20 Airline Industry Secrets That The Companies Don’t Want Their Customers To Know

Published 1 year ago

Flying in an airplane, in most of its entirety, is a boring process. Most of the time, you’d find yourself just sitting among tens of people for who knows how many hours. Then after the flight is over, you get out, take your bags, and go on with your life.

How boring flying could be for some, it could be a quagmire for those who know the ins and outs of the industry. Thanks to this Reddit thread, we will know things we didn’t know or weren’t supposed to know while chilling for hours. Below are 20 confessions that could take you by surprise!

More info: Reddit

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Image source: Goat_Porker, ruben van eijk

You know how all the other armrests can be raised except for the one next to the aisle?

Turns out that one can be raised as well via a small button in a divot on the underside of the armrest. Useful if you want to spread out a bit more, though some flight attendants may tell you to put it back in place.


Image source: mm_cake, ismail mohamed – SoviLe

Almost every commercial flight you ride on has a dead body on board. Possibly 2 if you’re on a wide body (large) air craft.


Image source: paradoxofchoice, Pew Nguyen

Flight attendants have a list of who is who and what seat they are in. As well as what level of frequent flyer they happen to be. Or if they are employees or family and friends tickets. This is why you will see them being rude to someone or bending over backwards for jerks.

Flights are routinely overbooked because there’s a estimate per route of what percentage of people tend to miss the flight. So if you don’t have a seat assignment, you might not get on. Which is why they ask for volunteers. If you are a frequent flyer and know the busy times and flights you could volunteer all day from every flight going to a hub and make $1,000 in credit.

Invest in quality luggage. You are the only one that handles your bag with care. Your bag is going to take a beating in the system.

Edit: Wow this got a lot of attention. Yes I know Southwest FAs don’t have a list of who is sitting where. Obviously. I have to say to any redditors out there, if you get a chance to work for an airline, take it! It was a great experience in my early 20s. Even while going to college on my days off, I was also able to fly around the world for free. I can’t recommend it enough. Sure there are plenty of bad experiences like getting yelled at all day long by irrational and irate passengers whose flight you just cancelled after you had them wait for hours. Or dumping the lav on a windy day. Or knowing you’re walking into a very bad day of work just because the weather is bad in your city or wherever your flights are coming from. They pay isn’t great but if you enjoy traveling, work for an airline!


Worked on military aircraft but it’s something I’ve noticed pretty universal about jet engines in general: you have your auxiliary engine that runs while the aircraft is parked, providing power, hydraulics, ac, etc while you’re at the terminal. When getting ready to depart, you turn on your main engines. It takes a lot of power to get them started. As such, most of the auxiliary power goes to starting the engines. This is the point where usually you may see the lights flicker, and you will hear the whine of the main engines start up. The environmental control unit (or whatever they want to call it), stops cycling air during this start sequence.

Without fail, if you watch for it, numerous hands will stick up and check or adjust the air conditioning vents as this happens. The air will kick back on when the engines are up and running.

Edit: okay, TIL (and had forgotten), jet engines use pneumatic power to start engines. I worked on jet turbines for turboprop. I have my manuals in storage, so I can’t completely erase all doubt, but I do believe we used a hydraulically actuated starter.

Source: jaydinrt


Image source: unimproved, Kevin Bosc

That there’s a huge list of things that can be missing from the aircraft while still being allowed to fly.


Image source: kjerstih, Tony Webster

Employees and their families get “ID tickets” (ID is for “industry discount”), which means they only pay taxes and fees and nothing for the actual ticket.

The airlines basically lets them fly for free. And not just with their own airline, but with every airline in any alliance. The tickets are stand-by tickets, so you’re not guaranteed to get on board, but you get a seat more often than not. The family members can travel on these tickets without the employee.

My dad worked for an airline in Star Alliance, so I used to get free tickets with airlines in One World and SkyTeam as well as Star Alliance. I usually traveled in business class, all around the world. A return trip between Europe and Japan was something like 200 USD in business class, and maybe 50 USD in economy.

I don’t get any perks anymore, as it was only valid until I turned 25.


Image source: WtfBobo, Aero Icarus

There is no philange.


Image source: -aurelius, Kristina D.C. Hoeppner

Not a secret, just common sense; the reason some bags miss their flight or get misrouted is because passengers don’t remove old tags. It confuses handlers as well as the conveyor belt scanners. I see it happen all the time.


Image source: TychoErasmusBrahe, Lina Kivaka

This one is pretty much on its way out as a ‘secret’ nowadays, but: There really is no good reason passengers need to switch off mobile devices during takeoff and landing.
The frequencies used combined with the lack of signal power in the antennae of consumer grade mobile devices means there is 0% chance of them ever interfering with the plane’s sensors and instruments in any way whatsoever.
This has been tested ad nauseam since the beginning of aviation/mobile communication technology, and it has NEVER shown to be a problem.


Image source: shakin_the_bacon, Josh Hallett

Former ramper here. The amount of graffiti on the inside of airplane cargo bins is absurd


Image source: ScuttleSE, Pixabay

If you’re European you have really, really good consumer protection against delays, cancellations etc.

If you’re more than three hours late, your compensation starts at 250 euros, and goes up depending on the length of your flight and the length of the delay.

When I went to London a few years ago, my flight was overbooked, so I got bumped to a flight fours hours later. The compensation I got was more than the ticket I bought…round trip.


Image source: Theartofdodging, Ricardo Oliveira

Airlines doesn’t charge large or overweight people extra because they make the plane heavier, or because they hate fat people or whatever.
They do it because you are a security risk.


Image source: tagt8er, Ma1974

People fake needing a wheel chair to gain boarding priority. 10 wheelchairs get on and olny 1 person needs it getting off. We call um miracle flights.


Image source: edwardshinyskin, Leio McLaren

Αerospace fastener production here. Nobody еver asks what is actually holding thе plane together. Don’t worry аbout it.


Image source: -aurelius, I am Maxa

If you check a skateboard by just slapping a sticker on it, it will get ridden or used as a dolly.


Image source: Drama__Llama, atã Romualdo

I work Revenue Management for an airline. On average, the cheapest time to BUY a ticket is Tuesday afternoon. The cheapest time to FLY is Tuesday, Wednesday, or Saturday. This applies to US flights in my experience.


Image source: FORDxGT, FORDxGT

On larger aircraft, there are secret compartments where your cabin crew and flight crew are able to get much needed rest. [This is the flight crew rest on a Boeing 777 and it’s located above the ceiling of the first class cabin.](http://i.imgur.com/vDBMa0s.jpg) There are two beds behind the seats as well as [personal entertainment screens for each seat.](http://imgur.com/LcRRLDJ) [This the the cabin crew rest of a Boeing 787 located above the economy class.](http://imgur.com/pG7n4eu) Older Boeing aircraft have crew rest areas within the passenger cabin and I’ve been told some Airbuses have crew rests under the floor.


Image source: anony_meows, Kārlis Dambrāns

There is a small latch hidden inside the lavatory sign on the bathroom door, which will open the door when pulled, even when it’s locked. Airplane Peekaboo!

EDIT: I don’t work for the airlines. Credit for this goes to [The Oatmeal](http://theoatmeal.com/comics/airplane_peekaboo).


Image source: nunswithknives, BosnianBill

Locks on zippered bags are useless. You can pop a zipper with a pen and drag the locked zipper pulls around the bag to close them back up. I’ve done this many times to identify bags that are tagless and locked.

Edit: [Exactly like this.](http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tbpKhHwwtiY&t=0m46s) Thanks /u/adma1987.


There are a number of tools out there to help you have a good flight experience:

[Seat Guru](http://www.seatguru.com/) will give you information on seat selection so you know if your seat has a misaligned window or extra legroom, etc.

[Route Happy](https://www.routehappy.com/) aggregates some key factors aggregating data on aircraft type, seat pitch, on-board entertainment, connections, etc to help you select a good flight.

[Flight Stats](http://www.flightstats.com/go/FlightRating/flightRatingByRoute.do) has data including information on the historical on-time performance of your flight.

Some fun airline websites include:

[Flight Radar 24](http://www.flightradar24.com/) which shows you all flights in the air around the world. You can click on a plane to see its origin and destination. You can filter by airport to see all flights headed to/from your city. It’s a lot of fun to play around with.

[Airline Empires](http://www.airline-empires.com/) is a web game that lets you run your own airline deciding where to open routes, how to price them, what aircraft to purchase, etc. and compete against other real people running their fictional airlines.

Source: WeAllDoBetter

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airplane, ask reddit, flying, industry secrets, reddit, travelling
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