Have you ever wondered if airlines have any secrets they keep from passengers? Well, if you have, you're in luck because this Reddit user asked airline employees just that, and they delivered great and kind of concerning answers. Apparently, airlines hide more things than you would think: from not tracking aircraft movements to airplanes still flying with parts missing.
With so many people flying planes these days, it's quite crazy to think that these facts are not well known. However, if people were aware of them, most would probably choose other travel options. These stories might freak you out, even if you're not a nervous flyer.
So if you're interested to learn more about aircraft, airports, and the weirdest airline secrets being kept from you, keep scrolling! And if these are not enough, check out the previous article we did on this topic here.
#1That there's a huge list of things that can be missing from the aircraft while still being allowed to fly.
Image credits: unimproved
#2If you checked your Dog there's about a 30% chance it's terrified before it even gets on the plane, who knows how scared it gets during the actual flight. Bag room agents will usually try to comfort a scared animal, but all we can really do is talk to it, so if you write your pet's name on their carrier it usually helps a lot.
I've never seen a cat who was scared in the bag room, cats don't give a f**k.
Image credits: RabbitMix
#3Not a secret, just common sense; the reason some bags miss their flight or get misrouted is because passengers don't remove old tags. It confuses handlers as well as the conveyor belt scanners. I see it happen all the time.
Image credits: -aurelius
#4People fake needing a wheel chair to gain boarding priority. 10 wheelchairs get on and olny 1 person needs it getting off. We call um miracle flights.
Image credits: tagt8er
#5Almost every commercial flight you ride on has a dead body on board. Possibly 2 if you're on a wide body (large) air craft.
Image credits: mm_cake
#6Paramedic here. If you switch on your alarm lights on the ambulance while being on the inner field of the airport (because...well you just get there sometimes) they will totally shut down all incoming and outgoing flights until they know exactly what's going on.
My Buddy learned this the hard way. Needless to say people got mad at him...
Image credits: Ne0nN00dle
#7My partner worked for Delta for about 4 years as one of the guys who loads and unloads your luggage and waves wands. Nothing is safe in those bags. They pop open all the time and your s**t just gets haphazardly shoved back in. They get tossed around like volleyballs. TSA is a lie. A lot of decisions about boarding or switching flights, ect., are at employees discretion.
Image credits: partyintheUSSR
#8The coffee is absolutely disgusting because the no one washes the container that goes out every morning. The station agents who get paid way too little don't give a s**t about cleaning it. I certainly didn't when I worked for AA.
Also, because we weren't given the proper supplies to clean it. We pretty much just rinsed it out and dumped coffee into it.
Be nice to the ticket agent and they will pretty much always let you get away with overweight bags. If you were funny, I'd even not charge you for bags.
Image credits: WorseToWorser
#9Αerospace fastener production here. Nobody еver asks what is actually holding thе plane together. Don't worry аbout it.
Image credits: edwardshinyskin
#10Employees and their families get "ID tickets" (ID is for "industry discount"), which means they only pay taxes and fees and nothing for the actual ticket.
The airlines basically lets them fly for free. And not just with their own airline, but with every airline in any alliance. The tickets are stand-by tickets, so you're not guaranteed to get on board, but you get a seat more often than not. The family members can travel on these tickets without the employee.
My dad worked for an airline in Star Alliance, so I used to get free tickets with airlines in One World and SkyTeam as well as Star Alliance. I usually traveled in business class, all around the world. A return trip between Europe and Japan was something like 200 USD in business class, and maybe 50 USD in economy.
I don't get any perks anymore, as it was only valid until I turned 25.
Image credits: kjerstih
#11As shown in some movies like Executive Decision and Passenger 57, there is a secret hatch on every plane that allows people to travel freely throughout the aircraft.
Also, Wade Boggs once drank 50 beers on a cross-country flight and then absolutely destroyed the Seattle Mariners the next day.
Image credits: jatefromstakefarm
#12You know how all the other armrests can be raised except for the one next to the aisle?
Turns out that one can be raised as well via a small button in a divot on the underside of the armrest. Useful if you want to spread out a bit more, though some flight attendants may tell you to put it back in place.
Image credits: Goat_Porker
#13There is a small latch hidden inside the lavatory sign on the bathroom door, which will open the door when pulled, even when it's locked. Airplane Peekaboo!
EDIT: I don't work for the airlines. Credit for this goes to [The Oatmeal](http://theoatmeal.com/comics/airplane_peekaboo).
Image credits: anony_meows
#14There is no philange.
Image credits: WtfBobo
#15If you're European you have really, really good consumer protection against delays, cancellations etc.
If you're more than three hours late, your compensation starts at 250 euros, and goes up depending on the length of your flight and the length of the delay.
When I went to London a few years ago, my flight was overbooked, so I got bumped to a flight fours hours later. The compensation I got was more than the ticket I bought...round trip.
Image credits: ScuttleSE
#16On larger aircraft, there are secret compartments where your cabin crew and flight crew are able to get much needed rest. [This is the flight crew rest on a Boeing 777 and it's located above the ceiling of the first class cabin.](http://i.imgur.com/vDBMa0s.jpg) There are two beds behind the seats as well as [personal entertainment screens for each seat.](http://imgur.com/LcRRLDJ) [This the the cabin crew rest of a Boeing 787 located above the economy class.](http://imgur.com/pG7n4eu) Older Boeing aircraft have crew rest areas within the passenger cabin and I've been told some Airbuses have crew rests under the floor.
Image credits: FORDxGT
#17ALL airline employees fly standby for free. Gate agents, rampers, mechanics... if they're an employee for the airline they get unlimited free standby. So does their spouse/parents/children.
Any time you're at the gate and you see a list of standby passengers, chances are they're an airline employee.
Also, you'd be surprised by how much stuff actually breaks on an airplane. (Hint: A lot)
Most of the broken stuff is insignificant, but every once in a while something big (Like an APU, or a flight computer, or the autopilot) will break and the mechanics defer it to get the aircraft airborne. It's not *unsafe*, it's just more work for the pilots usually.
Image credits: NOT_AN_FAA_INSPECTOR
#18This one is pretty much on its way out as a 'secret' nowadays, but: There really is no good reason passengers need to switch off mobile devices during takeoff and landing.
The frequencies used combined with the lack of signal power in the antennae of consumer grade mobile devices means there is 0% chance of them ever interfering with the plane's sensors and instruments in any way whatsoever.
This has been tested ad nauseam since the beginning of aviation/mobile communication technology, and it has NEVER shown to be a problem.
Image credits: TychoErasmusBrahe
#19I work Revenue Management for an airline. On average, the cheapest time to BUY a ticket is Tuesday afternoon. The cheapest time to FLY is Tuesday, Wednesday, or Saturday. This applies to US flights in my experience.
Image credits: Drama__Llama
#20When flying overseas there are generally no systems tracking the movement of your aircraft for several thousand miles i.e. how they go missing.
Image credits: brahlicious
#21If you check a skateboard by just slapping a sticker on it, it will get ridden or used as a dolly.
Image credits: -aurelius
#22I am a gate agent for a large airline.
1 there's very little I know that I don't share with passengers during a delay. If the crew tells me the maintenance issue, I'll pass that on. I'm not hiding information from you.
2 I do fly for free, a lot. I know the major airports very well. So when you come up to my podium and argue with me that the 1/2 hour connection you booked yourself isn't going to be long enough I'm going to roll my eyes and explain that yes, yes it is. If you want time to leisurely enjoy an airport, book flights with longer connections.
3 The FAA/DOT are up the airlines asses about everything, from the handling of passengers with disabilities to how many delays we have. For this reason we take extra precautions to not have any violations, some of which I can be held personally responsible for
4 EVERYONE ON THE PLANE ARRIVES AT THE SAME TIME. SEATS ARE ASSIGNED. SO WHY ON GODS GREEN EARTH ARE YOU ALL CROWDING THE PODIUM TAKE A FREAKING STEP BACK. seriously. if you're worried about getting a space for your carry-on stop packing your carry on so full! If it doesn't fit due to bins being full I'll check it through for free
5 yes the ramp crew in the jet bridge are checking you out. they're usually nice guys/gals. you could do worse.
Image credits: departuregate
#23Sometimes your pilot can be on food stamps because they only make 19k/yr.
Baggage handlers see hundreds of bags a day. No bag is treated special, unless it is OBVIOUS. Even then, depending on the person, sometimes they're not (which is rare). Bags are not intentionally harmed. They are, however, intentionally thrown, slid, jostled, stacked under hundreds of pounds of other bags, and exposed to the elements because that is the nature of the job. You can safely assume that your bag is touched and handled by at least 7-8 people, per flight segment, if you are connecting, at least 10 different people, not including TSA.
Sometimes, the vehicle that fills the potable water for washing hands and making coffee is parked next to the vehicle that is used to dump the shitters and fill the blue juice for the lavs. They're not supposed to. Sometimes, they're parked at a distance from each other, which is policy, yet the guy who is filling the water is using gloves that he hasn't changed in over 2 years.
The most power you could
probably wield is twitter. The employee in front of you has so little power to actually remedy tough situations. Baggage handlers are usually short staffed. As well, customer service agents are usually limited in their options. Also, it would help us get a message to higher ups because our work is not being supported as it should be. Hell, I'd even recommend asking an employee about the problem and say something like, "if I were to take my complaint to twitter, how could I phrase it in a way that would help you too?"
You get more customer protections buying directly from the airline. All those third party travel sites are owned by the same company, and you lose a lot of the rights afforded to you in the airlines contract of carriage.
If you're nice to people, they'll be nice back to you.
Image credits: Mudbutt7
#24Flight attendants have a list of who is who and what seat they are in. As well as what level of frequent flyer they happen to be. Or if they are employees or family and friends tickets. This is why you will see them being rude to someone or bending over backwards for jerks.
Flights are routinely overbooked because there's a estimate per route of what percentage of people tend to miss the flight. So if you don't have a seat assignment, you might not get on. Which is why they ask for volunteers. If you are a frequent flyer and know the busy times and flights you could volunteer all day from every flight going to a hub and make $1,000 in credit.
Invest in quality luggage. You are the only one that handles your bag with care. Your bag is going to take a beating in the system.
Edit: Wow this got a lot of attention. Yes I know Southwest FAs don't have a list of who is sitting where. Obviously. I have to say to any redditors out there, if you get a chance to work for an airline, take it! It was a great experience in my early 20s. Even while going to college on my days off, I was also able to fly around the world for free. I can't recommend it enough. Sure there are plenty of bad experiences like getting yelled at all day long by irrational and irate passengers whose flight you just cancelled after you had them wait for hours. Or dumping the lav on a windy day. Or knowing you're walking into a very bad day of work just because the weather is bad in your city or wherever your flights are coming from. They pay isn't great but if you enjoy traveling, work for an airline!
Image credits: paradoxofchoice
#25Worked at multiple airports as a consultant and this is common at almost all I've worked at.
Mechanics love to take their coffee breaks right behind the security checkpoint. This is where you will see women in a rush with their outermost garments off and bending over to put their shoes back on. The "jackpots" are passengers that didn't know a sweater or hoodie they are wearing had to come off until they are told to remove it by the TSA, so they have very little underneath.
I wasn't part of this so don't downvote me. Just telling the tales of the trade.
Image credits: tcpip1
#26Former ramper here. The amount of graffiti on the inside of airplane cargo bins is absurd
Image credits: shakin_the_bacon
#27Ramp agent currently bored and eating breakfast in the bagroom here. If passengers are deplaning and we've already downloaded the aircraft then I know two guys who will go hang out on the jetbridge and see who can find the hottest passenger. Theres a lot passengers probably don't notice or know about those dudes on the ground tossing bags around
Image credits: dracula8568
#28Flying at dawn and dusk and generally at night is pretty dangerous. These are the times that wildlife moves around a lot and has the highest strikes on aircraft. I always fly middle of the day because of this. You know those flocks of starlings that can be massive? Well even though airplanes are built to take hits from birds these can damage a plane because of how dense they are. Geese took down the plane Sully was flying and that was just a few birds. Planes have hit elk on the runway while landing and completely destroyed the plane (everyone got off and lived). People taking over a plane don't scare me, a goose does.
#29I work for a company that delivers the luggage the airlines lose, so not really for airlines per se, but I can tell you these things:
Airlines lose way more luggage than you realize. Seriously. Whenever there's a delay, or a cancellation, or bad weather, whatever, we end up with hundreds (yes, hundreds) of bags that we need to deliver just for the area we cater to (the south east US from LA to MS). Bags that are lost most often are duffel bags and awkwardly shaped or extremely heavy bags. If your bag doesn't fit conveniently into the Tetris-style arrangement the airline employees have going on wherever they put the bags, you're probably going to have to wait to get it.
Southwest is run by d***s. Just saying. We get more cash on delivery bags (meaning that the passenger is paying to have the bag delivered, NOT Southwest) from them than any other airline we have a contract with.
Also, DON'T PUT YOUR IMPORTANT MEDICATIONS IN YOUR CHECKED LUGGAGE! Just don't do it! You should EXPECT that your bag will get lost, and prepare accordingly, whether that means having a supply of meds on your carry on, or leaving a few days' worth of medications at home.
#30If you knock twice, then twice again the cockpit will open.
Image credits: Xeccution
#31Airlines doesn't charge large or overweight people extra because they make the plane heavier, or because they hate fat people or whatever.
They do it because you are a security risk.
Image credits: Theartofdodging
#32When the drink cart is coming through, you can ask for a full can of pop instead of the tiny little cup filled with mostly ice.
#33There are a number of tools out there to help you have a good flight experience:
[Seat Guru](http://www.seatguru.com/) will give you information on seat selection so you know if your seat has a misaligned window or extra legroom, etc.
[Route Happy](https://www.routehappy.com/) aggregates some key factors aggregating data on aircraft type, seat pitch, on-board entertainment, connections, etc to help you select a good flight.
[Flight Stats](http://www.flightstats.com/go/FlightRating/flightRatingByRoute.do) has data including information on the historical on-time performance of your flight.
Some fun airline websites include:
[Flight Radar 24](http://www.flightradar24.com/) which shows you all flights in the air around the world. You can click on a plane to see its origin and destination. You can filter by airport to see all flights headed to/from your city. It's a lot of fun to play around with.
[Airline Empires](http://www.airline-empires.com/) is a web game that lets you run your own airline deciding where to open routes, how to price them, what aircraft to purchase, etc. and compete against other real people running their fictional airlines.
#34I was flying to a wedding and my flight was canceled. I needed to get to the destination at a specific time to catch a boat to get to the wedding, which was very important to me. All flights were sold out. I placed a call to a high up friend. They called me back and said go to this unmarked door in the airport and knock.
I do this and behind the door is a full room of people and computers. I state my name and they ask what flight and where I want to sit. I see their screen and ask for an aisle. They literally randomly pick a person and kick them OFF the plane and put me there. They print me a boarding pass and say do not check in with the gate agent prior to boarding.
Apparently this happens often for famous people, athletes, etc. etc.
I actually felt pretty bad, but made it to the wedding on time.
#35Flight crews will have meetings before flights, where they discuss things like flying conditions, weather at the destination, alternate runways, etc. This usually takes five minutes. Whatever time is left before the flight, they talk about whatever they want.
Some of them talk about how drunk they plan on getting later, how hot the flight attendants are, stories about passengers, and so on. Others choose to talk about hypothetical situations, like what would they do if the plot of the movie Non-Stop happened on the plane.
Also, there's a very good chance that if you wear a skirt onto a plane, a rampie is standing under the bridge looking up it. Just something to keep in mind, ladies.
#36Stewardess stopped giving a s**t a long time ago.
If people knew how planes are held together they wouldn't feel safe even though they totally are. Planes are actually pretty strong m***********s that can fly in a middle of a hurricane (of course most don't take the chance because it is still a f****n hurricane you know).
#37I worked for a US regional for a few years in various departments. Here's some s**t:
* If your flight is delayed or cancelled for things that cause the airline to be at fault, the airline is responsible for accommodating you. For example, they cancel the last flight out to your destination because the pilot called in sick, they now have to get you a hotel for the night and rebook you on the first flight out the next day. However, things that they aren't at fault for, like weather, ATC system delays, etc, they don't accommodate you. We ran very old aircraft that would constantly break down and cancel tons of flights, but we would routinely blame cancellations on "ATC" or "en route weather" because the passengers don't know the difference and not only do we not have to accommodate them, now we can charge rebooking fees.
* Don't spend a lot of money on your luggage. Buy something that is cheap but durable. Those plastic-ish ones are the best in my opinion. Any kind of soft material will be destroyed by the rampies (guys who load the planes). Especially if they have *FRAGILE* written on them, they will toss them and drop them on purpose.
* If you ever hear a gate agent or flight attendant say "delta-bravo", that's phonetic for the letters DB. You might hear the gate say to the crew, "We have a delta bravo in one-one-charlie." Look over and see who's sitting in seat 11C, yeah that's the douchebag they're referring to.
* The stuff other people said about traveling is absolutely true. It is hands down the best perk of any job around. I went from the US to Italy for $54 round trip. Almost went to Dubai but that fell through, but it would have been $36 round trip. Tokyo was also $36. Anywhere in the U.S. was free. I've been around the world and back, i wouldn't change a thing if I could do it all over again.
#38Used to be an ATC. I know some horror stories about controllers who have cracked. Also about a time both the pilot and co pilot fell asleep at the controls. Post 9/11 so the rest of the flight staff couldn't get into the cockpit to wake them.
#39Not particularly a secret but one time I was upgraded to business class on a plane that was delayed for maintenance. Just settling into my middle row/aisle seat up at the movie screen/bulkhead when a hatch in the floor of the cabin right at my feet flipped open and the maintenance engineer climbed up. He had a clipboard of paperwork for the pilot to sign, then climbed back into his hole, tipping his hat to the passengers before closing the hatch over his head. If you look for it you can see a recessed pull ring in the cabin floor in front of the first row seats behind cockpit.
757 wide body I think.
Yeah, yeah I get it 757 is narrow body. That was the I think. Must have been a 767 then as was before 777s started flying
#40Worked on military aircraft but it's something I've noticed pretty universal about jet engines in general: you have your auxiliary engine that runs while the aircraft is parked, providing power, hydraulics, ac, etc while you're at the terminal. When getting ready to depart, you turn on your main engines. It takes a lot of power to get them started. As such, most of the auxiliary power goes to starting the engines. This is the point where usually you may see the lights flicker, and you will hear the whine of the main engines start up. The environmental control unit (or whatever they want to call it), stops cycling air during this start sequence.
Without fail, if you watch for it, numerous hands will stick up and check or adjust the air conditioning vents as this happens. The air will kick back on when the engines are up and running.
Edit: okay, TIL (and had forgotten), jet engines use pneumatic power to start engines. I worked on jet turbines for turboprop. I have my manuals in storage, so I can't completely erase all doubt, but I do believe we used a hydraulically actuated starter.
#41I'm an outstation mechanic for multiple airlines. I cover all flights at a major US city airport--by myself. Where to start? If your flight has a maintenance delay and there is no on station mechanics for that carrier I get called. If it's a quick fix, I fix it. If not we check to see if it can be deferred to get fixed later. Either way, most of your delay is spent waiting on me to do all the paperwork to clear the aircraft or for me to finish the other seven calls I'm out on to get to your plane. There is also constant pressure on both me and the pilots to clear/fly aircraft that have some fairly significant problems. I have airlines try to get me to sell some pretty sketchy stuff to the pilots to get them to fly and avoid a costly delay. I have no problems telling a pilot to call his controllers/dispatchers and tell them to f**k off if I'm not comfortable with whatever concoction of deferral action I was asked to perform. Don't get me wrong, the airlines would never willingly fly an unsafe aircraft. But if there is say an engine vibration that is just right at a c**t hair under the limit they will fly it. If the oil is super low but servicing it will cause a delay--service it at the next stop. If the pilot encounters something at altitude that I can't duplicate on the ground--sign it off and see if it happens again. Those are the ones I usually push back on depending what it is. Also, if you have to get out of your seat so a mechanic can fix something don't b***h about it. I get harassed all the time by passengers even though my sole purpose is to get them in the air. Besides, I tell gate agents all the time not to load pax until I get out there but they never listen so go b***h at them. This is turning into a soapbox so I will stop.
#42Locks on zippered bags are useless. You can pop a zipper with a pen and drag the locked zipper pulls around the bag to close them back up. I've done this many times to identify bags that are tagless and locked.
Edit: [Exactly like this.](http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tbpKhHwwtiY&t=0m46s) Thanks /u/adma1987.
Image credits: nunswithknives
#43A little late, but oh well.
I used to work for a major airline in Philadelphia International (PHL). Theft amongst workers is horrible. Workers would open suitcases while inside the cargo area, waiting for the next cart of bags to pull up. They'd rummage through and find small electronics to take.
This wasn't something that only happened a few times, there was at least one guy on every team that did it. I reported a few people, but the bosses didn't care. Eventually, I got into a position where I could direct which employee did what and I kept the bad ones out of the plane.
Some workers would walk around the break rooms trying to sell what they just stole, some traded items, and others took them home.
Always keep valuables in your carry on. If possible, don't even check a bag.
#44My horse loves to fly! Most people don't know but on the big jets that fly overseas, especially KLM to Amsterdam, the plane is only about 1/2 - 3/4 full of people. The wall across the back has a door and the horses are in containers on the other side. The owners/riders/trainers sit in the back row for access. There is a jump seat next to the door and a KLM horse attendant sits there as well. When the Olympic team flew a few years ago there were lots of horses so they rented an entire Fed Ex plane. Most of them do very well and don't mind at all. Sometimes take off and landing is hard for them because of the G force and they sit down, but they go right back to eating after. Here are a few pics from our most recent trip...
1st pic is after a 8 hr drive to JFK Airport. We wait for about 6-8 hrs in a hangar for a mandatory, rest period, vet exam and paperwork. Then they are loaded into containers which roll and lock into the floor of the plane. The people go through security while the horses are loaded in the side door (pic 2) Then it's lots of hay and cookies for the in-flight service until they land and we all go through customs and they have another vet exam. Then we get on a truck and go to the farm. The total cost is $3800 for my seat, the horse, and customs. Depending on where you go and how long determines the quarantine period. Quarantine , pre flight paperwork, and trailering to and from airport can cost as much as $5000 extra.
#45Ex-F/O here... you wouldn't believe how often airlines will load big bags full of cash into the cockpit or in the front hold of the aircraft. It's usually to pay off a plane charter, or the takings of the previous sectors duty-free... but often, we will have between £10-100k in cash sat next to the S/O in a nice little bag handed put there by the ground crew.
EDIT: F/O = First officer. S/O = second officer. Every A380 flies with an S/O. Paying off plane charter means some times cash is given from one agency or airline sharing the flight if they do not wish to bank transfer to be handed directly to management (Assuming your flight is heading to a cash counting office or head quarters). Previous duty free takings is the money made on the previous flights for that day (assuming you're on the last leg of the day, or conversely the first of the following day). Many reasons for cash rather than bank transfer = liquidity, immune to losses against bank forex rates (remember most of the large companies have future options to cash rather than pay a local bank an on-the-day spot (exchange rate).
#46OK, here goes!
1. Don't pack your bags so full that they're round. Not only because the zipper will pop, but also because sometimes they roll off the belt loader right onto the tarmac.
2. really slick hard sided bags tend to fly off of the "stack" in the "pit" when the plane lands, sending your bag flying 80mph into a wall of the pit. Wonder how your wheel got broken? Fabric bags are better, because friction.
3. speaking of which, we don't cover broken handles, zippers, or wheels.
4. we learn which bags suck and which bags don't. Dakine and Osprey are some of the best. Louis Vuitton bags break just like anything else. Look for bags with recessed wheels. Also look for bags with side handles that are easy for a gloved hand to grab, and your bag will get treated better than ones that don't.
5. Rolling duffle bags are annoying. They roll down the belt loader on their own, often either onto the tarmac or right into a ramper's crotch.
6. If you miss your flight, we don't have to rebook you, but we do as a courtesy. If you come back within 2 hours we'll put you on the next available flight. This is called the flat tire rule.
7. Cargo is more important than you. We will take passengers off before cargo. Most of our cargo is important medical stuff.
8. Many of us work part time, just for the flight benefits, and are smart, successful people with businesses, degrees, etc who just want to travel for free. So don't treat us like a moron (even though we're getting paid barely more than minimum wage).
9. we didn't lose your bag. we are just taking your bag claim for you.
10. If you wait to check in, you're more likely to get an upgraded seat when you check in last minute, because likely only upgraded seats that nobody wants to pay for are available. You also run the risk of not getting a seat at all though if it's an oversold flight.
11. We really can't tell you if your 97 year old grandmother is on the flight or not. We can't disclose anything about the manifest.
12. We can't control the weather. We wish we could. We know you PAID FOR YOUR TICKET and you HAVE TO BE ON THIS FLIGHT, but the category 5 hurricane says otherwise.
13. Your pilot might be getting paid less than an elementary school bus driver. For real.
14. Only drink coffee on aircraft that have the coffee maker on board. Otherwise it's questionable.
#47Decided to make a throwaway for this even though I'm really late and this will probably go unnoticed. I work for American Airlines as a station agent - meaning I do everything from ticket counter to the gate to baggage service - and there's honestly not much that hasn't been mentioned in this thread but I've got a few things.
* Checking in on a kiosk will give you a higher boarding priority as opposed to checking in with an agent. If you check in at the kiosk, you get group 2 boarding. If you check in with an agent, you get group 3. You will even get an option on the kiosk to upgrade your boarding group to group 1 for about $15, which is something an agent can't do at the counter. And no, I don't have any way of changing your group number for any reason.
* Contrary to popular belief, we aren't trying to give you a hard time about your carry-on bag during boarding. If we ask you to try your bag in the sizer, just do it -- it takes five seconds! I understand that there's a big problem with consistency across the system so some bigger bags will make it on board in one city but get checked at the gate on the way back. It's honestly really hard to catch every single bag when you're boarding 160 people. However, if it doesn't fit easily into the sizer, it will not fit easily into the overhead bin. If you force your bag in and break the bin, that's a canceled flight + a $10,000 fine from the FAA towards the airline and the station for letting your fat bag get through in the first place!
* On the same note, it's a complimentary check at the gate for your carry-on. That doesn't mean sneak a checked-bag sized bag to the gate to get it checked for free (I've seen this happen). Also, don't whine to me about how it fit on the way down. You are bound to add stuff to your carry-on or even pack it differently, therefore making your bag too fat to fit into the sizer.
* I'm not sure if this is system-wide but I know at my station, we don't announce pre-boarding. I'm sure this is because just about anyone will jump up and say they need to pre-board because they've got a kid or something which, one, isn't fair and, two, just causes a huge crush at the start of the boarding process. If you're traveling with children, chances are we won't let your preboard, especially if it's a full flight and there are other families with children who haven't requested to preboard. Again, not fair to the other passengers.
* If you or someone in your party needs wheelchair assistance at any point during your journey, please let an agent know, either at the ticket counter during check-in or at the gate! An accurate wheelchair count makes a world of difference for everyone -- helps you get onboard during preboarding, helps make sure you've got a wheelchair waiting for you at your connection and destination if you need it!
* When a flight's delayed coming in - meaning, the inbound aircraft was delayed at its origination station, making it arrive late at the airport you're leaving from, which then causes it to be late leaving for your destination - we honestly don't know much about why it's delayed. We get a short blurb in the flight information in our system, like "delay due to aircraft maintenance" or "delay due to weather between board-point and off-point", but that's about it. If the estimated time of departure is 4:15 and I tell you the plane is due in at 4:05 don't give me s**t about how unrealistic the time is. Yes, I know that. No, I don't have any say at all in what time they put up on the screen! But we usually get a lot of manpower in those situations - called "quick turns" - so while we don't have much control over the deplaning of the previous passengers, we can get on that plane in a drove of like ten agents and clean that bad boy up in no time.
*One more since this is running long - a little tip about what to do if you get your bag off the claim belt and it's looking beat up. If a handle (a telescoping handle on a roll-aboard bag or one of the cloth ones on the side) or wheel/wheel-well is broken, we don't cover that. It sucks, but we don't cover it as it can be seen as normal wear-and-tear as those parts protrude naturally. If there's a huge gaping hole in your bag and the contents are falling out, go ahead and report it. You can report the un-covered damages as well, but it's not likely that you'll get any compensation for it. Those big damages, though, will most likely get your bag sent to Texas to be repaired or a whole new bag if it's so bad that you can't even take the bag home. We have replacements in our backroom.
This is probably going to go unseen but if anyone has any other questions that haven't been addressed in my comment or in the thread feel free to ask!
#48Pilot here. Not really secrets but here are some tips.
When you book on sites such as Expedia you may only have 30 minutes to catch a connecting flight. At busy hubs this is too short I promise. We will not hold flights for you even if you are 2 minutes late. Wave through the window wildly and we'll just wave back. If we are running late don't stand up to pack up your things, we have to stop the airplane and every one has to wait until you buckle up. Unless I'm working your flight I have no idea what gate your flight is going out of or if it has left yet any more than those huge boards with departures on them. If you are on a smaller regional jet and the flight attendants ask you to gate check your bag do it. If you say "I know it will fit" we will still make you put it under the plane. That is usually not the reason it has to be put under. If have to get out of my seat because you are harassing our flight attendants about it, your bag and you are not making it on this plane. The best things to make your trip go smooth is read signs, give yourself extra time and sit down and shut up.
#49If you are flying with someone and you're not seated together, wait until you get to the gate to ask to change seats. The airlines always have "blocked" seats that they want people to pay for. If nobody purchases them, they are usually given away to standbys. If the agent looks busy, just stand and wait patiently.
Source: Been doing this for a looooong time
Edit:F**k your downvotes. Do I look like I care? Clearly if you don't agree with this then you probably need to find another job. I've been doing this for a long time and it never bothers me. Guess I'm one of those rare people that doesn't mind helping out passengers.