holidays. One more benefit to seasonal flying – fewer people on your flight and less waiting time at the airport!
Take Your Seat
When you’re boarding a flight and you feel pressured to take your seat, it’s not because the flight attendant is in a bad mood or just trying to annoy you. Most people are unaware of the fact that attendants don’t start getting paid until the doors of the plane are closed behind them. The sooner everyone is in their seat and the flight is ready for takeoff the clock turns on and they start earning a salary, something to remember next time you fly!
Don’t Go Barefoot
Everyone wants to get comfortable on the plane and what better way than by taking off your shoes, reclining back and watching a film. Except, whatever you do, don’t walk to the bathroom barefoot! The carpeted aisles on the plane might look clean but they’ve had everything from baby urine to blood and vomit spilled on them. Sure, the plane gets cleaned upon landing but remember what we told you about the recycled headphones? Do you really want to take that risk?
Sometimes, we suspect that if your items are labeled “fragile” they are actually thrown harder and more likely to make it home in multiple pieces. Think when you pack that your precious items will be tossed around and should be packed extra well. Wrap liquids in plastic bags to prevent spills, and place delicate items between the folds of your clothing for extra cushion. Remember that baggage handlers have to fit freight and over 100 pieces of baggage in the hold, they don’t always have time to look out for your needs.
Only Drink Bottled Water
Even on that flight to Mexico, it’s not a good idea to drink the water unless it’s coming from a bottle. Airplane water tankers are notoriously hard to clean and don’t get a good scrub down that often, so the water inside should be a last resort option and not something you drink by choice. Even the coffee and tea that you drink on board should be made with bottled water to ensure you don’t accidentally get sick. Not sure? Ask the flight attendant.
On those long transatlantic flights, even the flight staff gets tired and needs a chance to rest. Some planes have hidden compartments where the stewardess can get much deserved shut eye. On large aircraft, there can be a space above the first class seats where two flight attendants at a time can rest and relax. Sometimes you may see flight attendants take over an entire row of seats at the back of the plane to stretch out and nap in shifts.
Invest In Quality Luggage
Buying good luggage is worth it. Period. Bags are never intentionally harmed, but it happens. Making sure you have the best suitcase for your needs, and one that can stand up to different weather will eliminate stress in the long run. Over the course of a trip, your suitcase is handled by at least ten different security personnel and airport employees. Clearly labeling your luggage as well will save you from a headache when you need to pick it up at the other end.
Pilots welcome some degree of disturbance because it means it’s a regular flight day. Turbulence is simply a patch of rough air or bubbles and pockets in clouds that the plane must pass through. Although it might feel frightening, the pilot is well aware how best to handle the situation. More than potentially dangerous, turbulence is an inconvenience and annoyance for passengers but honestly not something to be scared of. Pilots closely watch weather reports in order to better anticipate potential disturbances once in the air.
Every six months, pilots undergo further training to ensure they are up to date on all of the latest safety precautions and protocols. After two days of intensive testing and training only then are pilots granted permission to continue flying. There is no need to be nervous when you consider how hard a pilot works to maintain his level of skill and knowledge. Pilots also undergo an annual medical check-up and annual technical exam. Trust the professionals!
Crashes Are Rare
Planes are built to withstand an extensive amount of turbulence and stress while in the air. The actuality of a plane crashing due to turbulence is quite rare, with only one or two single jetliners crashing in history due to air disturbances. The amount of turbulence needed to rip the wing off of a plane is far stronger than anything you’ve likely to have experienced. During turbulence, the pilot does not fight the controls and instead rides it out. Don’t worry, whatever happens the plane isn’t going to flip upside down!
When you get nervous on a flight, you tend to take shallow breaths. This will actually make you feel worse and raise your pulse to a level where you will have trouble calming down. Instead, when you get nervous try to focus on counting to 10 to maintain even breaths and rub your chest or temples. Remind yourself that any unsettled feelings you may experience momentarily will pass once you are able to return to a normal pattern of breathing.
If you really want to spend double for items on board the plane, then by all means shop from SkyMall but it’s just not worth it! Purchasing items on the ground at duty-free is a better option and also allows you to physically see the items yo wish to purchase. Some people swear by the convenience of SkyMall but if you want to stay on a budget don’t even shop once you’re inside the airport. Local shopping is generally a better idea all around and allows you to get unique souvenirs.