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50 Airplane Facts You’ve Always Been Curious About

Flying can spark a lot of questions about everything from the iffy food to the holes in the airplane windows. Brush up on your airplane trivia, and become an airplane expert before you fly off for your next trip.

the plane with the airfield tractorSturmUfa/Shutterstock

All about airplanes

Whether you're an airplane enthusiast or a nervous flyer, knowing this trivia about airplanes can help make your next journey smoother and more enjoyable. You should also know these 13 things you should never do at the airport.

Worker Placing Luggage In Trailer Against AirplaneTyler Olson/Shutterstock

What is all that banging noise when you're boarding?

No worries, they're not patching up the plane at the last minute. The banging noise that you hear when you're boarding the plane and right after you land is the cargo that's being loaded or taken off the plane. It's directly below the cabin, so it does sound pretty loud.

flight attendantrkl_foto/Shutterstock

How do flight attendants deal with unruly passengers?

If you're seriously out of control, you may find yourself handcuffed on your flight. Some airlines keep plastic zip-tie cuffs on the plane, while others will allow the flight attendants to cuff the passengers with seat-belt extenders, according to Express. Here are some pet peeves that flight attendants have that while annoying, won't likely land you in cuffs.

airplane hooksZeeker2526/shutterstock

What are those hooks on the planes' wings?

Don't get too nervous, but those bumps contain holes on the wings that make it easier for flight attendants to attach ropes so they can deploy the inflatable slides in case of an emergency water landing. With them, you can hold the rope which will lead you to the inflatable slides and make it out safely, according to Captain Joe. Without the bumps, the wings would be too smooth and slippery for the passengers trying to get to the slide. Here's more on those little hooks.

Carry-on luggage in overhead storage compartment on commercial airplane.NavinTar/Shutterstock

Why do flight attendants reach upwards as they walk?

They're not trying to touch the ceiling to show off how tall they are. There's actually a scalloped spot at the bottom of the overhead compartments and the flight attendants are gripping that as they walk down the aisle so they don't have to grab your seat to keep their balance, according to Condé Nast Traveler. You can do it too, and you'll look like a pro. Find out some of the strange rules flight attendants have to follow.


Woman writing on blank notebook while travelling on airplane.T.Dallas/Shutterstock

What's the best way to calm down during turbulence?

According to Captain Ron Nielsen, a pilot who teaches a fear of flying class, you should try writing your name while your pen is in the hand that you don't normally use. "It first causes [the passenger] to focus extra-hard on what she's doing, because she doesn't normally write with her other hand," Nielsen told Today. "And the second thing is, it's actually crossing over her motor function in her brain, using the other side of her brain from what she would normally do." It's all about distraction. Here's what's really happening during turbulence.

airplane cabin crew rest areaThiago B Trevisan/Shutterstock

Where do pilots sleep?

During those really long flights, pilots and flight attendants need to snooze too, and it's not so comfy in the cockpit. On many planes, like the Boeing 777 and 787, there are secret places where the pilots and other staff can sleep. For example, there may be a locked door in front or a door that looks like an overhead bin, which secretly leads to a few beds, according to Insider. Passengers and crew alike can benefit from these tips on how to sleep well on an airplane.

Plane interior - cabin with modern leather chair for passenger of airplane. Aircraft seats and window. - Horizontal imageSklo Studio

What happens if someone dies on your flight?

It happens, unfortunately. If there's an empty row, the flight attendants will bring the body there and cover it with a rug, according to Express. If there's any way the person can be medically saved in mid-air, the flight will try to land at the closest airport to prevent the death. Find out 19 of the scariest moments pilots have ever experienced on a flight.

unclaimed baggage centerDan Callister/Shutterstock

What do airlines do with lost luggage?

You can actually buy it. There's a privately run Unclaimed Baggage Center in Scottsboro, Alabama, which has exclusive contracts with all the major U.S. airlines. They purchase the luggage declared lost if it has not been picked up in three months. While most of the contents are tossed or donated, the remainder is popped onto the store's shelves, where you can find everything from diamond rings to designer clothing. One time, a 41-carat emerald which was appraised at $35,000 sold for $17,000, according to Travel & Leisure. If you've lost your luggage, here's what to do next.

Airplane Tray Table on seat back for mockup banner or design advertising on blank area, already closed, copy spaceGuzsudio/Shutterstock

Why are the tray tables so dirty?

Bring your own cleaning wipes for your tray tables, as they're only cleaned once a day typically—and that's only overnight, according to Insider. During flights, food is spilled, drool is drooled, and dirty diapers are changed on those tray tables. Often, they're dirtier than toilet seats, so consider this fair warning. But it's super easy to clean them: bring your own wipe with you. One swipe should be good (while you're at it, you may want to wipe down your seat and armrest too, for good measure). Find out 9 other spots airlines aren't cleaning as well as they should.

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