Flight Attendants and Pilots Tell All…New Responses – Part 1

Do pilots ever screw up the landings? Thoughts on going number two in the lavatory? Are pilots really required to eat different in-flight meals? Do flight attendants get nervous?

Yahoo Travel talked to a group of pilots and flight attendants to learn the answers to these questions and more. This is part one of that series, part two will be published tomorrow. Thanks to Mark from Yahoo for sharing with our readers!

Landings

“There is some variation in talent in flying a plane just as there is variation in talent in sports,” says the former airline pilot Tom Bunn. “Some pilots can kiss the plane on the runway every time. Some hardly ever do.”

But don’t worry; just because your pilot lands ugly doesn’t necessarily mean you’re in danger. “The smoothness of the landing has little if anything to do with safety,” says Bunn. “The plane’s landing gear is strong enough to handle the slam-it-on-the deck kind of landings made on an aircraft carrier.”

And maybe, just maybe, we shouldn’t quibble about “smooth vs. bumpy” landings and keep things in perspective. Says aviation safety expert and amateur pilot Kyle Bailey: “Remember the old saying: Any landing you walk away from is a good landing.“

Number 2 in the bathroom?

“We hate it,” says veteran flight attendant Emily Witkop. “It’s a normal function, but why do people wait to leave us those precious gifts and smells when they have been at the airport for hours? We have tried over the years to come up with methods to mask the unpleasantness, but sometime no amount of coffee grinds or spray will work.”

Different food for pilots?

It’s not a law but, yes, for many pilots eating the same meal is verboten. The reason why is apparent to anyone who’s seen the movie Airplane (and if you haven’t, you should because it literally is one of the funniest movies of all time). “Typically, as a ‘best practice’ pilot and co-pilots’ meals will differ to prevent illness from food-borne bacteria, contamination, spoilage,” says Bailey.

“Pilots are supposed to, but it doesn’t always happen,” says Bunn. He explains: “Remember what airplane food looks like? That’s pretty much what crew meals look like. One pilot is given a crew meal. The other pilot is given a different crew meal. When exposed to the same food day in and day out, the pilots may take a pass on the crew meals, and hope there are some leftover passenger meals. They may opt for left over passenger meals, even if it means both eat the same meal.”

But that cheat does come with a built-in safety check. “Since the passengers have already eaten, if no passengers got sick, the meals must be okay,” says Bunn.

Nerves?

Whatever the flight attendant is scared of, you’ll never know it. “I am human and I do get scared,” says veteran flight attendant Emily Witkop. “You will never see it on my face. People gauge their reactions on how we are handling a situation (’If she panics so can I!!!’). So I have an impeccable poker face on the airplane. If I am scared or praying a little bit, you will never know.”

There’s nine secrets remaining…check them out here or see part two tomorrow!

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