Remember the first time flying? All the crazy thoughts and the weird feeling in your stomach? Most of the scary thoughts and feeling fades away after a few times in the air. If you have ever been on a plane, you should consider yourself lucky. Only about 5% of the world’s population have ever been on an airplane. If you are an occasional flyer or someone who has fear of it but has plans to fly in the future, then you probably shouldn’t read this—unless you enjoy having your worst fears validated. Here are some facts about airplanes that will make you think twice before flying:
1. It’s filled with germs.
Airplanes have been flying around with a tighter schedule than ever before. This limits the crew from giving it a proper scrub and sometimes and there’s often no time for cleaning before a flight is turned around for the next group of passengers. Cold and influenza viruses are capable of living for days on the surface, and upon contact can transfer from an object to a person. If there are seat pockets, avoid using them at all cost. Most passengers use this to store their dirty tissues and even, in some cases, diapers. A study conducted by the Wall Street Journal found that 60 percent of tray tables tested harbored the “superbug” MRSA and airplane blankets were only washed every five to 30 days.
2. Traveling with a lap child can be deadly.
Flying can be expensive and some of us go to extreme lengths to find cheaper tickets. If you are a parent, airliners can give you the option to have your infant seated on your lap so you can save some bucks. Actually, that’s a lie. They want to sell that seat to someone who is willing to pay more. According to the FAA, “The safest place for your child on an airplane is in a government-approved child safety restraint system (CRS) or device, not on your lap. Your arms aren’t capable of holding your child securely, especially during unexpected turbulence.”
Would you ever put a price on the safety of your child? Besides, would you ever drive in a car with your child on your lap? So, why risk your child’s safety while flying? Children can easily fly out of a parents arms during severe turbulence or a crash. This can result in fatal injuries to the child or other passengers. On July 2, 1994, USAir DC-9 had to make an emergency landing in Charlotte, N.C. A mother, who was holding her child under the age of 2 in her lap, lost hold of her infant during the violent gyrations of the aircraft. The mother survived but the infant did not.
3. It’s impossible to lock yourself in the bathroom.
The main job of any flight attendant is to ensure the safety of the passengers. If someone decides to join the mile high club or grab a quick smoke (putting other passengers’ lives at risk), the flight attendants have a switch that they can flip to open the lavatory door. So, always keep in mind that they can fully barge in and bust you.
4. Airlines are skimping on fuel.
Fuel prices are increasing everyday. This is causing some airliners to cut corners when it comes filling up their tanks. According to a scary report by Spanish safety investigators, some airliners are taking extreme cost-cutting measures, and are reportedly flying with less-than-recommended fuel levels in an effort to save money. The study outlined one airliner in particular; Ryanair. This particular airliner is known for cutting corners and hard landings. Do a simple search on YouTube and you will find hundreds of videos of hard landings by this particular airliner. The Sydney Morning Herald reports that in 2013, Ryanair instructed its pilots to fly slower in order to save fuel.
5. You might have a limited window to escape a burning plane.
We hate those boring emergency exercises that flight attendants perform as soon as we board the plane. Although they may seem boring to us, the aim of the exercise is to make us aware of the closest emergency exits. The FAA states that in case of a crash landing, all passengers have to evacuate the airplane within 90 seconds. A minute and a half is the amount of time it can take for a fire to spread through the plane. They even suggest that you wear cotton or non-synthetic clothes, since synthetics are flammable and may melt to your skin.
6. That emergency oxygen mask only lasts about 15 minutes.
In case of an emergency, airplanes are equipped with oxygen masks. These masks provide passengers with enough oxygen in case there is a sudden altitude drop or if the airplane loses cabin pressure due to a malfunction. But, if you think that you can rely on that mask for survival, then think again. According to HuffPost, the drop-down emergency oxygen masks on the plane are usually only equipped to pump out oxygen for about 12 to 15 minutes. So, as soon as the mask drops down, you need to get your mask on over your nose and mouth as soon as you can, as you risk passing out just 30 seconds after cabin pressure drops to unsafe levels.
7. You should never touch the water on a plane.
Whether you are a germaphobe or not doesn’t matter. You should refrain yourself from ordering tea or coffee on a plane for a good reason. An EPA study in 2012 and 2014 found that the drinking water on more than one out of every 10 planes tested positive for “high” levels of coliform, which is potentially harmful bacteria found in human feces. Although the bacteria itself is not a serious hazard, it is a good indicator of other dangerous microorganisms like E. coli. The EPA now requires planes to have their water supply tested once a year.
8. It’s technically impossible to die on a flight.
The flight crew are trained in basic first aid and some are qualified to perform resuscitation or even to deliver babies. But, most flights do not have any staff members on board who are qualified to declare a time of death. This means that if someone onboard suffers a cardiac arrest, they are going to perform CPR and try to save the person. If their efforts fail, they will leave the body on the same seat or move it to an empty row. According to the BBC, there is no such thing as mid-flight death and individuals will only be declared dead upon landing.
9. Take off and landing is when 80 percent of plane crashes occur.
We’re not saying that you should not play on your phone or nod off listening to music. A study shows that the three minutes after takeoff and the last eight minutes before landing are when 80 percent of plane crashes occur. During this time, it’s best to stay awake and alert in case something goes wrong.
10. There’s more risk of turbulence now than ever before.
Studies show that the rise in temperatures and increase of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is the reason for moderate to extreme turbulence experienced on transatlantic flights. The study also shows that it could increase by between 10 and 40 percent by mid-century.