Airplanes are still a complex and mysterious place. There are many odd things about flying that most passengers don’t know. I don’t mind flying, but surely there are people who hate it or those who love it. This post is addressed to everyone! I love searching airplane facts and collected some things you might want to know. I hope you will enjoy getting to know some (insider’s) facts.

A woman once smuggled a baby tiger cub in her checked luggage

Of all the things that people have tried to take on vacation with them, this is probably among the strangest. A Thai woman was arrested after trying to smuggle a baby tiger cub out of Thailand in her checked luggage. She sedated it and then placed it in a suitcase with stuffed toy tigers. However, her plan was foiled when the X-ray in the security check showed that one of the “stuffed toys” actually had bones.

Photo by Belinda Fewings

Planes have no toilets

Sure it looks like a toilet and it has a seat like a toilet. But it’s not a traditional toilet. It’s a vacuum. Watch the next time you flush to see the silver flap open. Air pressure then sucks what’s in the bowl to a tank in the holding compartment.

The world’s oldest airline turned 100 in 2019

Our Dutch airline KLM has the longest continuously operating record in the world!

Photo by VanveenJF 

Your taste buds change during the flight

You’ve just had that first sip or bite of your favorite drink or meal while flying, but it doesn’t quite taste like it usually does. That’s because air travel changes your body chemistry, and so your taste buds too! According to the folks at JetBlue, the difference in air pressure and the low humidity in a plane’s cabin make it more difficult for your taste buds to register sweet and salty flavors.

Why planes leave trails in the sky

Those white lines that planes leave in the sky are simply trails of condensation. Plane engines release water vapor as part of the combustion process. When that hot water vapor is pumped out of the exhaust and hits the cooler air of the upper atmosphere, it creates those puffy white lines in the sky.

Photo by Filip Lukic

There exists something like aviophobia

About 1 in 5 people have some fear of flying, or “aviophobia.”

Pilots and co-pilots are advised to eat different meals

Pilots and co-pilots are advised not to eat the same meals when they are working. If something is wrong with the meal (like food poisoning), the other pilot will not be affected and can take over. Though it’s technically not mandated by the FAA, most airlines require their pilots and co-pilots to eat different meals on the plane.

Photo by Jon Flobrant

It’s impossible to lock yourself in the bathroom 

Have you ever noticed how the flight attendants flip a little switch on the lavatory door before takeoff and landing? That switch locks the door so it won’t fly open and can be flipped on or off at any time. So if they think you’re in there joining the mile high club or smoking, they can fully barge in and bust you. 

Why do the windows of the planes have a tiny hole?

The windows of the aircraft have three layers. An outer layer, a middle layer (the one with the strange hole), and an inner layer. The little hole is used to equilibrate the pressure that passes between the two layers of the window. This hole also prevents the window from fogging and allows you to see outside. The inner layer of the window is the one that you can touch and it’s there simply to prevent you from touching and scratching the much more important middle glass.

Photo by Samuel Tan

There’s a red light on the left wing and a green light on the right

At night, it’s hard for pilots to see other aircraft. Every plane has a red light on the left wing and green on the right, so other pilots can easily identify which way the plane is facing and what direction it’s going.

Author: Daphne

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