Flight Attendants' Biggest Secrets Revealed

Crew members during a flight are not the passengers' servants. Flight attendants know a lot more about the plane, the flight, and what's going in general in the air than you can imagine. They are there to help travelers, but their job description is much longer than this one task. The primary concern of pilots and their teams is safety. They have to know how to administer CPR, in-flight firefighting, defibrillation, emergency landing procedures, and security as well. Their jobs are not easy as they juggle multiple tasks only one of which is customer service.

Tired of Baggage Fees?

"If you want to save money from those never-ending baggage fees, always try to bring your roller-board with you to the Departure Gate," Lia Volpe, flight attendant with more than 13 years of experience and owner of Flight Attendant Prep Academy, says. "Chances are, if it is a full flight, Gate Agents will ask volunteers to check their bags to their final destination. This service is completely complimentary and convenient for all parties involved."

Celebrity Treatment

"If you are traveling on one of the smaller, regional aircrafts such as United Express/ American Eagle/ Delta Connection, chances are, your luggage will not fit in the overhead bid and will need to be checked plane-side," Volpe says. "Luggage being checked plane-side is one of the best kept secrets for checked luggage as you will drop off your luggage off at the aircraft door and pick it up plane side once you land."

Unlimited Benefits

"On most Airlines, you are only allowed one carry on suitcase and one personal item such as a purse, backpack, laptop or briefcase," Volpe says. Many people don't realize that there are some items that you're allowed to bring onto the airplane that do not fall into this category, she adds. "Some items that are exempt include newspapers, food, drinks, umbrella, jackets and hats. You can bring a combination of these items and it will not be included with the two limit carry-on items."

The Holiday Season

Did you know that a passenger's weight on the Weight and Balance Sheet is heavier in the wintertime rather than the summertime? "Every passenger is presumed 20-30 pounds more in the winter rather than the summer," Volpe says. "No, it doesn't mean that you should put that extra turkey and stuffing aside and skip the pumpkin pie, but what it does mean is that they take into consideration all of the heavy winter coats and luggage in the airplane cabin."

Do You Have a Parachute Somewhere?

"Despite what you may think, crews do not have any sort of parachutes hidden in a compartment on the aircraft," Volpe says. "In the event of an emergency, we are required to be the last ones off the aircraft, with the captain following shortly behind." They have to get the passengers to safety first.

Oxygen Masks

"If a sudden decompression occurs, many passengers don't know that the yellow oxygen masks that fall from the compartments above your seat hold a limited amount of oxygen that allows the pilot to get down to a safer altitude and away from danger," Volpe says. "The Flight Attendants have a POB – 'Portable Oxygen Bottle' that will allow the Flight Attendants to move throughout the cabin and help passengers in need."

Why Is It So Dark in the Plane?

"During night flights, we are required to turn off the lights in the cabin during take-off and landing, as we need passengers' eyes to adjust to their external surroundings," Volpe says. "The lights in the cabin should match what the lighting is outside of the aircraft. If it is light outside, the lights can be on but if it's nighttime, the lights must be turned off."

Keeping Secrets from the Passengers

"In case of an emergency, do not fret; pilots are generally 20 minutes from an airport at all times," Volpe says. "If something doesn't seem right, Flight Attendants will try to make an announcement if given enough time to prepare for an emergency landing."

Locked in the Lavatory?

"Flight Attendants have a secret way to get into the lavatory from the outside," Volpe says. So don't do something you're not supposed to, ok? "There is a latch under the 'Occupied' sign that we can access that will allow us in to the Lavatory at any time." If you are locked [...] we are able to unlock it from the outside within seconds, she adds.

Want a Blanket or Pillow?

"Think twice before laying your head on the pillow or blanket that is located at your seat," Volpe says. "These pillows or blankets are recycled flight after flight and never changed until they are discarded on the last flight." The only time it is ever safe to use these blanket is if they are wrapped in newly marked plastic that has not yet been opened, which is generally on the very first flight of the day, she adds.

I’ll Have a Splash of Lavatory Water with That…

"We know how much people love their coffee in the mornings but think twice before ordering coffee, as it is the same water used in the lavatory sink," Volpe says. "This water is called 'Potable Water' and is filled into the same tank that distributes to all coffee pots, hot tea and the lavatory sink," she adds.

Some Things to NEVER CHECK in Your Luggage

"Make sure you take all of your personal items with you and keep them in your purse, backpack or pockets," Volpe says. For example, you should never ever check your passport, ID, house/car keys, phone and any immediate medication such as an asthma inhaler or prescriptions. "We recommend that you keep any important valuables on your person at all times. The airlines will not be responsible for any lost or misplaced items in your checked luggage," she adds.

Be Nice to Flight Attendants

Two Reddit users said, from personal experience, that because no one tips flight attendants, they will treat you like royalty if you do. Another user tested the theory and said it totally worked. He said he gave the person in the front a box of assorted chocolates and was approached by one of the attendants who told him there were empty first class seats, and they upgraded him for free. The flight, however, was not full.

You are probably drinking decaf coffee

A sleeping passenger is not disruptive, flight attendants have said before. Why would you want to be awake throughout the flight, especially if it's long, anyway? Nobody likes to have fidgety people in a small, enclosed space. Even the regular coffee only had half the normal caffeine.

They Speak in Code

You hear them, you listen to them, but you don't know what they mean. You may be aware of the "cross check" procedure but do you know what a "spinner" is? "We have a spinner mid-cabin" means that a flustered passenger is standing in the aisle, spinning as he or she searches. "Redeye," in another example, means an overnight flight. Many crew members like them because service tends to be easier and there is plenty of time for chit-chat.