When flying with airlines, in the air on an airplane, do you ever contemplate what are the best-kept secrets of airlines? Do you think the airlines that operate our flights are doing their best to look after us? Here are 10 of the best kept secrets that the airlines don’t want you to know.
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Featuring... Electronics - You get on a plane, and immediately start watching a video you’ve downloaded to your device. Then as you’re about to take off, the crew tell you that you have to turn it off. You’re not using wifi or mobile data, surely there’s no problem? Surely you’re not going to make plane crash? Well, you’re right. Sneaky airline business tactics - Flying millions of people around the world is big business, and airlines do everything they can to maximise their profits, often at our expense. That bit when they come round with the Sky Mall trolley, filled with spirits and perfume? Pets - Some people like to take their pets on holiday, so they load them into little cages and they go on the plane, in the luggage hold. Pilots' Food - In the classic comedy film Airplane, when everyone, including the pilots, who have eaten the fish get sick from food poisoning, chaos and hilarity ensues. The truth about the oxygen masks. - During the safety briefing, assuming you’ve turned off your electronic device, you’ll hear that in an emergency, oxygen masks will drop down. These lovely yellow masks will help you breathe normally at high altitude until cabin pressure is restored. What the airlines don't tell you is that there is only 15 minutes' worth of oxygen in those masks. Don’t worry too much though. 15 minutes should be more than enough time for the pilot to get the plane to a lower altitude, where the air is breathable. What you need to remember is that from the time the masks drop down, you’ve got between 15 and 20 seconds to put it on before you pass out. If you have kids put yours on first before you do theirs. Happy landings - Ever wondered why, if your plane is landing at night, they dim the lights in the cabin when you’re about to land? That's because if the landing goes wrong and they need to evacuate the plane, your eyes are already adjusted to the darkness. You’ll be able to see better you leave the plane, instead of blinking and rubbing your eyes. Pilot power - When you’re on land, you’re subject to the laws laid down by your democratically elected leaders, hopefully. But once those planes doors are shut, you’re in the pilot’s world. He or she is in charge. The captain of the plane can arrest people, issue fines, and even take the will of a dying passenger. Don’t mess. The bathrooms - OK, now on to some very unsavoury business. Whatever you do, do not drink the water in the bathrooms. It’s filthy. The airlines regularly clean the water tank with sanitising products, unfortunately the parasites that call this tank home build up resistance to the chemicals. So they stay there. While we’re on the subject of plane bathrooms, bear in mind that they can unlock from the outside. There’s usually a catch under the ‘No Smoking’ sign that can open the door in an emergency. When things go wrong - Data shows that things go wrong on flights more than we think. At London Heathrow, they get an emergency landing about once a week. Yet if you’re a passenger, you may never even know it’s happening. Communication between the cockpit and cattle class is strictly on a ‘need to know’ basis. Sleep - Pilots’ working rules state that they can be on duty for anything up to 16 hours at a time. That’s a long time, much longer than a truck driver for example, is allowed to drive in one sitting. As a result, it’s not uncommon for a pilot to have a quick nap while flying the plane.