Think it’s all formalities and business for the staff of an aircraft? While there is unquestionably still a level of professionalism that needs to be adhered to, it would be naïve to think everything is as it seems during a flight. Here are five airline secrets you never knew existed.
- Dimmed lights aren’t for sleeping
Many people naturally assume pilots dim the lights on a plane to make it easier for passengers to relax, or even fall asleep. The reality is a lot more disturbing – albeit, a wise precautionary measure.
A pilot has revealed lights are actually dipped to help those on board adjust far more quickly if there is a need to exit the plane in case of an emergency. Having dimmer natural light means eyes will be immediately ready to deal with dark and dingy conditions should they face them when they exit the plane.
- Pilots fall asleep
We wish that was a misleading sub-title, but it’s sadly exactly what it says on the tin. In a survey done in 2013, it was found 43-54% of pilots questioned in the UK, Norway and Sweden admitted to falling asleep in mid-air.
It’s not always doom and gloom however, with long journeys sometimes taking this type of issue into account. Designated periods will be planned out to allow the pilot to sleep, while his co-pilot takes over until he is fully rested.
- Codes of the airways
You’d be forgiven for thinking the codes of the airways refers to the pilots and how they chart a course in the skies. In reality, it’s a series of terms the cabin staff use to talk about passengers without them knowing.
A classic example comes in the form of referencing “Bob”. This stands for “best on board” and is used to refer to the best-looking passenger on the plane. They’ll also draw attention to situations which might need monitoring, via destination-related code – such as, “I’ll be spending seven days in California” in reference to a person in seat 7C.
- 15 Minutes of oxygen in the masks
The masks which drop down in front of your face appear as though they’ll keep you breathing steadily for the entire trip if need be; but in reality only have enough air for 15 minutes.
That sounds alarming – but don’t fret. By the time they’ve dropped the pilot will have plenty of time to lower the plane to an altitude where breathing is a lot more feasible. Just don’t count down the seconds or you might start to get anxious.
- Staff can restrain you and have you arrested
While rumours suggesting a pilot has the power to arrest you are unfounded, it’s certainly true that staff can detain and even restrain you if they believe it’s necessary – even going as far as to have specialist kits on board since 2013.
It stands to reason they’d be allowed to do this. Unruly passengers are annoying and – in a confined space hundreds of miles above the ground – will need to be held down if they’re causing trouble. The police will often arrive to arrest them on landing at the behest of the captain.
Here’s hoping these five airline secrets haven’t made you too hesitant to fly in the future. Ultimately, it’s key to remember airplane journeys are almost always completely safe and that staff aboard know exactly what they’re doing. The only difference is; now you will too.