airplane nose with speed tape covering it on runway
TikTok | @11.11.eleven.11.11

Airport Worker Horrifies Viewers By Showing Planes 'Held Together' With Tape

One airport worker is not doing anyone's fear of flying any favors after claiming to show their TikTok followers footage of planes being held together with "flex seal."

Although some of us are old pros at air travel, that doesn't necessarily mean we're any more aware of what's going on behind the scenes at airports than our more nervous friends. That's why it's always so fascinating to hear airline employees spill their secrets and that's especially true when they contain information we can use.

But while some workers are happy to tell us which parts of the cabin we should avoid due to how unsanitary they are, it seems that others are a little more tempted to use their inside information for evil.

And since we'll find that it's easy to underestimate how quickly someone can mess up a plane, that didn't make it too hard to believe the alarming things one runway worker decided to tell us.

In a video uploaded on June 19, an airport runway worker showed their viewers multiple planes with what looked like duct tape covering certain damaged parts.

airplane with strips of speed tape covering it next to TikTok caption calling tape "flex seal."
TikTok | @11.11.eleven.11.11

And while that may have been only mildly interesting on its own, they then made it a little harder to ignore by not only suggesting that this was everyday flex seal but also that it's the only thing holding the plane together.

Needless to say, that caption added to the important-looking parts this tape was covering quickly made a lot of travelers anxious.

airplane wing with speed tape covering it above traffic cone and in front of walking airport worker
TikTok | @11.11.eleven.11.11

As one user said in the video's comments, "Ah yes! totally needed this before I board a 7 hour flight."

In the words of another, "Maybe I don’t want to travel anymore."

But while we can imagine how much fun this employee had watching people squirm, some other comments from those in the know suggested this clip wasn't as scary as it seemed.

Indeed, one of them gave the game away the most by saying, "Calling it tape and flex seal is so misleading I love it."

airplane nose with speed tape covering it on runway
TikTok | @11.11.eleven.11.11

And while this user got a playful "shh" from the worker, another person came through with the even more oddly reassuring statement of, "Wait till they find out planes can be missing rivets and screws and still be fine."

So if the tape we're seeing here isn't really flex seal or duct tape, what is it?

Apparently, the tape that our mischievous friend is showing us is a special aircraft-grade adhesive known as "speed tape" that is regulated by the FAA.

As as pilot named Patrick Smith told Condé Nast Traveler, this aluminum tape is not only more heavy duty than the tape we're used to (not to mention more expensive at approximately $700 per roll) but is considered a temporary solution.

In Smith's words, "It’s used only on superficial or noncritical components, until more substantive repairs are made later on.”

So while it's easy to get annoyed at the runway worker for tricking us, I suppose these worries provided some good motivation to learn something new.

h/t: TikTok | @11.11.eleven.11.11