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There’s plenty going on behind the scenes when you fly, so we checked around the web for some insights from airline insiders to give you a glimpse of what they know that you don’t. You might be surprised at what you learn!

Turn left if you’re in a hurry

Research shows that most people are right-handed, so they tend to turn right first— that includes at the TSA checkpoint. Break with the majority and turn left instead: chances are the lines are shorter, and you’ll get through faster.

Book early flights

The earlier in the day you travel, the less likely you are to encounter a flight delay. That’s just a general rule, of course.

Dress accordingly

If you’re looking for an upgrade to first class, you might want to forego the flipflops and shorts. Although mileage and frequent flyer status are definitely a part of it, choose comfortable AND classy over, say, pajama bottoms and a gnarly sweatshirt. Check with the airlines: some definitely have first-class dress codes, political correctness notwithstanding.

Avoid drinking the water on the plane

This is kind of gross, but according to the EPA, one in every eight planes failed agency standards for water safety and a full 15% if tested systems tested positive for potentially harmful bacteria. So that means nothing made with airline water, including hot drinks like coffee, tea, or soup. It’s fine if you see them opening water bottles and pouring from there: otherwise, buy your own bottled water after you get through security.

Some flight attendants are allowed to tase passengers 

These are meant to be used “where the lives of the passengers and crew were in danger or if the safety of the flight was under threat,” according to Reuters, but those regulations are being loosened on some airlines, where they can use it to cope with violent acts and disturbances on board. Again, check with the individual airline if that’s something that worries you.

If you sit towards the back of the plane, you’ll get better service

According to Business Insider, flight attendants “like to avoid responding to call bells from the front of the plane because answering one means potentially flaunting whatever item the passenger has requested to everyone else along the way. This can cause a problem since planes often don’t have enough extra vodka, pillows, earplugs, and toothbrushes, or the time on shorter flights to deviate from the service schedule.”

You might want to keep your shoes on

Yeah, planes are dirty, and they’re worse than you think, so avoid walking around barefoot. And never mind going into the lavatory without your shoes on. (On a side note: in consideration of other passengers and the flight attendants—especially if you have foot odor—please keep them on.)

Yes, you can have the entire can of soda

If you just want one cup, then by all means just have one: but know that if you’re really thirsty, you can ask for the can and flight attendants will happily hand it over. After all, it will probably save them a return trip for a refill.




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