It happens quite often, the moment one enters an aircraft you are pummeled with instructions: turn your phone off, put your window blind up, put your seat upright etc. How often do you stop to question why? Airlines aren’t trying to make travel painful.

Airlines aren’t trying to make travel painful. There’s a good reason for nearly every in-flight burden. UNIGLOBE Experts speak about 6 most popular in-flight myths and why they are burdened on you as a traveller.

Why does airline food taste bad?

Myth: Airline food tastes bad because it’s cheap and pre-processed.
Fact: Airline food doesn’t actually taste so bad; it’s the noise from the engine that distracts us.

A research article published by the BBC, reported that if background noise is too loud, it might draw attention away from the taste of food and towards the noise. In the article, the researcher fed various foods to people while they were listening to nothing or noise through headphones.  The researcher found that noisy conditions caused the subjects’ perception of saltiness and sweetness to lower, and their perception of crunchiness to increase.

So, the loud and constant noise from an aircraft’s engines could have the same effect, explains the researcher.

Why are flight attendants bossy?

Myth: Flight attendants are bossy.
Fact: Flight attendants need you to listen and cooperate.

A recently published article in leading travel publication, took an inquisitive look at the assertive vocabulary used by flight attendants for example “will go ahead and put your seat in the up-right position” or phrases like “need you to take your seat.”

The use of extraneous words like “will go ahead” are linguistic techniques to catch the passenger’s attention early in a sentence so the request doesn’t have to be repeated, which is especially handy in an emergency.

Why do we get sick in flights?

Myth: Re-circulated air in a plane makes us sick.
Fact: Passengers get sick from what they touch.

According to Boeing, cabin air is constantly being replaced by pressurized fresh air from outside. That air also passes through filters that remove 99.97 percent of any airborne bacteria and viruses.

However, frequently used surfaces like tray tables, pillows, seat arms, seats, toilets and sinks are less sanitary, often contacted by hundreds of passengers in a single day.

Microbiology experts added to this fact by explaining that one toilet per 50 passengers is a far more likely reason a passenger would fall ill.

The answer - don’t bother with the facial mask, opt for disinfectant wipes and hand sanitizer instead.

Why do we open the window blinds and put our seats upright?

Myth: Passengers do this to “reset” the plane for the next takeoff.
Fact: It’s a subtle safety precaution. Pulling up the blinds makes people alert to potential hazards.

According to airline officials, passengers are asked to pull up the window shelf before landing, so that any abnormalities outside the aircraft can be duly observed by the cabin crew or passengers and be reported to the cockpit crew if necessary.

As for the 90-degree seated incline, it’s all about reducing impact. Shifting those few centimeters forward reduces the distance from your head to the seat in front of you. It also makes it easier for the passenger behind to evacuate.

Why do we have to turn off our cell phones?

Myth: Cell phone signals interfere with aircraft electronics.
Fact: Airlines are adhering to aviation guidelines that restrict the use of personal electronic devices (PEDs), even though there is no evidence that they interfere with aircraft systems.

Airlines are not actually hundred percent sure that phones will interfere with aircraft systems. A recent study claimed nearly 6.5 million people in 12 months left their phones 'on' while they flew in and out of the United Kingdom without any problems.

But, most aviation authorities prohibit the use of cell phones and other PEDs unless it can be proved they definitely do not interfere.

To get approval to use a mobile, the airline would have to test every single model of phone with every single model of aircraft to make sure it doesn’t interfere with both the plane and ground networks - which would be too time consuming and expensive. It’s far easier just to ask people to turn their phones off.

Why do we brace during an emergency?

Myth: We brace to make us feel like we have a chance of surviving; we brace to ensure we are still and calm during an emergency; we brace to preserve our dental records so coroners can identify us after a crash.
Fact: It has been proven that passengers who assume the brace position sustain substantially less serious injuries than other passengers.

Bracing is meant to reduce secondary impact, by positioning the body (particularly the head) against the surface it would strike during impact. The other reason to brace is to reduce flailing around. And we all know that flailing - in any situation - will get you hurt.


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