9 Surprising Things You Should Know About Air Travel

From the annoying security lines to the tight and sometimes gross seating conditions, traveling by air is not always the most pleasant experience. Did you hear about the guy who sat in a urine-soaked seat during his first class flight? It wasn’t his urine either; it belonged to the passenger on the flight before him. On your next flight, you may want to pack sanitizer, snacks, and your own blanket. The following insider info will make you laugh, squirm, or take notes in hopes of keeping yourself safe and comfortable on your next flight.

  1. The Air You Breathe

    The air you breathe on planes is actually a mix of compressed outside air from the engine and cabin air. There’s no way to detect if it’s contaminated with germs or jet fumes, but airlines assure us that your row neighbors germs are probably worse.

  2. Tray Tables Are Everything

    Trays aren’t just for laptops and eating. Did you know they also serve as changing tables for baby diapers? Yes, that means there could be baby doo on your lap tray because they don’t get cleaned regularly either. Eating your accidentally spilled snack off its bare surface probably isn’t a good idea. Your best bet? Bring your own disinfectant wipes for everything.

  3. Don’t Drink the Water

    Among the secrets shared online by flight attendants is that the potable water used for drinking is usually refilled by the same guy that changes the bathroom water. This is often done at the same time, within a few feet of each other. Another reason to avoid non-bottled drinks – the water used to make coffee and tea is suspect. The tank under the plane that holds the water has years’ worth of sediment buildup that “resembles pond scum.”

  4. Nothing New Around Here

    Blankets, pillows, and earphones for all! Those comfy complimentary items may make you feel special while sitting in economy, but they aren’t fresh or new. Blankets and pillows are passed from flight to flight, leaving you open to a myriad of yucky things – like lice, viruses, and bodily fluids. Free earphones are often given out on certain flights, but they too get recycled. Knowing this now will leave you wondering about their past lives.

  5. The Lav Unlocks From the Outside

    Whatever you think you may be keeping private in the bathroom really isn’t. There’s a hidden sliding mechanism that allows the door to be unlocked from the outside, so remember that the next time you need to handle your business.

  6. Keep Your Shoes On

    For starters, no one wants to see bare feet hovering near their face. In addition to being good and basic plane etiquette, keeping your shoes on is also good for you. Floor hazards can include dried blood and vomit, broken glass, and unidentified substances of the sticky kind.

  7. Pets

    One ramp employee shared that pets are exposed to a ridiculous amount of noise on the tarmac. If humans have to use ear protection, then imagine how your doggie is coping out there. The weather may also mean extremes in heat, cold, or rain as they wait to get loaded. It’s the reason some pet owners opt for road trips.

  8. Pilots Are In Charge

    Though the rumor is still up in the air about whether pilots can arrest people, they can most definitely restrain someone with handcuffs. They also can – and will – turn a plane around if a passenger is non-compliant or unruly. That includes breaking cell phone rules or being inebriated.

  9. Flight Attendants are Trained Butt-kickers

    They are competent in CPR, fire emergency procedures, and first aid, but you may be surprised to find out that flight attendants are given self-defense training too. Behind those cheerful smiles are the skills to disable a potential attacker.