All about aeroplanes

Whether you’re an aeroplane enthusiast or a nervous flyer, knowing this trivia about aeroplanes can help make your next journey smoother and more enjoyable.

By Alexandra Whittaker and Danielle Braffg. All images: Shutterstock.

What is all that banging noise when you’re boarding?

No worries, they’re not patching up the plane at the last minute. The banging noise that you hear when you’re boarding the plane and right after you land is the cargo that’s being loaded or taken off the plane. It’s directly below the cabin, so it does sound pretty loud.

How do flight attendants deal with unruly passengers?

If you’re seriously out of control, you may find yourself handcuffed on your flight. Some airlines keep plastic zip-tie cuffs on the plane, while others will allow the flight attendants to cuff the passengers with seat-belt extenders, according to Express.

What are those hooks on the planes’ wings?

Don’t get too nervous, but those bumps contain holes on the wings that make it easier for flight attendants to attach ropes so they can deploy the inflatable slides in case of an emergency water landing. With them, you can hold the rope which will lead you to the inflatable slides and make it out safely, according to Captain Joe. Without the bumps, the wings would be too smooth and slippery for the passengers trying to get to the slide.

Why do flight attendants reach upwards as they walk?

They’re not trying to touch the ceiling to show off how tall they are. There’s actually a scalloped spot at the bottom of the overhead compartments and the flight attendants are gripping that as they walk down the aisle so they don’t have to grab your seat to keep their balance, according to Condé Nast Traveler. You can do it too, and you’ll look like a pro.

What’s the best way to calm down during turbulence?

According to Captain Ron Nielsen, a pilot who teaches a fear of flying class, you should try writing your name while your pen is in the hand that you don’t normally use. “It first causes [the passenger] to focus extra-hard on what she’s doing, because she doesn’t normally write with her other hand,” Nielsen told Today. “And the second thing is, it’s actually crossing over her motor function in her brain, using the other side of her brain from what she would normally do.” It’s all about distraction.

Where do pilots sleep?

During those really long flights, pilots and flight attendants need to snooze too, and it’s not so comfy in the cockpit. On many planes, like the Boeing 777 and 787, there are secret places where the pilots and other staff can sleep. For example, there may be a locked door in front or a door that looks like an overhead bin, which secretly leads to a few beds, according to Insider.

What happens if someone dies on your flight?

It happens, unfortunately. If there’s an empty row, the flight attendants will bring the body there and cover it with a rug, according to Express. If there’s any way the person can be medically saved in mid-air, the flight will try to land at the closest airport to prevent the death.

What do airlines do with lost luggage?

You can actually buy it. Most airlines allow three months to find the rightful owner of the lost luggage, and then it’s sent to an auction house. In the United States the Unclaimed Baggage Centre is one of the world’s largest lost luggage auction centres. Located in Alabama, the privately-run company purchases the luggage declared lost. While most of the contents are tossed or donated, the remainder is popped onto the store’s shelves, where you can find everything from diamond rings to designer clothing. One time, a 41-carat emerald which was appraised at $35,000 sold for $17,000, according to Travel & Leisure.

Why are the tray tables so dirty?

Bring your own cleaning wipes for your tray tables, as they’re only cleaned once a day typically – and that’s only overnight, according to Insider. During flights, food is spilled, drool is drooled, and dirty diapers are changed on those tray tables. Often, they’re dirtier than toilet seats, so consider this fair warning. But it’s super easy to clean them: bring your own wipe with you. One swipe should be good (while you’re at it, you may want to wipe down your seat and armrest too, for good measure).

Why do you have to put your phone into Aeroplane Mode?

Perhaps you’ve heard that your little phone can actually interfere with the plane’s navigation or other important equipment? Not quite. Actually, your phone is supposed to be in Aeroplane Mode to protect against radio interference. So you could potentially pick up service from multiple cell towers, and crowd networks, disrupting your service.

Why do aeroplanes have ashtrays?

We’re not allowed to smoke on board a plane, so what’s the point? Most airlines banned smoking decades ago nationally and internationally, so surely by now, they would have rid the planes of the ashtrays, right? Well, since some people (#rulebreakers) still insist on smoking in the plane, they need a safe spot to stub out the cigarettes. It’s safer to do it in an ashtray than in the toilet, which may contain flammable tissues.