Flight Attendants Share Dark Secrets Of The Airline Industry

Kasia Mikolajczak
An airplane wing in flight.
Unsplash | Ross Parmly

As you might know, travel is getting back into full swing, and people are finally embracing air travel again. But with that comes all sorts of challenges. I'm sure you've experienced at least one or two on your trips.

So a Redditor asked flight attendants to share some secrets, and boy, did they reveal a lot. Let's take a look at some of the most interesting stories. Sit back, relax and take notes, ha, ha.

This Window Shades Question

plane window with city view
Unsplash | Isaac Quesada

"Why do I have to open the window shades for takeoff and landing? Because during the flight we (the FA) are inside the cabin almost the whole time and we are aware of what is happening outside. But during takeoff and landing, we have to sit on our jumpseats and are not able to see what's going on outside. So, if for example, an engine fire occurs, we are related to the passengers telling us."

Wow, I didn't think of that.

This Tray Table Request

laptop on a plane tray
reddit | Reddit | u/[deleted]

"'Why do I have to fold away my tray table and have to bring my seat in an upright position?' Because in case of an emergency landing you or the passenger sitting behind you would not be able to take your/his bracing position correctly."

It makes sense, no?

This Cabin Light Adjustment

plane window with wing view at night
Unsplash | Leonardo Yip

"Why are the FA's dimming the cabin light for takeoff and landing when it's dark outside? In case of an evacuation, you have to leave the plane quite quickly. If the light in the cabin [is] bright, and you leave the plane at night, you would be blinded by the darkness. So we're dimming the light inside so that your eyes are able to get accustomed to the darkness."


This Fair Warning

Megan Mullally on The Late Show With Stephen Colbertgesturing she's about to throw up
Giphy | The Late Show With Stephen Colbert

"I'm a flight attendant. So many incidents occur on the plane that everyday passengers don't see or consider. On my last flight, an elderly man accidentally [had a bowel movement] on the floor, stepped in it, and walked on like it was nothing. DO NOT WALK AROUND BAREFOOT. Pee and poop happen, all over. I feel like I witness an 'accident' regularly; in their seat or in the lav. People get nose bleeds, or their wounds open. Obviously, when we land, it is thoroughly cleaned. But in flight our resources are limited."

OMG, yuck! That's why I never walk around barefoot on the plane, ha, ha.

This Baby Changing Issue

woman changing a baby
Pexels | Pexels

"DON'T CHANGE YOUR BABY'S DIAPER ON THE TRAY TABLE. This also happens all the time. It's unsanitary and people use the tray table to eat, put their personal things on, etc."

Duly noted, thanks.

This Bag Request

woman pulling a suitcase
Pexels | Pexels

"It is NOT the responsibility of a flight attendant to lift your bag. There are multiple injuries caused by flight attendants lifting heavy bags to be friendly, and then they're out of the job for months to a year (on average). If you pack it, you lift it. If it's too heavy for you, it's too heavy for us."

And now I feel bad because I totally have done that.

This Bad Behavior

man sitting in a plane drinking champagne
Pexels | Pexels

"You get [drunk] quicker on board due to the air pressure (or something) and we don't tolerate drunken [passengers]. It's not a bar, you don't just get thrown out by the bouncer. You get offloaded and possibly even blacklisted. If you're clearly steaming before we've even taken off then chances are you're not going to be going anywhere."

I still don't understand why people get polluted while flying.

This Health Risk

oxygen mask on a plane
reddit | u/LOdownxo

"In the event of a decompression, you only have a few seconds before your brain starts being starved of oxygen. Get your oxygen mask on pronto."

Oh my goodness, I didn't realize it could happen that fast. Wow!

This Serious Fact

man going "wow!"
Giphy | The Office

"We have fire axes and extremely heavy emergency equipment on board and are to stop you from entering the cockpit by 'any means necessary.'"

Whoa, that sounds serious, no? I'm glad about this but also it scares me a little, too.

This Moment Of Peace

flight attendant on a plane
Pexels | Pexels

"I crewed 737s and 757 aircraft, short to mid-haul, economy only. We took our breaks (when we could) in the tiny little galleys at the front and back of the aircraft. If you see those curtains pulled then please don't bother us unless it's actually an emergency. (Another beer IS NOT an emergency)."

I don't know about you but this sounds like a hard job so let's respect the flight crew a little more, huh?

This Cleanliness Fact

inside of a plane
Unsplash | Kenny Eliason

"Tray tables are rarely, if ever, sanitized — do not put food directly on them."

Oh my gosh, what? That's pretty gross, huh? I would never have guessed that. Not even a wipe? That doesn't sound right. I feel like I need to bring my own spray cleaner now, ha, ha.

This Interesting Situation

man lifting his hands up looking shocked
Unsplash | Afif Kusuma

"A flight attendant told me that in the event of a situation where passengers have to cover their heads you do not 'lock' your fingers overhead but place one hand on top of the other. If something falls on your hand/head, you'll still have one good hand to use."

Oh, I had no idea about that.

This Water Fact

flight attendant wearing a blue outfit serving coffee
Pexels | Pexels

"First, I wouldn't recommend drinking coffee or hot tea from the plane. It's made with potable water and those tanks are rarely cleaned out. None of the crew usually drinks it. I had a passenger on one of my flights fill his water bottle up using the sink in the lavatory and I stressed to him that it wasn't a good idea but he didn't care lol."

OMG, I'm going over in my head how many times I've had tea on the plane. Never again!

This Pay Issue

flight attendant on a plane
Unsplash | Lukas Souza

"Second, we aren't paid 'till the main cabin door closes so we are ready to leave just as fast as you are. When there are delays, [yelling] at the cabin crew isn't going to help anything! We are waiting around just like you and want to get back to our families as well."

Did you know that?

This Safety Management

airpline engine
Unsplash | Rafael Drück

"An airplane can fly with one engine, and if an engine catches on fire, they have the means of extinguishing it while in air."

Knowing that actually makes me feel a lot better. How about you?

This Special Training

Jimmy Fallon saying "Personally, I'm shocked."
Giphy | The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon

"We are trained for just about any situation. I personally have had a lot of things happen in my short tenure. I've had to do CPR, I've had to subdue and hogtie a passenger for assaulting other passengers, I've been flashed by men and women (usually drunk), and various other medical emergencies. We're there for your safety first and foremost."

I can't even imagine having a job like that.

This Reassurance

aircraft maintenance arriving to the plane
Pexels | Pexels

"Lots of passengers panic when the flight is delayed for technical reasons or when they see the maintenance guys board the aircraft. There's really no need to be! That just means that we're aware of a problem and won't budge until it has been resolved. Much better to be aware of a problem on the ground than at 36,000 feet! The pilots do thorough pre-flight checks to make sure that everything is ok, and the engineers check the aircraft at the end of the day. Flying is safer now than it ever has been, no need to worry!"

Even though it would still make me a bit nervous now I feel more reassured.

This Not-So-Pleasant Fact

woman saying "I just threw up in my mouth a little bit."
Giphy | chuber channel

"I'm not a flight attendant but I work the ramp. To elaborate on the body parts — we send full bodies on planes a lot. Some in caskets some not. Twice in the 7 years, I've been doing this has 'fluid' leaked out of the boxes the bodies are in and got all over the luggage."

Okay, I think I threw up in my mouth a little bit hearing that.

Wow, shocking huh?

flight attendant and pilot saluting
Pexels | Pexels

I honestly learned so much from this little exercise here. There were so many things I didn't know about flying in a plane, lol. I bet these flight attendants see all kinds of things. Am I right? I don't know about you, but I'm going to appreciate how hard their job is a little more from now on.