18 Dirty Facts About Flying Airlines Don't Want You to Know

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If you're a frequent flyer, there are two approaches to this list of airline secrets you may or may not want to know: 1. Ignore it and carry on in your blissful ignorance of duct tape holding the wing of your aircraft together while flying. Or 2. Read about the awful things that happen on commercial flights, and go in armed with the knowledge of how awful the flight you're on really is (but possibly avoid dysentery). There's no option three, so choose wisely, because some of these airline worst practices can't be unseen.

From odd / surprising (hopefully) places you'll find poop on a plane to the things a flight attendant might overlook so they get paid, there are an uncomfortable number of scary things airlines don't want you to know about flying. Culled from the experiences of real pilots, flight attendants, airline staff, ground crew, and TSA officials, these are the reasons logical people are afraid to fly - and even the most seasoned traveler should be at least a bit skeeved out by this list of awful things that happen on planes. 
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    Pilots Get Served Different Meals in Case of Food Poisoning

    Pilots Get Served Different Me... is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list 18 Dirty Facts About Flying Airlines Don't Want You to Know
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    Likely the same meals you're being offered, so hope you chose the same meal as the pilot who continues at the helm during the other's bout of food poisoning.

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    The Toilets Can Be Unlocked from the Outside

    The Toilets Can Be Unlocked fr... is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list 18 Dirty Facts About Flying Airlines Don't Want You to Know
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    This is more of a "Charlie from 'Lost' getting cranked on heroin" precaution than a "People in row 23 joining the mile-high club" fail-safe, but the fact remains that occupied does not mean you're free from the possibility of interruption.

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    Pilots Routinely Nod Off During Long Flights

    Pilots Routinely Nod Off Durin... is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list 18 Dirty Facts About Flying Airlines Don't Want You to Know
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    While nap breaks are scheduled so one pilot can rest while the other commands a plane once it's at cruising altitude, most pilots (more than 50% according to this survey) have involuntarily nodded off while in the cockpit.
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    If You Use the Oxygen Bags for More Than 15 Minutes, You're Gonna Have a Bad Time

    If You Use the Oxygen Bags for... is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list 18 Dirty Facts About Flying Airlines Don't Want You to Know
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    The oxygen masks on planes only supply 15-20 minutes of oxygen. The theory is that the pilots will descend to a height of normal cabin pressurization as soon as an issue is noted.

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    Guidelines Exist for the Amount of Screws a Plane Is Allowed to Fly Without

    Guidelines Exist for the Amoun... is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list 18 Dirty Facts About Flying Airlines Don't Want You to Know
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    Seems you'd prefer to have zero screws missing, but apparently there's a threshold of acceptable missing screws on the plane.

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    The Emergency Door Handles Are There So Flight Attendants Aren't Pushed Out

    The Emergency Door Handles Are... is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list 18 Dirty Facts About Flying Airlines Don't Want You to Know
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    People go nutty whenever there's a situation involving an emergency exit, and the poor flight attendants – who are trying to get you out safely – are often disregarded like limits on carry-on baggage, necessitating the plane's version of "Oh Sh*t" bars.

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    Some Airline Employees Don't Get Paid Until the Flight's in the Air

    Some Airline Employees Don'... is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list 18 Dirty Facts About Flying Airlines Don't Want You to Know
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    Why is this scary for you? Let's say a pilot, flight attendant, or other airline employee notices something off about the plane (torn carpet, a toilet issue, a possible technical issue) they consider negligible, they may fail to report the condition in case it causes the flight to be substantially delayed or even cancelled. 

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    Planes Are Frequently Struck by Lightning

    Planes Are Frequently Struck b... is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list 18 Dirty Facts About Flying Airlines Don't Want You to Know
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    Better the plane than you.

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