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10 surprising secrets about air travel

Flying has become a more and more common way to travel, with more than 37 million commercial flights in 2017. But even if you're a frequent flyer, there may still be things you do not know. Below are 10 surprising facts about air travel that are new to you or at least fresher than the blankets of your next flight …

10. The tiny hole at the bottom of your window will keep you safe.

If you're stuck in an aluminum tube for hours, the window out of the clouds could be a welcome distraction from the cramped seats, lousy food, and unruly fellow travelers who meet you as part of your "flight experience." And if you look out the window, you may have noticed something strange at the window itself ̵

1; the hole the size of a pin near the floor. This tiny hole is called a "vent hole" or "vent hole" and is there for a reason.

As your plane approaches cruising altitude, the air pressure drops. The aircraft's overpressure system keeps the air pressure in the aircraft and in the ambient air much higher and ensures that the oxygen content remains high enough for people on the plane. This pressure differential burdens the windows of the aircraft, but each window consists of three panes of glass to keep the passengers safe. The innermost layer serves primarily to protect the other two from passengers. The middle disc is the one with the tiny hole that makes the outermost disc endure the pressure (and that's the one that would break if the pressure were too strong.) If something with the outermost disc, the middle disc The air vent also serves to control the temperature difference between the cabin and the ambient air so that the windows are (largely) free of fogging and frost.

9 can be unlocked from the outside

Aircraft toilets have improved since their early incarnations, some of which have just dumped waste directly into the air. Nevertheless, most people would not describe them as pleasant or try to spend unnecessary time with them. Airplanes have become even tighter in recent years as airlines try to maximize the number of seats they can take on board, making the visit to the restroom even more claustrophobic for passengers. The few who still can not get enough of the toilet cabin should be aware of the fact – it is possible to open the toilet door from the outside.

The mechanism for this varies from level to level. For example, in some versions of the Airbus A380, you simply have to raise the sign "Toilet" and push the button to unlock the door. While this may seem a good way to fool a friend (or a helpful trick for dealing with a battering child), a flight attendant from Virgin America says that this technique is often used in reverse to the door of an empty bathroom during turbulence It should also be noted that the unlocking of an occupied bathroom is only to ensure the safety of the passenger if the vehicle occupant has been there for a long time and stops responding or if the smoke detector sounds.

. 8 Avoid hot drinks best when in the air

While a cup of coffee or tea after a "red-eye" flight seems the perfect way to wake up, it's better to wait until you're in the airport for a hot drink to enjoy . The diabetic effect of coffee and tea not only leads to additional visits to the tiny aircraft bathroom, but the water your drink is made of can also be quite disgusting.

15% of water samples were taken from an EPA study in 2004 More than 300 aircraft had coliform bacteria, and new standards were introduced to ensure that airlines cleaned and tested their water tanks for bacteria. However, the water systems of some aircraft are cleaned and tested only once a year. 2012 EPA data shows that 12% of commercial aircraft still had at least one positive test for coliform bacteria. Coliform bacteria will not make most people ill, but show that the aircraft's water systems are not the cleanest source of water and that potentially more dangerous bacteria such as E. coli might exist in this environment. While US airlines offer bottled water to passengers, water from the aircraft's system is still used to produce tea, coffee and cocoa, and it is generally not heated to the temperatures needed to kill all the bacteria. The danger is probably low, but it's enough to keep some flight attendants from drinking coffee and tea on board, and perhaps enough that you'd rather get your caffeine solution from soda or wait until you're in the terminal to get one To get coffee or tea

7. There is a reason why ashes are still in ashes, although smoking is prohibited

Maybe you noticed a strange detail in the airplane toilet – an ashtray on the back of the door. Confusingly, it's often right under the sign that reminds you that smoking is prohibited. Smoking has been banned on most US domestic flights since 1990, and since 2000 it has been banned on flights between the US and foreign destinations. But even in brand new planes, there are still ashtrays – why?

In the US bathroom ashtrays are there because the FAA dictates this. While this may seem like another nonsensical law at first, there is a pretty obvious reason why it makes sense to keep the ashtrays: not everyone obeys the law against smoking in airplanes. On a flight from Portland to Sacramento, a woman claiming she needed to smoke to deal with "fear" became so violent after a flight attendant prevented her from smoking in the bathroom that she was from passengers and crew until the plane could make an emergency landing.

Given the fact that there are some people who will try to smuggle a cigarette, no matter what the law says, no matter what kind of hefty punishments can be judged, it makes sense to make sure the cigarettes can be safe and secure Do not throw in a trash can with flammable paper towels. The legally required presence of ashtrays in aircraft has its origins in the tragic case of the Varig Flight 820 in 1973. A civic fire, which was possibly triggered by a burning cigarette thrown into the trash can, killed most of them on board (due to smoke poisoning) it could make an emergency landing and ask the FAA to ensure that all airliners are equipped with ashtrays in the future.

. 6 Some aircraft have tiny bedrooms for the crew

On long-haul flights (over 10.5 hours), you may have noticed that the crew members serving you turn during the flight. With some flights (like those from LA to Singapore and from New Zealand to Qatar) in 18 hours, it makes sense that more than one crew of pilots and flight attendants is needed to occupy the plane, rotating between work and rest

But where does the crew go when they rest? While they all have space to take off and land in the main cabin, you do not see the crew slumbering in them during the flight. This is because airplanes flying these long-haul flights are equipped with special small bedrooms for the pilots and flight attendants (usually the pilots and flight attendants sleep because of their different schedules in different neighborhoods). These sleeping cabins are located either above or below the main passenger cabin and are accessible via small stairs or in some cases via a luggage room. The configurations vary depending on the airline / aircraft, but generally include single beds, a ceiling light for reading and a privacy curtain. A flight attendant from KLM reports that KLM crew beds are equipped with a number of mandatory KLM PJs so that the crew can be identified when called during an emergency.

. 5 Occasionally an airplane lands with more passengers than on the original manifesto

This is not as cryptic as it sounds. Pregnant passengers are usually allowed to fly until the 36th week of pregnancy (19459015), although some carriers may need an indication from a doctor or midwife after 28 weeks. However, as many mothers will confirm, due dates are not always accurate. Some babies arrive sooner than expected, and occasionally these surprising premature births occur at 36,000 feet.

If babies are born on international flights, the determination of citizenship can be quite a difficult affair. As a rule, the child is granted the nationality of one or both parents. Some countries, including the US, also grant citizenship to a baby born in national airspace. In addition, 70 countries have ratified or acceded to the UN Convention on the Reduction of Statelessness, which states that a baby born in an airplane is a citizen of the country in which the aircraft is registered, but only if This baby would otherwise be "stateless." "Perhaps in gratitude for the positive coverage they bring to airlines, some (though not all) babies born during the flight have received perks from the airline where they debuted – including Scholarships and free flights.

4. Flight crews want to keep the door closed and push back the plane as soon as possible, even though they know it is a delay on the runway

We know that everyone wants to get the plane blown up as fast as possible (except for the one who casually blocks the aisle with the large suitcase he packs in the trunk), but the pilots and flight attendants are motivated not only by the desire to leave in time and land (for which they receive a bonus), but also by the fact that many airlines pay the crew first the aircraft door is closed and the parking brake of the aircraft is disengaged , Flight crews can pay for long delays at the gate, but the pay will be much better if the plane recoils.

While some airlines only pay the flight crew for the time they are actually in the air, most pay them once they leave the gate. While most pilots and flight attendants want to avoid delays when there is a delay, they would rather be on the runway (where they get full pay) against the gate (where they pay minimal or no pay)

3. Pilots have secret distress signals, although they sometimes confuse them

Pilots have opportunities to communicate both verbally and nonverbally that their aircraft is in distress. Obviously we do not know all the current ways in which pilots report on-board issues to outsiders, but we know some of what has been used in the past.

In the air, depending on the nature of the emergency, pilots are trained to set their transponder code (or "squawk" in the local language) to a number corresponding to their situation to alert air traffic control. Yawing 7500 signals Hijacking, 7600 stands for the loss of communication, and 7700 is a general distress signal. In addition, a pilot for abduction would add the word TRIP following the aircraft identifier (eg, "United TRIP 319") when communicating with air traffic controllers as an indicator that he was unable to communicate freely (probably due to surveillance by the hijacker [s]). In 2011, a United pilot spilled coffee on the communications equipment on a Chicago-Frankfurt flight, resulting in an accidental squeal of code 7500. The crew of the aircraft was able to confirm with local officials about the communication error, although the aircraft was still diverted to Canada because of the problem. Another distress signal in the air is to repeatedly fly the airplane in a triangular pattern, a maneuver that indicates to radar stations that the aircraft can not make radio contact.

In the past, the wing flaps of the aircraft were used to communicate distress on the ground. If the wing flaps were lowered while the aircraft was still on the ground, or if entire flaps were left after landing, this signaled a request for aircraft immobilization and armed intervention. In 1986, a pilot unintentionally triggered a response from a SWAT team by taxiing to the start with the wing flaps of the aircraft.

While some of these above-mentioned techniques are reinforced by the cockpit doors, which after 9/11 attacks, there are still situations in which these and other distress signals can provide the necessary information about the situation of the aircraft, thus those on the ground can formulate a proper emergency response.

. 2 Pilots and copilots can not eat the same

"Fish or chicken?" This question may be a vestige of the past on most domestic flights, but many international airlines still offer passengers a range of entrances for long-haul flights. For the pilot and co-pilot, however, the answer is quite clear: they will each eat a different entree. The reason for this is quite obvious: eating different meals reduces the likelihood that both pilots will be disabled during the flight due to food poisoning.

This rule is not a law, but a directive for many airlines. A China Eastern pilot reports that the pilot usually consumes a first-class meal and the co-pilot one from the business class. Lufthansa also confirms that there is an "unwritten rule" that pilots and co-pilots should avoid eating the same thing before flying (for the same reason). Not every airline has this rule (though pilots can still follow it out of common sense), and even if pilots avoid the same meals, it is not foolproof. In 1982, 10 crew members (including pilot, copilot and flight engineer) contracted a flight from Lisbon to Boston. Luckily, the plane was less than an hour from its destination and safely landed. The crew had eaten different meals, but was disgusted by the same dessert tapioca pudding.

. 1 The best chance for a free upgrade is to die in the middle of the flight

There are many alleged tricks to get a first-class seat, but if you're not an elite frequent flyer or paying for an upgrade (with money or miles), you have a chance to ascend from business to first grade are remote. There is one exception – but none that many of us would be willing to pursue. If you die in the middle of the flight, your body is likely to get a post-mortem improvement.

Airline protocol means that technically very few people ever die on a flight, since death must be declared by a doctor to be officially registered. However, if it is clear to everyone on board that a passenger has died, the flight crew will be trained to take the corpse to a relatively private location. This could mean an empty row of seats, but these can be hard to find on crowded flights. The first-class cabin generally has more empty seats and more room to maneuver the deceased, so bodies are often moved and usually covered with a blanket so as not to traumatize the other passengers. Former solutions were based on deception: A British Airways flight attendant remembers that "many years ago" dead passengers were simply treated Weekend at Bernie -supported with a drink, eye samples, and a newspaper hoping other travelers would assume that they only slept.

Singapore Airlines formerly had a so-called "mortuary" on the A340, which it used for long-haul flights, but when the planes were decommissioned, the company's divisions were never listed. There is a place where you will not end up when you die on the plane: the bathroom. Because starvation would make it hard to get the deceased back, cabin crew members are kept from bringing dead passengers into the bathroom.

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