Have you ever given a second thought to those giant metal flying things we call airplanes? Here are some trade secrets of the airline industry from those who know it best: employees.
The Lavatory Bathroom Secret
"There is a small latch hidden inside the lavatory sign on the bathroom door, which will open the door when pulled, even when it's locked. Airplane Peekaboo!"
Off The Grid
"When flying overseas there are generally no systems tracking the movement of your aircraft for several thousand miles i.e. how they go missing."
Secret Rest Compartments
"On larger aircraft, there are secret compartments where your cabin crew and flight crew are able to get much needed rest. This is the flight crew rest on a Boeing 777 and it's located above the ceiling of the first class cabin."
Don’t Drink The Coffee
"The coffee is absolutely disgusting because the no one washes the container that goes out every morning. The station agents who get paid way too little don't give a shit about cleaning it. I certainly didn't when I worked for AA."
Put It In A Bag!
"If you check a skateboard by just slapping a sticker on it, it will get ridden or used as a dolly."
What You Need To Know About Pilots And Copilots
The terms "pilot and copilot" are extremely misunderstood and matter of fact rarely ever used in the industry. First off, the "copilot" (more accurately First Officer) as many people believe otherwise, is every bit as capable and experienced (in some cases maybe more) than the "pilot" (ie Captain). He's not (usually) the blithering idiot as shown in that one Denzel Washington movie. He has essentially the same authority as the captain, and they work as a team. News outlets love to say "the pilot did this, the pilot did that" and they always forget there's a TEAM in the cockpit, the pilots. It's not a case of one guy more work than the other. We take turns flying. One guy flies out, one guy flies back or some other agreement.
When To Buy Your Tickets
"I work Revenue Management for an airline. On average, the cheapest time to BUY a ticket is Tuesday afternoon. The cheapest time to FLY is Tuesday, Wednesday, or Saturday. This applies to US flights in my experience."
Equipment “Gone Missing”
"That there's a huge list of things that can be missing from the aircraft while still being allowed to fly."
Traveling With Pets Can Be Tricky
"If you checked your Dog there's about a 30% chance it's terrified before it even gets on the plane, who knows how scared it gets during the actual flight. I've never seen a cat who was scared in the bag room, cats don't give a f##k."
Here’s What You Didn’t Know About Arm Rests
You know how all the other armrests can be raised except for the one next to the aisle? Turns out that one can be raised as well via a small button in a divot on the underside of the armrest. Useful if you want to spread out a bit more, though some flight attendants may tell you to put it back in place.
Selective Treatment Is Real
"Flight attendants have a list of who is who and what seat they are in. As well as what level of frequent flyer they happen to be. Or if they are employees or family and friends tickets. This is why you will see them being rude to someone or bending over backwards for jerks."
Learn To Love The Overbook
"Flights are routinely overbooked because there's a estimate per route of what percentage of people tend to miss the flight. Which is why they ask for volunteers. If you are a frequent flyer and know the busy times and flights you could volunteer all day from every flight going to a hub and make $1,000 in credit."
While in flight, pilots are served different meals and cannot share in case of food poisoning.
Not As Secure As You Thought
"Locks on zippered bags are useless. You can pop a zipper with a pen and drag the locked zipper pulls around the bag to close them back up. I've done this many times to identify bags that are tagless and locked."
It Comes With The Territory
"Bags are not intentionally harmed. They are, however, intentionally thrown, slid, jostled, stacked under hundreds of pounds of other bags, and exposed to the elements because that is the nature of the job."
Kindness Goes A Long Way!
"Be nice to the ticket agent and they will pretty much always let you get away with overweight bags. If you were funny, I'd even not charge you for bags."
"I used to work for warehouse that supplied a certain airline with items. The headsets that are given to you are not new, despite being wrapped up. They are taken off the flight, “cleaned”, and then packaged again."
The Real Story Behind Turbulence
Turbulence CAN NOT bring down a plane. Period. It is thought to have only ever possibly perhaps maybe happened ONCE in the whole history of aviation.
Don’t Expect Airlines To Give You A Free Hotel On Cancelations
Usually the only time you get a hotel (per the contracts) is if it is blatantly the airlines fault. You will almost never get put in a hotel due to cancellations due to weather. That's beyond the airline's control. ALWAYS PLAN YOUR TRIPS AROUND THE WEATHER IF YOU CAN ESPECIALLY IN THE WINTER.
Employee Family Discounts
Employees and their families get "ID tickets" (ID is for "industry discount"), which means they only pay taxes and fees and nothing for the actual ticket. The airlines basically lets them fly for free. And not just with their own airline, but with every airline in any alliance. The tickets are stand-by tickets, so you're not guaranteed to get on board, but you get a seat more often than not. The family members can travel on these tickets without the employee.
Your Checked Bag Isn’t Safe
My partner worked for Delta for about 4 years as one of the guys who loads and unloads your luggage and waves wands. Nothing is safe in those bags. They pop open all the time and your shit just gets haphazardly shoved back in. They get tossed around like volleyballs.