Flight Attendants and Pilots Tell All…Actually Interesting Secrets Part 2!

by Adam

Could a normal person land a passenger jet with assistance like in the movies? How likely is a successful water landing? Are people really hooking up all the time on planes? Does having your seat up for landing really make a difference?

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

Could a normal passenger land a jet with help from the ground?

…Something else we see on Airplane: a passenger landing a commercial jet with instructions from air traffic control. Can that happen? “That possibility is pretty far out,” says former pilot Tom Bunn. “How would a passenger know how to use the radio?” Alright, let’s assume the passenger finds and operates the radio. In that case, Bunn says they might be home free. “A passenger could follow instructions well enough to set the autopilot up for an automatic landing, and the plane could land itself.”

Water landing success?

It’s part of the safety briefing: “in the unlikely event of a water landing….” But aside from the 2009 “Miracle on the Hudson,” when Captain Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger successfully landed a US Airways jet in New York’s Hudson River, how likely is it that you’ll have a successful water landing?

Aviation safety expert Kyle Bailey doesn’t like the odds. “Water crash landings typically are less desirable than an emergency happening over a flat piece of land,” he says, adding that in emergency water landings, planes risk tumbling and breaking apart.

Still, former airline pilot Tom Bunn offers a reassuring note. “Historically, most water landings are survivable,” he says. “Weather conditions matter. It is better when the surface is smooth, as the Hudson River was for Sullenberger.”

Hooking up on planes still a thing?

C’mon, you know the answer to this one. “Yes, people hook up on planes,” says flight attendant Emily Witkop. “You create a club called ‘The Mile-High Club’ and think people aren’t trying to be members?!?!”

But the mid-air hookups may be waning. “I have noticed a decline in mile-high ‘connections’ in the bathroom,” says “Betty,” an anonymous flight attendant and author of the book, “Betty in the Sky With a Suitcase: Hilarious Stories of Air Travel by the World’s Favorite Flight Attendant.” Betty attributes the apparent drop in lavatory lovin’ to, of all things, germaphobia. “The bathrooms are small and not very clean,” Betty says. But she adds, “You still see airplane hanky-panky in seats under blankets.”

How important is having your seat up for landing? 

Flight attendants generally don’t waste their time setting and enforcing meaningless rules; if they tell you to do something, there’s usually a reason. The order to put your seat and tray tables up for landing is no exception.

“Because on impact you fly forward,” says Witkop, pointing out that in a hard landing, “even a few inches can make a difference for you.”

Heather Poole is more blunt about it. “Of course it matters!” she says. “If there’s an emergency, you’re reclined seat is going to keep the person behind you from getting out as quickly as possible. Time matters: Put your damn seat up.” Yes, ma’am!

There’s still more secrets remaining…check out the full article from Yahoo here!

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Brian May 8, 2015 - 12:32 pm

The primary reason for the “seat and tray table in the upright and locked position” for take off and landing rule is so that the row behind you can exit quicker in an emergency. Thus, if your seat is broken and won’t stay locked, you can still sit in, but the row behind you has to be closed.


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