In Air Facts: Things to Know

Traveling by air means different things to different people. For some, the thought of flying only elicits fear, while for others flying is something associated with more pleasant feelings of relaxing holidays or visiting loved ones. However, whatever the reason for your travels, it seems that there’s a lot people don’t actually know about airplanes.

Of course, most people have a basic idea about how planes work, but the majority of people probably don’t know that there’s a hidden switch that allows flight attendants to unlock the lavatory door from the outside. It’s usually located underneath the metal ‘Lavatory’ sign and is there in case someone passes out or suffers from a sudden health problem while inside.

While this little tidbit isn’t something you should ever consider using, here are a few other useful facts that should help clear up some of the confusion surrounding airplane travel.

Why Does Everything Taste Funny in the Air?

It seems that people have been complaining about airplane food for almost as long as planes have been in existence. Of course, airplane meals have gotten better over time, and nowadays you can actually be served some quite tasty dishes—especially when traveling in business or first class. Nonetheless, it takes a lot of thought and special preparation to make food taste good at high altitude.

The problem is that the altitude dries your sinuses and dulls your taste buds, meaning most things don’t taste like much. To overcome this, airlines are forced to use large amounts of sugars and salts to enhance the taste.

What Do Pilots Eat?

Speaking of food, have you ever wondered what pilots get to eat? Well, the answer isn’t all that exciting, as most airlines serve their pilot’s food off the standard business or first-class menu. However, the pilot and co-pilot are usually required to order different meals. This way, one person should remain healthy in case one of the in-flight meals was contaminated.

How Clean is a Plane Really?

Unfortunately, you probably don’t want to know the answer to this question. The quick turnaround times in between flights means that there’s no way to fully scrub down a plane in between. In fact, most planes aren’t even stocked with new pillows or blankets and instead reuse the same ones throughout the day. This means that if those items aren’t sealed in plastic, they’ve probably already been used by passengers on previous flights.

Why Do Planes Still Have Ashtrays?

This is one question that still vexes many, as even modern airplanes still have ashtrays in the lavatory despite the fact that you haven’t been able to smoke on planes in decades. The reason is that ashtrays are mandated by law. In case someone decides to light up in spite of the many no smoking signs, the lavatory ashtrays ensure they have a safe place to put out their butt before facing down their huge fine.

Why Do the Window Shades Have to Be Up For Takeoff and Landing?

This final item relates to safety. The majority of crashes happen during takeoff and landing. Keeping the window shades open allows both the crew and passengers to be aware of what’s going on outside, which will obviously be important in the unlikely event of a crash.