The secrets that airlines don’t want passengers to know about

Including why you shouldn't be ordering tea or coffee...

Hands up if you love insider secrets?

When one Quora user asked the question ‘What are some things that airline cabin crews know, but won’t tell you?’, a whole bunch of flight attendants decided to get *really* honest on the question-and-answer website

The air stewards revealed the things that airlines would rather we perhaps didn’t know, from secret crash procedures to some rather unnerving facts about plane hygiene. Here’s what we found out…

1. If the plane is going to crash, you’ll know about it

It’s no secret that air stewards’ smiley exteriors and bubbly personalities are all about keeping even the most nervous of flyers in positive spirits. But there’s always the fear that those ear-to-ear grins are there to throw passengers off the scent of any problems, should there be any.

Well think again, as one anonymous steward revealed that if the plane is about to crash, the passengers will be the first to know. There’s no sugar-coating that one.

‘The captain will give you the same information that we know if there is time and then we will begin emergency landing procedures,’ they said. ‘My job is to make sure we all get out alive, so of course I would want you to be as prepared as possible.’

2. Airlines will often give passengers used blankets and pillows

Now, let us point out that this one only applies to some of the cheaper airlines, as one user pointed out. But what did we really expect?

‘The blankets and pillows get reused over and over again,’ they revealed. ‘They just fold em [sic] up and put them away for the next flight.

Another user Sudewo, backed them up, saying: ‘It depends on how cheap the airline is, but I’ve had my share seeing them [the cleaning team] refolding the blankets for the passengers on the next flight to use. At least they were generous enough to replace the pillow covers and the headrest covers.’

Apparently a way to tackle this is to ask for a new blanket in a plastic bag. Fool-proof.



3. Ordering tea or coffee might not be the best idea

Any drink made with water uses water from the tank in the plane, which is generally not very clean.

‘The water from the plane is disgusting,’ an anonymous air steward revealed. ‘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.’

4. The crew get nicer food than you

Plane food gets a bad rep, especially now that we know how many calories we eat on a flight, but who knew it might only be the passengers that are eating the microwave meals.

Sudewo said: ‘Our meals are slightly better than the passenger meals,’ saying they get fresh fruit, desserts, bread rolls, drinks and a whole lot more.

5. We know plane bathrooms aren’t great, but…

Plane toilets are apparently so gross that flight attendants are reluctant to use them, with one saying: ‘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.'<

6. Using the toilets can hold up the whole flight

On the subject of loos, using the plane bathroom when the seatbelt lights turn on could delay landing.

‘If somebody gets up to use the restroom, we have to tell the cockpit, and they have to stop the plane and wait until the person is back in his or her seat and buckled up. During that time we could lose our spot in line.’

Time it right, people.

7. Flight attendants aren’t paid until the plane door closes

One anonymous flight attendant revealed that they don’t get paid for a lot of time they are *technically* at work.

‘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 2 hours early but not be paid for it,’ they said.

‘We can work a 13-hour day and only be paid 5,’ they went on. ‘Some of us end up with crappy trips where it is 5 flights all about an hour long each. So while we are boarding, deplaning, etc all of that is unpaid since that aircraft door is technically open. If you add in delays, that’s an even longer day all without pay.’

It all seems so glamorous in films, doesn’t it?

8. Flight attendants have to be at the airport for back up even if they aren’t flying

We’ve all had to suffer long queues in the shop when your local supermarket is understaffed, but it’s not like a plane can just not take off should a flight attendant be late, ill or ahem, pulling a sickie.

Instead, there’s always two back up air stewards in the airport with their uniforms on and bags packed, just in case.

‘I have been called to work a flight because the flight attendant who was supposed to work it got into a bad car accident on his way to work,’ one anonymous worker wrote. ‘I got to the gate within 5 minutes of my notification and met with glares from the passengers.’

9. Flight attendants don’t get a lot of sleep.

Turns out that plane staff hate flight delays just as much as us, as a delayed plane could mean they don’t get to sleep before their next shift.

‘We hate delays just as much as you do, if not more,’ one user said. ‘If I was going to originally have 10 hours of rest at the hotel before having to fly the next morning, now it is 8 hours.

‘This 8 hours includes having a meal, showering, getting ready for bed, getting ready in the morning and travel time to the airport,’ they said.

F-you, flight delays. Sincerely, everyone.

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