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Incredible Airplane Secrets Airlines Don't Want You to Know

Author: BE AMAZEDTime: 2024-01-02 10:00:01

Table of Contents

The Truth Behind Stressful Airline Boarding

Boarding a flight is one of the most stressful parts of air travel for many people. Long lines form at the gate as passengers anxiously wait to get on the plane. However, rushing to join the boarding queue is often unnecessary since airlines preassign seats.

By boarding towards the end, you can avoid standing in line and waiting around unnecessarily. There will also be fewer people clogging up the gate area and jet bridge, speeding up the overall process.

While waiting to board, take a look at the six digit alphanumeric code printed on your boarding pass. This code corresponds to the Passenger Name Record stored in the airline's reservation system database. It is used to identify passengers and contains sensitive personal information including your date of birth and contact details. So don't throw it in the trash where others could access it!

Decode Your Boarding Pass

The PNR code on your boarding pass reveals a lot of personal information stored in the airline's database. Treat your boarding pass as sensitive documentation and do not discard it carelessly. The airline uses the PNR code to access details like your passport information, credit card numbers used to purchase tickets, IP addresses if booking was done online, and more. Guard this code to protect your data.

The Real Meaning Behind the SSSS Code

You may notice a 4 S's code printed on some boarding passes. This code stands for Secondary Security Screening Selection and signals to TSA that you have been flagged as potentially suspicious. Getting singled out for additional screening doesn't necessarily mean you're doing anything wrong. Things like last minute travel, one way tickets, and cash payments can raise innocuous red flags. Try not to worry if you see SSSS on your pass.

Bizarre Solutions to Keep Birds Away from Airports

Bird strikes are an ever-present danger to aircraft. Airports get creative in scaring birds away from runways and taxiways. Washington D.C.'s Reagan National Airport fires blanks from cannons to frighten birds. Other airports drain ponds, replace grass with gravel, use pigs to eat bird eggs, or install light-up LED eyes to deter raptors.

Hail strikes also severely damage aircraft. This jet's nosecone was battered after flying through golf ball-sized hailstones. The battered windows left pilots nearly blind for landing. Though dangerous and costly, the airline passengers were thankfully unharmed.

Why Airplane Food Tastes So Bad

Ever wonder why airline food tastes so bland and bad? The low humidity in airplane cabins dehydrates passengers' sinuses, dulling our senses of taste and smell. Sweet flavors drop 15-20% and salty flavors decline 20-30%. Airlines try to counteract this by upping sugar and salt content.

You can try to improve flavor with noise canceling headphones. Studies show background cabin noise further hampers taste. So blocking the droning engines may help food seem less lackluster.

How to Unlock an Airplane Toilet from the Outside

Should someone become trapped inside an airline lavatory, there is a secret exterior lock release. Simply lift the small placard located behind the lavatory door and slide the mechanism to unlock. While this knowledge could get you in trouble for disturbing strangers, it might come in handy during an inflight emergency.

Contrary to myth, airplane waste tanks do not drain midair. Lavatories deposit into an onboard tank that gets pumped out after landing. But leaks and accidental releases have resulted in "blue ice" ??? frozen waste and disinfectant ??? falling from planes. Blue ice has crashed into homes near airports so do not taste any odd outdoor ice chunks!

The Origin of the Mysterious Blue Ice

Airplane toilets do not drain waste mid-flight but rather store it in tanks that get pumped out after landing. Though rare, leaks in these tanks result in frozen waste and blue disinfectant falling from planes as 'blue ice.' Documented blue ice falls near airports prove you should refrain from sampling any strange ice you find outside, especially near flight paths. Just because it resembles a popsicle does not mean you should give it a taste test.

Bizarre Rules About What Pilots Can Eat

To prevent shared foodborne illness, pilots and copilots are advised against eating identical inflight meals. If one pilot gets sick from tainted food, the other can take over flying duties.

Some airlines also enforce a hierarchy around meal selection - pilots get first class food while copilots receive business class fare. This inflight "pecking order" around airline food likely makes for some awkward cockpit meal times.

How Pilots Avoid Working with Colleagues They Dislike

Pilots and copilots who strongly dislike one another pose grave risks if paired to operate the same aircraft. So airlines allow each pilot to specify onboard partners they prefer not to fly with.

These "no fly lists" feed into airline scheduling systems to keep feuding aviators out of confined cockpit quarters together. While limiting personal freedoms around associate preferences, this system aims to increase inflight safety by reducing distracted pilots.

Data Reveals the Safest Seats on a Plane

What are your odds of perishing in a commercial plane crash? Thankfully only about 1 in 3.37 billion. Still, where you sit impacts survival probability should the worst occur.

Analysis of 17 aviation incidents found rear plane seats have a 62% average survival rate versus 61% in the middle and front. Though aisle access aids emergency egress, aisle seats in the midsection have only a 56% survival rate. Surprisingly, middle seats in the back boast the best 72% survival odds in a crash.


Q: Why do airplanes have tiny holes at the bottom of the windows?
A: The holes, known as bleed holes, balance the air pressure between window panes and prevent fogging.

Q: What do the red and black triangles inside airplanes indicate?
A: They help flight attendants locate the best windows to check the plane's wings and engines.

Q: What do the different chiming noises made on planes signify?
A: They can indicate upcoming turbulence, approaching altitude milestones, or serious passenger emergencies.

Q: Where do flight attendants sleep on long flights?
A: They get to rest in secret compartments called controlled rests with beds, seatbelts and amenities.

Q: What happens when someone dies mid-flight?
A: The body may be moved to first class and covered. Some planes have special hidden storage compartments.