What only pilots know

I'm always flying around the world. Just a quick trip to Mallorca or Australia, which is 26 hours away. But no matter how often you fly, the airplane and the life of an aviator always remain a mystery. There really are that many Affairs between pilots and stewardesses? What happens to my toilet contents? And what does the crew do if a passenger suddenly lets their pants down during the flight? In order to have a full view of your next flight, I have 10 things for you who probably didn't know yet.

Mystery airplane - you didn't know these 10 things yet

I've talked to some flight experts and I can tell you: there is nothing on an airplane that does not exist. I didn't know about contagious diseases, exhibitionists, the big question about the taste of tomato juice and many other things. But read for yourself ...

1. Exhibitionist and swine flu on board - what to do?

I've already seen some weird things on my air travel, but what reader and former flight attendant Nadine told me is really amazing:

“At first I didn't notice anything because I was working in the front cabin. We flew back to Düsseldorf from Fuerteventura. After an hour in the air, my colleague came to us from behind and said: "At the emergency exit there is someone who has his pants on and is playing with his thing. “Of course we cracked loudly. "We've already put the people next to him, but he's still playing with his thing." I had never seen anything like it. Of course, I couldn't miss it and took an urgent walk into the back galley.

I located the man sitting alone at the rear emergency exit. We informed the captain, who came out of the cockpit and asked about the situation. “I think we shouldn't talk to him, who knows what he's going to do. Maybe he'll freak out. We'll leave him alone and I'll inform them police in Düsseldorf. ”The captain is in charge of any situation that poses a danger to passengers and crew. That's how we did it, flew on and landed in Düsseldorf. Several police cars were already parked at our parking position. The front passengers were surprised, of course, but we were not instructed to say anything about the Exhibitionists don't be alarmed. Everyone had to stay seated, the police got on the back of the plane and pulled the man tightly out of the plane. As soon as the police left, the captain made an announcement: “As you may have heard, the police just had to escort a passenger off board. Unfortunately, he said he would let his best piece peek out during the flight. But nobody was harmed, except for the eyes of the colleague. Now it can go on. Have a nice evening and thank you for the entertaining flight. ”The laughter was of course great.

Another situation I remember well was the swine flu era. I suspected it twice Swine flu. I was on the first plane that was suspected of having landed in Düsseldorf. During the return flight from Mallorca, our colleagues told us that there were three young men sitting in the back with a bad cold. I didn't think anything at first, but apparently there was an instruction that any colds must be reported at the airport. After landing in Düsseldorf, we were met by several police and ambulance vehicles. The captain made the announcement that we are not allowed to leave the plane for the time being. After an hour we should open the front door and let three men in Michelin suitSo with a protective suit, glasses, gloves, etc., got on the plane. The three men with a cold were escorted from the plane, some tests were done and 3.5 hours later we were able to leave the plane. We were not allowed to fly for a week due to a possible infection with swine flu. Fortunately, I had nothing both times. "

2. What does the crew do before the flight?

The crew meets one and a half hours before the scheduled departure and exchanges necessary information about the flight - "Briefing" called. Weather, passenger numbers, disabled guests who are brought onto the plane before everyone else or children who fly alone. At large airports, the crew usually don't know each other, at smaller airports, for example in Düsseldorf, most of them know each other. In order to be able to rely on each other in an emergency, short scenarios are occasionally discussed and processes are queried. If a crew member cannot answer questions, he could even be dropped off from the flight.

After the briefing, the crew is taken to the plane by bus. The co-pilot disappears into the cockpit and the captain makes a tour around the outside of the aircraft to check the turbines and tires, the outer casing of the aircraft and small holes in the aircraft's nose for ice. The flight attendants check the equipment inside: kitchen, emergency exits, telephones, lifeboats, medical equipment. Did you know that there is also a Ax and handcuffs on board? Well hidden, of course - but if there is a dangerous object in the lining of the inner aircraft wall, the wall can be broken open with an ax and the object removed. The handcuffs on board are intended to be used in the event of an aggressive, dangerous passenger. During their training, the flight attendants learn various moves with which people can be overwhelmed. The handcuffs secure the person until the plane is on the ground. After the aircraft equipment has been checked, the food comes on board and possible disabled people or children traveling alone. There are various checklists in the cockpit that the pilots have to go through. By the way, there is a list for every possible situation on the ground or in the air that the pilots have to work through. When everything is already there, the newspapers are out and the smile is on, boarding begins.

3rd flight attendant debut: "The first night belongs to the captain!"

It is a long way to the caring flight attendant who takes care of our ailments with application processes, training and test flights. On these flights, the budding flight attendant is explained and shown everything and is welcomed in a very funny way by the entire crew. Nadine can still work closely with hers Debut recall:

“We stood in at the airport Mallorca, the outward flight went smoothly. I had heard of a few stories in advance of how new flight attendants were being fooled. Some should be sent to row 13 with a glass of water (row 13 is not on any aircraft); or someone had to stand next to the treadmill and count the suitcases that were loaded onto the plane. Another colleague of mine was told on her test flight that the first night belonged to the captain. It goes without saying. Of course, she couldn't believe it, but the entire crew played along and it seemed so convincing that Saskia knocked on the captain's door in the hotel that evening. The whole crew then stood in the room and laughed their way out. But my debut was no less bad. My crew prepared the plane for the return flight and the captain took me to the outside check of the plane.

In a yellow vest we walked around the plane while he took everything under the microscope and explained to me. Back on the plane, I did my chores and greeted the passengers who were just getting on until the captain ordered me into the cockpit: "I totally forgot to check the lights on the front of the plane. Could you just do that quickly? ”Yeah, sure, I thought, we're going to land at night, then of course the lights have to be checked. As proud as Bolle, on behalf of the captain, I took my yellow vest, ran to the aircraft field and stood 30 meters in front of the aircraft. The captain told me that he would turn on the lights and depending on which light was on I should wave my arms. As soon as I stood there, it started: right light, right arm. Left light, left arm. Front right, right arm forward. The lights went on and off every 5 seconds. After he turned on all the lights once, a whole started Light concert. Front and right. Front and left. Left and right. And the whole thing every second, so fast that I could hardly keep up.

A good 30 seconds later the lights went out, the captain showed me his thumb and I proudly showed it back. Of course, I had no idea that there was anything unusual about this situation. I marched up the stairs. My colleague was already standing at the door with a big grin and I was just like: “What is it?” As soon as I got on the plane, the captain made an announcement: “That was our new flight attendant Nadine, who just checked the lights for you. Applause please. ”While I was gone, the captain had them Video camera switched on and transferred to all screens on the plane, every guest could follow my contribution. "

4. What happens before I get in?

They are always beaming with joy at the aircraft door with their perfectly made-up exteriors, ironed blouses, polished shoes and teeth. Everyone receives a friendly “hello” and directions to their seat. But the position at the front of the door is extremely unpopular with flight attendants. 100, 200 or even 300 guests must be greeted individually and want to feel personally addressed. For this reason, there are usually the youngest flight attendants who were the last to start with the airline. During the pre-flight briefing, the various positions in the cabin are distributed. The flight attendant with the highest seniority, i.e. who has worked for the airline the longest, is allowed to vote first and usually takes a seat in the rear cabin - far away from the “purser”, the cabin manager. The young flight attendants then only remain in the front positions. Not only is it unpopular because of the 300 greetings, but the toddlers sit here and the laws of the purser apply in the galley.

5. Captain and stewardess - the sex cliché

What is going on in the plane or in the hotels between pilots and flight attendants is only known from countless rumors. My reader and former flight attendant Nadine told me how it really works: “At smaller airports, such as Düsseldorf or Dortmund, colleagues usually know each other, so rarely short-lived affairs arise. Also, the two airports rarely fly to long-haul destinations where the crew is accommodated in a hotel for several days - there is not much going on. It looks different at large airports, for example in Frankfurt or Munich.

Every week you meet new colleagues with whom you spend several days on the road. It's pretty much going on there. In the evening in the hotel they first eat together, then the cocktails come, the sympathies rise and the inhibitions are gone. Many pilots or flight attendants are married or have a partner, but our motto is: What happens in the hotel stays in the hotel. Sex on the plane I didn't notice it myself, by the way, but heard quite a bit. "

6. How do pilots and flight attendants sleep?

Breaks for the crew are regulated by collective bargaining agreements and depend on the duration of the flight. On short and medium-haul flights, pilots and flight attendants rest in the galley when the time is right. You must be able to get some sleep on a long-haul flight. From a flight of about 11 hours there are usually three pilots in the cockpit. At least one pilot must always have an overview of everything in the cockpit. The pilots like to lie down in the to sleep first classif there is still a free space there. The flight attendants, on the other hand, don't always have it so well. If the machine is not fully booked, the back rows can be blocked and the flight attendants can alternate between resting on the seats behind a curtain or sleeping a little. Only the well-known airlines, such as Lufthansa or Emirates, offer the crews on the long-haul aircraft a "Crew rest". This is either a kind of container that is in the hold and is accessible via a staircase from the passenger cabin. Or a staircase leads from the rear galley over the cabin, where there is sleeping space for up to ten employees. You have to imagine it like a ship's bunk with a narrow bed and light.

7. Ding-dongs - which dong means danger?

During the flight you can hear this thing-dong from all over the place. However, this tone is a simple thing. Ding-dongs that sound twice in a row mean a call on the Car phone. The crew exchanges information over the phone, passes on orders or quietly blaspheme passengers. But watch out if the ding-dong comes three times in a row. Most of the time, that means there is a problem. The extent of this will then be discussed on the phone. A passenger could be unconscious, a cable could burn or the cockpit announces a landing problem. But don't worry, that really rarely happens.

8. Mystery of tomato juice

Why do you enjoy drinking tomato juice on the plane? I did some research and there are different theories. Many say it just tastes much better. This is actually scientifically confirmed. With the low air pressure in the aircraft, the so-called odor and taste threshold rises - herbs, spices, salt and sugar have to be dosed higher in order to be perceived. You smell the food and drinks as if you had a cold. Salt is tasted 20 to 30 percent less, sugar 15 to 20 percent less intense. And voilà, the otherwise boring tomato juice becomes a Taste experience.

Another theory: the increased need for fluid in dry aircraft air. If you are very thirsty, you drink a lot and more variedly, the spicy juice also replenishes a few mineral stores and at the same time gives the impression that you have not only drunk, but also eaten a little something.

9. What's at the end of the aircraft toilet?

Airplane toilets are not beautiful, not comfortable, and they rarely smell good. But when the need is great, there is no alternative. Schhhh Flupp - and what was just in the toilet is gone. But how does the flush work and what happens to my leftovers? Because of the lack of weight, water cannot be used for rinsing in the aircraft - the alternative: a so-called Vacuum toilet. If you press the flush, a valve opens and sucks in the toilet contents using negative pressure - like a vacuum cleaner. The faeces are stored in a tank in the belly of the aircraft and picked up and disposed of by a special vehicle at the destination airport.

Chemical additives in the tank are necessary to prevent excrement from sticking to the tank. The environmental compatibility of the disposal is controversial, however, scientists are already researching a new additional liquid that can then be routed normally into the local sewer. By the way: don't worry, you cannot be sucked in by the suction of the toilet.

10. Discounts for airline employees - For € 40 to New York

Of course, I have the best job in the world as your holiday guru. But what I've now found out about airline employees makes me green with envy. Pilots, flight attendants, almost all airline employees fly and vacation at extremely discounted prices. As a crew member you can for 10% of the usual ticket price fly with your own or a cooperating airline. The ticket is called a “stand-by ticket”, which means that you do not get a firmly booked seat, but can only fly if there is still a free seat. However, it is almost always available, as Nadine told me: “Either you get a normal seat or, if everything is full, you can sit on a“ jump seat ”, which is additional seats next to the flight attendants in the cabin or in the cabin Cockpit. ”For € 40 she already flew one-way to New York for € 60 to Los Angeles and Mombasa. "If you register your significant other with the airline, they can fly for 10%, family members and friends fly for 25%." In addition to cheap flights, there are also very special websites on which airline employees can get special offers from hotels. “A few years ago I flew to Mombasa for € 60 and stayed there in a breathtaking four-star hotel for € 20 a night. But then I had to pay for the safari as normal. "

However, different requirements apply here, and every airline does it a little differently. Some family members and friends are more lucky than others.