There’s a Hidden Handrail On Every Airplane — Do You Know Where it is?

Most of us have had to deal with the pros and woes of airplane travel at some point. There’s navigating through unfamiliar airports, getting baggage weight just right, security line fun, and then herding onto the plane.

Ah yes, boarding. With its shuffling, stuffing, squeezing, and uncomfortable but sometimes necessary brushing up on someone, it’s by far everyone’s favorite part. Right? As fellow travelers search for their seats, it’s inevitable that someone will either lose their balance for a second, or put their sweet hands on each seat as they walk down the cramped aisle.

Perhaps they wouldn’t if they knew about the plane’s inconspicuous handrail. What? You didn’t know about it? A small groove sits right underneath the overhead bins that acts as a rail to steady your walking. According to Condé Nast, you’ll find them on planes built within the last fifteen years.

If you’ve paid attention, you may have noticed flight attendants using them as they maneuver up and down the aisle. When you need to get up for a mid-flight trip to the restroom, just slip your fingers into the small space and hang on. Look for the rail the next time you step on an airplane and avoid annoying fellow passengers who don’t appreciate having their seats gripped by passersby, or if there’s some turbulence.

Though this feature isn’t really a “hidden” one, there are plenty of aircraft secrets that people have no clue about. For instance, there’s a fire axe kept in the cockpit for emergencies. And flight crew can rest comfortably in their own sleeping quarters, as planes are outfitted with CRCs – crew rest compartments – that are equipped with beds.

Other parts of an airplane that have been there but have possibly slid under your radar are meant for safety. Those tiny holes you see in the windows? They’re there to help with pressurization, enabling us to breathe while cruising high in the sky.

If you look out the window, you may see some hooks on the plane’s wing. Should the pilot ever need to make an emergency landing (especially in water), escape ropes are hooked through those brackets so that passengers can evacuate safely. They also aid in attaching the inflatable slides to the wing.

But back to those rails. Click on the video from Southern Living to learn more about where they are and how to use them. In addition to keeping you balanced as you walk, they can serve to cut down on poor airplane etiquette.

There’s enough of that to deal with already like stinky toes nestled next to your armrest by the oh-so-considerate flyer sitting behind you. Or, the cougher/sneezer who was never taught to cover his mouth. And a busybody who just can’t seem to sit still, even though she’s well over the age of 10.

The handrail offers the opportunity for balance, and less touchy-feely contact with aisle-seat passengers who don’t want strange fingers near their heads.

Were you already in the know about these handrails? Will you check for one the next time you fly?