29 Things Your Pilot Won’t Tell You

As frequent fliers, you’re probably quite familiar with several of the “29 Things Your Pilot Won’t Tell You”, which come courtesy of Reader’s Digest…but there are still a few items that are interesting nonetheless. Check out the full list of 29 here and a few of the snippets below.

We asked pilots from across the country to give us straight answers about maddening safety rules, inexplicable delays, the air and attitudes up there—and what really happens behind the cockpit door. What they told us will change the way you fly.

  • There’s no such thing as a water landing. It’s called crashing into the ocean. —Pilot, South Carolina
  • Most people get sick after traveling not because of what they breathe but because of what they touch. Always assume that the tray table and the button to push the seat back have not been wiped down, though we do wipe down the lavatory. —Patrick Smith
  • The two worst airports for us: Reagan National in Washington, D.C., and John Wayne in Orange County, California.
  • Is traveling with a baby in your lap safe? No.
  • Cold on the airplane? Tell your flight attendant. We’re in a constant battle with them over the temperature. They’re moving all the time, up and down the aisles, so they are always calling and saying, ‘Turn up the air.’ But most passengers I know are freezing. —Captain at a major carrier
  • Some airline lingo: Blue juice: The water in the lavatory toilet. “There’s no blue juice in the lav.”, Crotch watch: The required check to make sure all passengers have their seat belts fastened. Also: “groin scan.”, Crumb crunchers: Kids. “We’ve got a lot of crumb crunchers on this flight.”, Deadheading: When an airline employee flies as a passenger for company business., Gate lice: The people who gather around the gate right before boarding so they can be first on the plane. “Oh, the gate lice are thick today.”, George: Autopilot. “I’ll let George take over.”, Landing lips: Female passengers put on their “landing lips” when they use their lipstick just before landing. Spinners: Passengers who get on late and don’t have a seat assignment, so they spin around looking for a seat. Two-for-once special: The plane touches down on landing, bounces up, then touches down again. Working the village: Working in coach.

Full list of 29


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  1. Found it:

    You’re flying by the seat of your pants trying to get in and out of those airports. John Wayne is especially bad because the rich folks who live near the airport don’t like jet noise, so they have this noise abatement procedure where you basically have to turn the plane into a ballistic missile as soon as you’re airborne.
 —Pilot, South Carolina

    At some airports with really short runways, you’re not going to have a smooth landing no matter how good we are: John Wayne Airport; Jackson Hole, Wyoming; Chicago Midway; and Reagan National. —Joe D’Eon

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