This article was written by Eric Spitznagel and provided by our partners at Men's Health.
The last time you took you took a flight, you were probably worried about whether the plane was going to crash, right? Turns out, you should have been more freaked out by the coffee. You didn’t drink it, did you? (Hate to break it to you, but you basically drank toilet water.)
How do we know? Because we sat down with three flight attendants, all currently employed by two different major airlines, and asked them to share the dirty secrets that happen on every commercial flight. Obviously, we changed their names to protect their jobs. And we’re not naming the airlines. (Let’s just say if you’ve flown from New York to Los Angeles, the odds are pretty good that you’ve flown on one of them.) Prepare to have your airline innocence shattered. And remember, there’s always the bus!
1. YOUR COFFEE IS PROBABLY DECAF
Alison: There’s no way anybody is getting caffeinated coffee. We don’t need a flight full of fidgety passengers. We want you to sleep.
Brian: Quite a few flight attendants are pretty lazy about making separate decaf pots. I always did, but even the regular coffee only had half the normal caffeine.
2. ACTUALLY, YOU MIGHT WANT TO AVOID THE COFFEE ALTOGETHER
Brian: The water we use for the coffee is pretty gross. It’s pumped from a big tank, which I don’t imagine gets cleaned very often, if at all.
Alison: We call it the “galley springs.” It’s basically the same water in the plane’s holding tanks that they use for the toilets. As far as I know, the tanks have never been cleaned. Ever.
Nancy: Don't even ask for water. I used to fill the water bottles with galley springs and serve it to customers. Unless you’re in First Class, nobody’s getting real bottled water.
3. YOU’RE SITTING NEAR BODY ORGANS
Alison: Most domestic flights have human organs on them. Not down below, up in the main cabin, with the carry-on bags.
Brian: I’ve had passengers with coolers containing transplant organs in the cabin. Pretty regularly, actually. I don’t know what that’s about.
4. THAT SLEEPING PASSENGER NEXT TO YOU MIGHT BE DEAD
Brian: No one officially dies on a plane, because it would create too much red tape. They’re simply belted into their seat and covered with a blanket. Their seatmates have to sit next to a corpse for the remainder of the flight.
Alison: I had to do this once. I’m still traumatized by it. We told the other passengers he was drunk. It was insane! It was like Weekend at Bernie’s!
Nancy: Even if there’s someone on board who’s authorized to provide a death certificate, we make sure nobody knows about it until we’ve landed and all other passengers have deboarded the aircraft.
5. YOU CAN TOTALLY TEXT OR CHECK YOUR EMAIL DURING TAKEOFF OR LANDING
Brian: I’ve done it like a gazillion times.
Alison: Oh yeah, totally. Landing is the best time to check your email, because the passengers aren’t trying to get your attention.
6. SOMETIMES THEY FART IN FRONT OF YOU
Alison: We try to just target the jerks, but that’s tough. So there’s usually collateral damage.
Brian: There’s a name for it, when a flight attendant walks down the aisle and slowly releases a soft, stinky fart throughout the cabin. We call it “crop dusting.”
7. THEY'LL MESS WITH YOUR FOOD IF YOU ACT LIKE A JERK
Nancy: Here’s a motto I’ve heard a lot of FAs use: “Don’t get mad, get Visine.”
Alison: Never eat the dinner rolls. Never, ever, ever eat the dinner rolls.
Nancy: I’ve seen FAs wipe dinner rolls on lavatory seats. We call it the Pubic Sweater.
8. THEY CAN UNLOCK THE LAVATORIES FROM THE OUTSIDE
Alison: It’s mostly a safety issue, in case somebody dies or gets hurt in there. Also, people are stupid.
Brian: One time some old lady couldn’t figure out how to unlock it and started freaking out inside.
Alison: But it’s mostly because of people thinking they’re being sneaky and having sex in there. Trust me, we’re not letting you finish. When we hear someone humping in a lavatory, we might open the door just enough to put in our iPhones and take a few photos. That usually stops them.
9. TIPPING WILL GET YOU EXTRA
Alison: Nobody ever thinks to tip a flight attendant. We can make your flight experience so much better, if we want to.
Nancy: Free booze, hot cookies. That stuff isn’t just for the First Class passengers.
10. THEY MIGHT WANT TO SLEEP WITH YOU
Brian: If you’ve ever gotten free booze and you don’t know why, it’s probably because somebody in the fly crew thinks you’re bangable.
Nancy: I’ve done that. I’ve totally done that. Not slept with a passenger, just gave him perks because he was hot.
Alison: They tell you that dressing nice improves your chances of being upgraded to First Class, and I guess that doesn’t hurt. But the best way to get upgraded from economy to First Class is to be really, really easy on the eyes.