10 Secrets Your Pilot Won’t Tell You

If you’ve ever wondered what your pilot was really thinking, now is your chance to find out. We interviewed real-life pilots and they shared all the secrets you probably should know but were afraid to ask.

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1. "It's one thing if a pilot puts the seat belt sign on for the passengers. But if he tells the flight attendants to sit down, you'd better listen. That means there's some serious turbulence ahead."

 

2. "Is traveling with a baby in your lap safe? No. It's extremely dangerous. If there's any impact or deceleration, there's a good chance you're going to lose hold of your kid, and he becomes a projectile. But the government's logic is that if we made you buy an expensive seat for your baby, you'd just drive, and you're more likely to be injured driving than flying."

3. "If you're going to recline your seat, for God's sake, please check behind you first. You have no idea how many laptops are broken every year by boorish passengers who slam their seat back with total disregard for what's going on behind them."

 

4. "Most of the time how you land is a good indicator of a pilot's skill. So if you want to say something nice to a pilot as you're getting off the plane, say 'Nice landing.' We do appreciate that."

 

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5. "I've been struck by lightning twice. Most pilots have. Airplanes are built to take it. You hear a big boom and see a big flash and that's it. You're not going to fall out of the sky."

6. "Most of you wouldn't consider going down a highway at 60 miles an hour without your seat belt fastened. But when we're hurtling through the air at 500 miles an hour and we turn off the seat belt sign, half of you take your seat belt off. But if we hit a little air pocket, your head will be on the ceiling."

 

7. "The smoothest place to sit is often over or near the wing. The bumpiest place to sit is in the back. A plane is like a seesaw. If you're in the middle you don't move as much."

 

8. "People don't understand why they can't use their cell phones. Well, what happens is 12 people will decide to call someone just before landing, and I can get a false reading on my instruments saying that we are higher than we really are."

 

9. "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."

10. "People tend to think the airplane is just flying itself. Trust me, that's not true. It can fly by itself sometimes. But you've always got your hands on the controls waiting for it to mess up. And it does mess up."