What flight attendants know but don't tell passengers

Tribune News Service • Oct 30, 2016 at 5:00 PM

It turns out there are a lot of things flight attendants know that they don't always share with passengers.

Quora recently polled flight attendants on what they "know about flying that they don't tell passengers," prompting some helpful and horrifying responses. While some details are juicier than others, there's a lesson to be learned from each.

Ishrat Parveen's August post reveals that "the most unhygienic thing in the aircraft is your seat belt, then the tray tables," adding that passengers sometimes "get served frozen food which is kept for up to 72 hours."

While you're wiping down your seat belt, remember to disinfect your tray if you plan on using it. "Yes, people do put their feet and dirty diapers on the tray tables," writes Amar Rama.

It's not all doom and gloom, though. Parveen writes that "at times, the crew offers you their own meal to make sure your are fed on the flight."

As for some of passengers' biggest fears, Anya Mary points out that sometimes rough landings are necessary, especially when it's raining. Mary also reminds passengers that airplanes are built to withstand thunderstorms and turbulence.

However, Parveen also warns that injuries can happen if passengers don't heed the seat belt sign.

Another bit of advice, book an early flight for a smoother trip. "One of the things, that flight attendants won’t tell you, is that morning flights are better because the air is less bumpy," writes Mary. "Obviously, the airline wants you to book at any time of the day. There is also less chance to hit a thunderstorm, as these tend to happen mostly in the afternoon.

"So set your alarm clock early."

If there's one lesson to take away from Quora's query, though, it's that most of the time flight attendants are there and willing to help if you know how to ask.

"We will help you as long as it's within our power," writes Rama. "Flight attendants only work onboard the plane, therefore many of us do not know anything regarding your connection or lost bags or even where baggage claim is. That is a totally different department. That being said, if you are nice we will try to go above and beyond our job to help from a human-to-human level."

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