Travel expert reveals airplane trade secrets passengers are NEVER told

Travel expert reveals the airplane trade secrets that passengers are NEVER told – from what the holes on that windows are REALLY for to why blankets should be avoided

  • Travel expert Megan Gougeon has taken over 300 flights in the past decade 
  • She reveals in a YouTube a selection of things ‘NEVER told’ to airline passengers
  • Her trade secrets include the safest place to sit and why socks are a no-no

If you’ve ever wondered what the tiny holes in plane windows are for and where the dirtiest part of the plane might be, then, read on.  

Travel expert Megan Gougeon, who has taken more than 300 flights in the past decade, reveals in a new YouTube video a selection of things ‘NEVER told’ to airline passengers. 

While airline blankets might feel soft and snuggly, Megan warns viewers to keep away from them and in another part of the video, she explains why wearing socks is always a no-no.

Take a flight down to learn more airline trade secrets, which might cause you to look at things differently next step you aboard a plane. 

Travel expert Megan Gougeon, who has taken more than 300 flights in the past decade, reveals in a new YouTube video a selection of things ‘NEVER told’ to airline passengers

Safest seats on the plane  

For passengers concerned about safety, Megan recommends selecting seats ‘in the middle of the last row at the back of the plane.’

She says these spots have the ‘highest survival rates in the event of a crash.’

While the seats might be the safest, Megan notes that they are also the least comfortable places to sit on the plane as they ‘lack the reclining feature [and] they are also close to the bathrooms.’

Because of this, Megan says she will never choose to sit in the back row of seats and she prefers extra comfort over a ‘potential safety benefit.’

Seats ‘in the middle of the last row at the back of the plane’ have the ‘highest survival rates in the event of a crash’

Direct flights are safer than multiple legs

Instead of suffering through a long flight in a terrible seat, Megan says ‘another way to increase your chances of a safe trip to your destination would be to pay up for a direct flight as opposed to booking multiple connecting flights.’

She highlights that opting for a direct flight isn’t just about convenience, ‘it’s also about safety.’

This is because, the globetrotter notes, ‘most airplane accidents happen on takeoff and landing, so by choosing a direct flight, it means that you only have to go through this risk prone part of flying one time.’

Holes in the windows

Have you ever spotted a small hole in the bottom of an airplane window and wondered what it’s for?

Megan says this feature is something ‘airlines don’t talk about but it plays a big role in keeping us safe and comfortable during the flight.’

She goes on to explain that the circular outlet is known as a ‘bleed hole,’ and it is ‘crucial for regulating cabin pressure to keep the window strong and to stop it from fogging up.’

Windows on commercial planes typically have three panes – outer, middle and inner – made of acrylic and glass.

The circular outlet known as a ‘bleed hole’ is ‘crucial for regulating cabin pressure to keep the window strong and to stop it from fogging up’

The plastic pane on the inside of the plane is to prevent passengers from getting access to the glass panes in the middle and on the outside.

There is a middle pane of glass with a ‘bleed hole’ in it, then an air gap, followed by an outside pane of glass.

To maintain cabin conditions, it is necessary to manage the pressure between the inner pane and the actual window, so the outer window bears the load of the pressure differential.

If the pane was sealed, and didn’t have a hole in it, all the pressure in the cabin would act on the inside pane of glass.

If this pressure blows that outer pane out, the inside pane is still strong enough to hold pressure and gives pilots time to drop to lower altitudes.

Common flight routines are actually important 

Frequent flyers, Megan says, will be ‘all too familiar’ with procedures for takeoff and landing including stowing personal items, closing the tray tables and opening the window shades. 

While they might seem like mundane rules, the travel expert highlights that they are in place to ensure everyone’s safety. 

She explains: ‘Personal items and electronics are stowed since they could be incredibly dangerous if end up flying through the cabin in an emergency. 

‘The window shades need to be open so emergency personnel could get a good look inside the plane from the outside in the case of a crash landing’

‘An open tray table could block the way if we need to get out fast and cabin lights are also dimmed to help our eyes get used to the dark just in case we need to leave the plane in darkness.

‘Passengers also aren’t asked to open the window shades so everyone can enjoy the view but instead, the window shades need to be open so emergency personnel could get a good look inside the plane from the outside in the case of a crash landing.’

Megan says these pointers should offer a ‘little more motivation to follow the rules and to make sure that everyone around you is following the rules.’

ALWAYS check under the seat

Something else that airlines don’t tell passengers about, Megan says, is the fact that there should be life vests under every seat. 

She reveals that ‘sometimes passengers walk off with these’ so it is worth checking that your seat has one before take off. 

If you can’t find one, Megan recommends telling a flight attendant right away. 

Continuing on the safety theme, she notes that the seat cushions ‘can also usually detach and be used as a flotation device if needed.’

She concludes: ‘It’s one of those fun safety features hiding in play in sight just like the axe and the crossbow that are also hiding in the plane cabin for emergency use but good luck trying to spot those.’

The lavatory ashtrays  

Although smoking is highly illegal on airplanes, some passengers are going to break the rules and therefore, there must be a safe place to extinguish a cigarette

One airplane feature that you may have never noticed even ‘if you looked straight at it multiple times,’ Megan says, would be the ashtray in the bathroom.

Although smoking is highly illegal on airplanes, the avid traveler highlights that ‘some passengers are going to break the rules and smoke anyway.’

With this in mind, airplanes must have a safe place to extinguish a cigarette.

This is actually a legal requirement and the Federal Aviation Administration notes: ‘Regardless of whether smoking is allowed in any other part of the airplane, lavatories must have self-contained, removable ashtrays located conspicuously on or near the entry side of each lavatory door, except that one ashtray may serve more than one lavatory door if the ashtray can be seen readily from the cabin side of each lavatory served.’

The secret latch on every plane

Passengers who break the rules will be busted, Megan says as she goes on to talk about the ‘secret latch’ on airplanes.

She points out that there is a ‘hidden latch under the lavatory sign’ on all of the lavatory doors, which allows them to be unlocked from the outside. 

So in addition to not smoking, Megan warns against ‘doing anything questionable in an airplane bathroom.’

‘[It’s] not the place,’ she adds. 

Never walk around in socks 

During flights, passengers should keep their shoes on at all times Megan says

Megan says a major no-no on flights is walking around the plane in your socks. 

She explains that in the bathrooms, the ‘little droplets on the ground aren’t always water,’ while ‘the aisle floors also accumulate germs that are tracked out of the airplane bathroom.’

By keeping your shoes on, the YouTuber says that ‘you’re not just avoiding the unpleasantness of bathroom spills but you are also protecting yourself from a variety of germs that could lead to a variety of foot conditions.’

The dirtiest places on a plane

With quick turnarounds between flights, Megan highlights that there isn’t much time for deep cleans. 

She says some of the dirtiest places on planes include the seat back pockets, the seat buckles and tray tables. 

To keep germs at bay, she recommends wiping down these areas before getting comfortable.

Passengers could also ‘consider a tray table cover since they can protect you from germs and can also be helpful to organize your stuff during a flight.’

Air vents might prevent sickness 

You may want to consider keeping the air vent open during your flight, Megan says, as ‘air blown from the overhead vent is partially filtered which can help disperse any germs in your immediate airspace.’

She adds: ‘I’ve also heard that the continuous flow of air could potentially create a barrier around you that could stop germs from settling in your airspace but I’m not sure how effective that really is.’

Warning about the blankets…

If your blanket is wrapped in plastic, it has been washed the travel experts say 

While they might seem soft and snuggly, Megan gives a cautionary message about airplane blankets. 

She says she recently found out that the pillows and the blankets on long-haul flights are ‘actually reused and they may only be clean for the first flight of the day.’

Catrina McGrail, a former flight attendant, told Afar that she had never heard of this happening but the best way of ensuring a blanket is clean is by making sure it’s wrapped in plastic.

‘Using the sealed plastic bags means passengers would know their blanket would be fresh,’ she said

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