The vast majority of us have been on an airplane at one time or other in our lives. Whether it’s for business or pleasure, these amazing vehicles carry us through the air over land and sea at super-fast speeds to get us places we could otherwise never get to.
But despite how familiar we are with airplanes, we know shockingly little about the people working on them. From the sneaky hideaways to the hidden on-board perks, there’s a lot more you need to know about the stewards and stewardesses on your flight.
Luckily for us, these flight attendants decided to spill-all about the unknown secrets of their job.
They Absolutely Hate It When You Order This Specific Drink
On most flights, a drink cart comes rolling down the aisle a few times throughout the trip, carrying everything from Coke to orange juice to red wine.
Flight attendants don’t mind which one you choose, unless you pick Diet Coke. Unlike the other carbonated beverages on board, Diet Coke is notoriously difficult to pour up in the air. It takes the longest time for the bubbles to go down so you don’t end up with a cup of 90% foam.
They Keep Passengers In The Dark For Their Own Peace Of Mind
Aside from the pilot and co-pilot in the cockpit, the cabin crew is the first to know if anything on board goes awry. That can range from a sick person, a plane malfunction, or even a violent passenger threat.
Unless the situation becomes such that an emergency landing is required, the passengers on the plane will never be any the wiser. Flight attendants are trained to stay calm and put on a happy face, so as not to stir panic among the passengers.
Plane Crashes Are Not The Scariest Thing That Could Happen On Board
For people who are afraid of flying, a crazy plane crash is probably what they are afraid of once the airplane takes off. But flight attendants know that it’s pretty unlikely that that would happen.
What they do know, however, is that the oxygen masks that drop down in case of loss of cabin pressure only carry about 12-15 minutes worth of oxygen. So if the plane is having trouble with pressure and it’s up too high, the lack of oxygen could be fatal.
If You Dress Like This You’ll Never Get An Upgrade
Sometimes, if you’re really lucky (or you’ve been very kind to a flight attendant), you’ll be upgraded somehow. Maybe a better seat, classier meal, or a free glass of bubbly. But it all depends on the state of you when you board.
if you get on the plane in sweatpants looking like a disheveled mess, there’s no chance a flight attendant will bump you up to a nicer spot on the plane. You need to look the part.
The Mile High Club Has Less Members Than You’d Think
Being a member of the “Mile High Club” means you’ve snuck in some hanky panky in the airplane lavatory with another passenger.
While we’re not saying that this has never happened, most flight attendants will attest to the fact that they’ve never caught someone in the bathroom. The space is so small and cramped that it’s almost impossible to fit two people in there in the first place.
If You’re Thinking Of Fixing Your Hair In The Bathroom, Think Again
There are smoke alarms in every bathroom on the plane for obvious reasons, but smoke isn’t the only thing that can set them off.
Spraying a can of hairspray to try and fix your hairdo will likely set off the alarms, so save it for when you land. Also, and this should be obvious, vape pens will do that same even though they technically aren’t smoke either.
You’re Going To Want To Leave Your Shoes On
Aside from the fact that you are on a plane with sometimes hundreds of other people, there’s another reason why you should absolutely leave your shoes on besides common courtesy.
The plane floor is dirtier than you can even imagine. Between spilled food and trays, the dirt from everyone’s shoes, unfortunate bodily accidents, and much more, the floor of a plane is one of the most disgusting surfaces around.
Most Flight Attendants Don’t Know Their Coworkers
You might hear flight attendants communicating with one another using pet names like “hun or dear”, but this isn’t because they are the best of friends.
In fact, it’s more than likely that they met that day before boarding your flight. It’s actually pretty uncommon for two flight attendants to work together more than once or twice, although sometimes they stay in touch after the flight.
There’s A Weird Reason Why Planes Are So Cold
Have you ever noticed that in the middle of your flight you are shivering from the low temperature?
The plane is kept very cold during the flight for a few reasons, including to combat heat given off by the other passengers, but the weirdest one is to prevent passengers from fainting mid-flight! The low temperature helps limit hypoxia (when oxygen doesn’t reach the tissues in your body).
Don’t Take The Seat Closest To The Bathroom – And It’s Not Because Of The Smell
Some might think it’s a smart idea to get the seat located closest to the bathroom, especially if you have to go often, but we can assure you it’s a bad idea.
Not only is it the smelliest place to be, but whenever there is a problem in the bathroom and the mechanics come on board, they remove all of the toilet parts and put them on that seat until they are ready to put them back together.
Skip The Coffee And Tea
Especially during flights that fly overnight into the morning, flight attendants come around with coffee and tea for passengers who need that cup of joe. It might be tempting to get your caffeine fix on the plane, but you should avoid it at all costs.
The water they use comes from a tank underneath the plane that is almost never cleaned. Airplane water has a reputation for failed E.Coli tests.
Even Though They Board Before You, Cabin Crew Doesn’t Get Paid Until This Happens
By the time you are ready to board the plane, you can see that all the flight attendants are already on and situated, ready to greet you at the door and help you find their seats.
You might think this is just part of the job, but actually, the crew technically doesn’t start making money until the doors have closed. That means the longer boarding takes, the longer they work without pay.
Flight Attendants Have Power, But It’s The Captain Who Has The Final Say
According to Federal Regulations, the pilot of the plane (or PIC – Pilot In Command) essentially has unlimited power while in the air.
This means that if he or she can make the call whether or not to restrain a passenger, refuse boarding, or even write up fines for whatever they deem necessary.
The Cabin Crew Is Trained In More Than Just Food Services
99% of the time, you see the cabin crew giving out food and drinks, collecting trash, and reminding passengers to put on their seatbelts. But this doesn’t even come close to what they’ve been trained to do.
Most of their training is for emergencies and can include things like delivering a baby, splinting a broken limb, giving CPR, putting out fires, and even diagnosing certain illnesses.
On Long-Haul Flights, The Crew Gets In Some Shut Eye Too
Flights that are very long (usually 10+ hours) can be extremely exhausting, and the cabin crew needs to have a few hours to rest, just like you do.
On aircrafts flying long distances, there are special cabins with actual beds where flight attendants can get some much needed sleep while their coworkers take over.
There’s A Pretty Strict Dress Code
While most passengers look like they’ve been dragged behind a truck after a few hours on the plane, the cabin crew always looks perfectly put together. This is because it’s a requirement.
While each airline has different rules, most flight attendants must have their hair, makeup, and outfits looking a certain way (down to how they can wear their hair and what color lipstick they must have on).
Cabin Crew Communicates With Each Other From All The Way Across The Plane
You’ve probably noticed that there are dings when the seatbelt sign goes on and off. But there are also a lot of times where you hear the dings and there has been no visible change to the sign.
Flight attendants communicate with each other using these sounds, as it’s often hard to get across the plane to talk in person.
You Lock The Bathrooms From The Inside, But That’s Actually An Illusion
Everyone knows that the only way to turn the lights on in the airplane lavatory is to fully close the door and pull the lock. This lights up the room and activates the “occupied” sign on the door.
However, there are locks on the outside of the door as well, and technically anyone can open them. It’s for safety reasons.
Female Flight Attendant Uniforms Have A Secret Message
Many female flight attendant uniforms have skirts as part of the required outfits. But where the hem of the skirt sits can tell a lot about the stewardess wearing it.
Newer recruits have a required length they must keep their skirt hem at for a probationary period, whereas more senior members of the crew can hem them a little shorter.
There Are Very Strict Height Requirements To Get The Job
There used to be strict weight requirements to become a flight attendant (thankfully these were eased a lot in the recent decades), but there still remain very strict height requirements that must be enforced.
The reason being is that they have to be tall enough to reach the overhead bins, but short enough so they aren’t bumping their heads on the ceiling. The height requirements are between 5’2” and 6’1”.
Cabin Crew Is One Of The Hardest Jobs To Get
You might not know it, but getting a gig as a flight attendant is extremely difficult to manage.
For starters, the competition is very high, as literally hundreds of thousands of applicants apply for a relatively small number of openings. Also, the number of accepted applications is around only 1% (that’s much less than the acceptance rates of most Ivy League Universities).
No, Keeping Your Cell Phone On Won’t Crash The Plane – But It Will Do This
At the beginning of every flight, all passengers are asked to put their phones in airplane mode before takeoff. The rumor around this has been that the frequencies would make the plane crash, but this isn’t the case.
It will, however, mess with the radio signals to flight towers which will hinder communication between the pilot and the ground crew.
The Lights Aren’t Dimmed So You Can Get Some Sleep
For flights that fly during the night, the cabin crew will dim the lights during takeoff and landing. Most people think it’s so the passengers can get to sleep, but that’s not true.
The dimmed lights are there to help your eyes adjust to the darkness, in the case of an emergency landing. The few moments it takes for your eyes to adjust to the lack of light are precious in an emergency evacuation.
Being Rude To The Check-In Staff Can Earn You A Big Headache In The Air
Even if you’re running late to your flight or your bag is a few pounds overweight, don’t be rude to the staff checking you in, or you could be in for a nightmare of a flight.
If the check-in staff doesn’t like your attitude, they could easily (and they do it all the time) switch your seat to a section full of babies. So your flight will be a symphony of crying and screaming.
Don’t Blame The Cabin Crew For Delays, They Hate Them More Than You Do
No passenger wants to be stuck on the ground because of a delay, but it’s futile to blame the cabin crew for it. Not only is it completely out of their control, but it also affects them in an even worse way.
Not only will they have less time between flight shifts to rest, but they aren’t even getting paid during these delays.
Your Hunch About Airplane Food Is Correct – It Isn’t Fresh
Because in-flight meals are made on the ground in a separate facility, they need to be cooked and packaged hours if not days before your flight takes off.
The food you get was cooked anywhere from 10 hours to 5 days beforehand, and then blast-chilled and stored in a freezer until it finally gets to you. So no, your meal is definitely not freshly made as the airline would have you believe.
The Meal You Get Served Is Different From The Pilot’s Meal
As you can probably imagine, the food you’re getting in Economy is going to look very different from the food they’re getting up in the cockpit. But that’s not because the pilots have special privileges.
As a rule, pilots must be served different food from the passengers in the case that the passenger meal will lead to food poisoning. Someone’s got to fly the plane.
Those Blankets And Pillows Aren’t As “New” As You Think
Despite the fact that you get to unwrap your in-flight blankets and pillows from plastic packaging, they most likely aren’t very clean and they almost definitely aren’t new.
Most of the time the blankets and pillows that remain on the plane after the flight are collected and rewrapped in plastic for the next passengers to use.
The Applause At The End Of The Flight Can Be Insulting For The Pilot
There are always those few people who start a round of applause when the plane hits the ground, usually causing the rest of the flight to follow suit.
While it’s meant as a gesture of appreciation towards the pilot, it is sometimes taken as an insult, as if the pilot had any other option than to successfully land the plane. It’s something to think about.
If A Flight Attendant Cuts You Off It’s Because The Law Makes Them
Yes, you can technically order an unlimited number of hard beverages during your flight, but that doesn’t mean you won’t be cut off at the point the flight attendant deems it necessary.
It’s technically illegal to be intoxicated while in the air, so serving you enough to get to that state is illegal as well. If you get cut off, just know that the crew is just doing their job.