Top 20 myths about flying and the truth about it


The aviation industry and its success story in our modern times is indisputable. As the International Air Transport Association (IATA) predicts for 2016, there will be around 3,6 Billion passengers. Compared to 2011 these represents an increase of 800 Million passengers and shows the rising significance of air travel in our globalized era.

However, some of us still do not trust this accomplishment of human history and they might get an unpleasant feeling while flying. But actually, according to an article in USA Today, flying is statically safer than driving.


As the article concludes: “Statistically speaking, flying is far safer than driving (…) Driving affords more personal control, making it feel safer. In addition, plane crashes are catastrophic, killing more people at once, which grabs more attention and makes people more sensitive to them. Car crashes happen every day and spread the loss over time, making their combined effects less noticeable.”

Nevertheless, some are unimpressed by these statistics and still fear flying more than driving. Well, today we aim to answer the 20 top myths about flying, which we may have seen in a Hollywood movie or we may have heard from a friend’s friend. People actually asked real flight personnel on and here is what they had to say:

1. What flight attendants do after telling you to turn off your cell phone

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“My sister is a flight attendant, she says after she tells everyone to turn off all electronics, she goes to the back and pulls out her phone and starts texting”.

2. Pets in air cargo

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“I am an aircraft fueler. One thing I cannot stress enough is how your pets are treated. While your airline will take the best possible actions, some things cannot be avoided, like the noise on the ramp. I cannot stand out there without ear protection, and imagine your pet sitting out there on the ramp waiting to be loaded onto the plane being exposed to the same amount of noise I am. Please people, think twice before flying your pets.”

If you need further information, there is an interesting article in the Huffington Post.

3. Lightning and the powers of the captain


(Image Credits: ViralQuake)

“My dad’s been an airline pilot for almost 20 years, and apparently planes get struck by lightning all the time. Also if a passenger is causing a scene in the jetway he can refuse to let them on and take off without them.

The captain has almost limitless authority when the doors are closed. He is allowed to arrest people, write fines and even take the will of a dying passenger.”

4. The oxygen mask myth

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“That if the oxygen masks drop down, you only have about 15 minutes of oxygen from the point of pulling them down. However, that is more than enough time for the pilot to take us to a lower altitude where you can breathe normally.

More important – at altitude, you have 15-20 seconds before you pass out. Put yours on first, then do your kids. Passing out for a few seconds won’t harm the kids”

5. Those headphones that come wrapped

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“I used to work for warehouse that supplied a certain airline with items. The headsets that are given to you are not new, despite being wrapped up. They are taken off the flight, “cleaned”, and then packaged again.”

6. Never drink water from the lavatory

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“Whatever you do, do not drink the water in the lav. It is bad enough to “wash” your hands in it. We sanitize the water tank at selected maintenance intervals, however parasites build tolerances to these cleaners.

Check the outside of the aircrafts when walking in. If the paint is crappy shape, the plane is in crappy shape. Skydrol (hydraulic fluid) is a nasty fluid and will dissolve everything. So if the paint is missing, it’s probably from a skydrol leak. No one wants a hydraulic leak at 35,000 ft in the air. As you can’t just pull over and top the reservoir off.”

7. Can you unlock the lavatory from the outside?

(Image Credits: Airlinetrends)

“You are able to unlock airplane lavatories from the outside. There is usually a lock mechanism concealed behind the no smoking badge on the door. Just lift the flap up and slide the bolt to unlock.”

8. Pilots get paid for sleeping

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“1/2 of pilots sleep while flying and 1/3 of the time they wake up to find their partner asleep.”

9. How clean is an airplane?

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“I worked for Southwest as a flight attendant. Those blankets and pillows? Yeah, those just get refolded and stuffed back in the bins between flights. Only fresh ones I ever saw were on an originating first flight in the morning in a provisioning city. Also, if you have ever spread your peanuts on your tray and eaten, or really just touched your tray at all, you have more than likely ingested baby poo. I saw more dirty diapers laid out on those trays than food. And those trays, yeah, never saw them cleaned or sanitized once”.

10. Feeding the staff

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“My dad works for a large airline, he told me a few little things:

  • 2 pilots are served different meals and cannot share, this is done in case of food poisoning.
  • Stealing food, even if they are going to throw it out can get you fired instantly. You can ask your supervisor, but you cannot take food. They don’t want people messing with it”.

11. Best way to lock your bags

(Image Credits: CNN)

“Lock your bags, carry-on bags included.

Look online or in a travel store for TSA-approved locks. The TSA has keys to open those locks in case they need to further inspect them (and hopefully not steal from them). And most people don’t think to lock their carry-on, but especially now with load factors very high, more and more people are having to gate check bags. Once you drop your bag at the end of the jetway for gate-checking, anyone from a fellow passenger, to a gate agent, to a ramp agent has access to your bag”.

12. That pilot and his/her landing skills

(Image Credits: ViralQuake)

“When you experience a hard landing in bad weather it wasn’t because of a lack of pilot skills but it is in fact intentional. If the runway is covered in water the airplane has to touch down hard in order to puncture the water layer and prevent aqua planing.

“Landings are nothing more than controlled crashes.” Pilot friend quote”.

13. Big airlines, better pilots?

(Image Credits: Distractify)

“Regional airline pilot here. You may have bought a ticket on Delta, United, or American, but chances are you’ll be flying on a subcontractor. That means the pilots have a fraction of the experience, training, and pay of the big mainline carrier. Also, I don’t get paid enough to care if you make your connection. Most of the time we fly slower than normal to make more money. The only time we fly fast is if ATC tells us to or if it’s the go home leg.”

14. How do electronics interfere with the airplane?

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“Pilot here. Having to turn off electronics on a plane is totally useless.

Mobile electronic devices won’t really bring an airplane down but they can be really annoying to pilots. Just imagine sitting in the flightdeck descending to your destination and hearing the interference of a 100+ cellphones picking up a signal. I have missed a clearance or 2 that way”.

15. Shopping above the sky

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“Secret: All of the stuff in Sky Mall can be purchased on the internet for much less money”.

16. Your bags in cargo

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“If it says “fragile,” it’s getting thrown harder. If it’s says this side up, it’s going to be upside down. We have to fit freight and 100+ bags in a cargo pit. It has to fit how it’s going to fit…I will tell you that when we see “I heart baggage handlers” bag tags…We take special care of your shit.”

17. That extra heart on the plane

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“The majority of domestic flights have human remains or organs on them. I work below wing as a baggage handler. Watch out the window for long boxes that say, “Head” at one end… Oh, and I can fit 150 bags in bin 3 of a Boeing 737-300.”

18. When the planes flies without an engine

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“A pilot told me if both engines fail, a plane can glide 6 nautical miles for every 5000 feet. So at 35,000 feet, a plane can glide about 42 miles without power. Its why most accidents happen landing or taking off.”

19. How the pilot acts when the plane is hijacked.

Mexico Plane Hijacking(Image Credits: Sulekha)

“If the plane is being hijacked when the pilot lands they will leave the wing flaps up that slow the plane down, this is to signal the airport that there is something happening in the plane”.

20. Just take the batteries out

(Image Credits: Consumerist)

“Women: if you pack a toy in your bag, take the batteries out. Because if I’m loading your bag, and I hear it vibrating I have to tell my lead. Then my lead has to come pull you off the aircraft and you have to open your bag and turn off your toy in front of a bunch of giggling grown ass men.”

 Please keep in mind that these statements were retrieved through Therefore, there is no guarantee if the information is 100% correct. However, they do indicate what is going on behind the scenes.

1. The true story behind the oxygen mask.