When we're jetting off on holiday we often get on the plane, order a bottle of wine, turn on a movie and then promptly fall asleep.
But have you ever sat and asked yourself questions about the plane itself? The best place to sit? Why the lights actually have to be dimmed for take-off? Or perhaps you'd like to know the safest airline in the world? Or the biggest cause of inflight fighting?
Some people love tucking into their inflight meal, but many passengers are not overly keen. And it may not be the food's fault after all! Air travel can actually dull our sense of taste by around 30 per cent, making that chicken and rice seem even more boring.
One sensation flying actually heightens though is sexual arousal. Yep. Check out the gallery below to find out why! And discover 18 other strange travel facts you never knew...
Strange facts about air travel that might surprise you
Strange facts about air travel that might surprise you
What gets you most annoyed on a flight? Apparently, 75% of all inflight arguments between adult travellers are a result of economy passengers reclining their seats. Aaaaaannd relax.
You will have noticed that cabin crew regularly offer passengers water. It’s important to keep hydrated and this is why: you can shed up to 1.5 litres of water from your body during an average three-hour flight. Drink up!
Pilots actually have a lot more power than you might think. They’re legally allowed to arrest people (so yo should be on your best behaviour), they can issue fines and they can also even take the will of a dying passenger.
Yes, you read that right. Sometimes people die abroad, a long way from home, or far away from where they want to be buried. Planes can also carry human organs in wooden boxes. If you don’t like the idea of this, fly with an airline like Easyjet that doesn’t carry cargo.
Did you know that the pilot and co-pilot are not allowed to eat the same meal? This is so that if one of them gets food poisoning the other one will be ok. Makes sense, right?
Planes are veritable hotbed of germs, with one study suggesting that 60 per cent of tray tables tested carried the MRSA bug. But the dirtiest part? A study from Aubun University found that the armrest is the number one breeding ground for e. coli, living on them for up to 96 hours. Seatbelt buckles and toilet flushes are also dirty spots.
A study in the journal Advances in Atmospheric Sciences suggests that severe turbulence will become a more common occurrence thanks to climate change altering the jet stream. The research found that light turbulence will increase by 59 per cent, moderate turbulence by 94 per cent, and severe turbulence by 149 per cent. Buckle up!
Statistical analyses of plane crashes have shown that passengers who sit more than five rows away from an exit have a greatly reduced chance of successfully evacuating the plane in an emergency. Another good idea is to count the rows between your seat and an exit so that if visibility is diminished you know where the nearest way out is.
Not to fill you with fear, but the three minutes after take off and last eight minutes before landing are when 80 per cent of plane crashes occur, according to research.`
The white wisps you can see in the sky left by planes are called ‘contrails’ are made of water vapour. Apparently, a thin, shorter-lasting trail indicates low humidity air and finer weather, while a thicker, longer-lasting trail could be early indicators of a storm.
In 1987 American Airlines saved $40,000 by removing one olive from each salad served in first class. Genius.
Only a lift is a safer way of travelling than by air. Yep, really.
In 1977 two planes carrying over 600 passengers collided head on in the middle of the runway in Tenerife. Over 500 people died making it one of the most deadly plane crashes.
Passengers are always asked to turn off their lights when the plane is readying to land in case something bad actually happens during landing passengers’ eyes will already be adjusted to the dark.
The eagle-eyed among you may have noticed a very small hole in the window near the bottom pane. Scratch your head no longer as it’s actually there to regulate cabin pressure. Airplane windows are made up of three panels of acrylic. The outside maintains cabin pressure and keeps the elements at bay. The second pane is there as a fail-safe backup in case something happens to the outside pane, and the tiny hole in the inside pane is there to regulate air pressure and protect the middle pane. Puzzle solved.
Ummm, what? Before you panic, here’s the reason: oxygen masks drop when air plane cabin loses pressure, and this happens when the plane is losing altitude. If this happens, the pilot will look to move the plane to an altitude below 10,000ft, where passengers can breathe without the need for masks. This descent will be fast so 15 minutes of oxygen should be plenty (fingers crossed).
There’s a general consensus that plane food is pretty, well, gross (although not everybody agrees!). There is actually a reason for that which is not the food’s fault - it’s about 30 per cent more difficult to detect sweet and salty tastes when you’re up in the air. Dry and recycled air inside the plane also exacerbates the situation as low humidity can inhibit taste and smell, making the food taste more bland.
Qantas is the second oldest airline in the world (formed in 1920), but most interestingly for us passengers, it also boasts the best safety record with no fatal crashes in its history.
If you’ve ever been tempted to join the mile high club, this might be why: the vibrations of an airplane and the lower oxygen levels can heighten sexual arousal and lead to more intense orgasms. Apparently.