It’s no secret that air travel is a stressful way to get around. Airport staff are the ones tasked with the unenviable task of dealing with the general public when it’s at its most stressed – before, during, or after air travel. And they have to do all of that with a smile to boot. Millions of people travel through airports across the world each year, and on occasion, their luggage will, unfortunately, end up damaged or lost. If you’ve ever wondered how that sort of thing happened, then our airport staff confessions will answer this, as well as many other questions passengers would like to ask them.
They See You When You’re Sleeping
As you might imagine, life as a flight attendant can get a bit monotonous. This is why they come up with creative ways to stay entertained. One of these ways is watching all the different and usually funny ways passengers fall asleep while on the flight. We can imagine how funny this can get!
A Pretty Good Deal
There are times when airlines overbook their flights on purpose, which can lead to some disappointment if you’re not on time to check-in at the gate. However, you can be compensated with vouchers that may even exceed the value of your flight, and if you don’t mind waiting for a later flight, you could end up with a great deal on your travels.
Don’t Bother Your Flight Attendant
Some passengers believe that if they press the button to call a flight attendant more than once, they will arrive more quickly. However, one cabin crew member admitted that the more someone pushes the button, she makes a point of arriving as slowly as possible to them. Don’t annoy your flight attendants!
No More Free Upgrades
Back in the earlier days of commercial flights, it was not unheard of the get upgraded by the airline for certain occasions or reasons, such as a honeymoon or knowing a crew member. These days, the only way to get a free upgrade is if you are a loyal frequent flyer.
Stick To The Aisle
If you tend to become cold during flights, then flight attendants recommend that you choose sitting in the aisle seat. These tend to be the warmest seats on the plane, as window seats become quite chilly. Additionally, aisle seats mean you can get up whenever you want without having to wake up anyone in your row.
Don’t Push Your Luck
Some people try to outsmart baggage handlers by adding a “priority” label to their bags in order to sneak their luggage onto the first-class cart without paying extra. However, the workers can immediately see right through this ploy so you’re better off not trying at all.
A Mean Spirited Joke?
Although this is pretty mean, one airport worker admitted that it gave them great joy to point people in the wrong direction, especially if they’re already late for their flight. This means that the person is more likely to miss their flight, but the airport worker sure got a good laugh out of it.
Flights At The Fraction Of The Cost
One of the best perks of working at an airport or airline is that fact that their airfare is significantly lower than the price everyone else has to pay. They can book flights for a fraction of the original cost, saving them tons of money on vacations. However, they pay their dues by dealing with a lot of rude customers.
What kind of luggage do airline workers recommend? A bag with four wheels as opposed to two. This is because a suitcase with four wheels is much easier to move around with and gives you better agility to move through the airport, especially since you can push your suitcase in front of you rather than dragging it behind you.
Skip The Checked Bag
Another recommendation from flight crew members is to pack less and avoid checking a bag. This means you never run the risk of losing your personal items and can minimize time spent waiting for your checked bags. It seems like a win win to us!
Keep It Fully Charged
Many airlines no longer require a printed out hard copy of your ticket and boarding pass, as you can simply use your phone instead. However, that means it’s crucial that your phone is fully charged, as the last thing you want is to end up with a dead battery while trying to check into your flight.
They Don’t Know Everything
One thing that airport staff want the general public to know is that just because they work at the airport, it does not mean that they know every single detail about the airport itself. They may not necessarily know where everything is and what every single rule is.
A Case Of Mistaken Destination
While it seems like it wouldn’t be possible, airline workers admitted that some passengers end up heading to the wrong destination from time to time. For example, two passengers who meant to travel to Rome, Italy, ended up on a flight to Reus, Spain. Unfortunately, the mistake was caught only after the plane had taken off.
The Truth About Oxygen Masks
Hopefully none of us have experienced an instance when the airplane’s emergency masks were needed. However, what you might not know is that these masks only allow for 15 minutes of oxygen flow. Luckily, this allows for plenty of time for the pilot to ensure that the plane is back to safe levels of pressure.
Finding Suspicious People
As part of security measures at airports, there are specialists called profilers whose job it is to identify passengers who are acting in ways that indicate nefarious intentions. As many people who travel by flight are nervous about the experience, it is the profilers’ job to be able to differentiate between normal nervousness with malicious nervousness.
One airline crew members admitted on the Whisper app that baby changing tables were not routinely cleaned between domestics flights. They went on to say that they were only maybe cleaned after international flights. This is important to know before you expose your baby to potentially unsanitary conditions.
Airports harbor many stressful feelings for many reasons. In addition to nervousness about flying and general life stress, many people choose to drink while waiting to get onto their flights. For this reason and for security reasons, airport workers are constantly monitoring everyone in order to avoid situations that may escalate. You should know that you’re pretty much always being watched while at the airport.
The Non-Stop Kitchens
The kitchens of dining establishments in airports don’t usually close down, as many airports tend to have flights that go around the clock. There are about 36.8 million flights per year, with at least 100 times that many passengers, meaning a lot of food needs to be generated for hungry travelers.
The Happiest Place In The Airport
One airline worker has shared that her favorite area of the airport to be at is the arrivals area, since people tend to be much happier in this spot, especially compared to the departures area. After the stress of an hours-long flight, there’s nothing better than to see people joyously reunited with one another.
One airport workers confessed that unfortunately, while a ton of food is generated at the airport, a lot of it ends up going to waste. Even though this extra food could go towards underprivileged hungry people, laws bar airports from giving the food away and much of it ends up in the trash.
The Strangest Contraband
One of the most interesting and strangest parts of being an airport worker is being able to see all of the contraband that is confiscated from passengers trying to sneak things illegally onto their flight. Airport workers have shared that they enjoy posting about the bizarre items they’ve taken away in order to try to deter others from doing the same.
A Security Swab
One way to determine if a passenger has been handling a banned item such as narcotics is by swabbing their palms with a wipe that then gets analyzed by a machine in order to identify what they person has come into contact with. If something suspicious comes up, then the passenger’s personal belongings are searched.
No Handling With Care
Baggage handlers are sometimes referred to as “throwers,” and with good reason. They have a tendency to mishandle luggage, which is why you might find your suitcase damaged after you retrieve it from the carousel. Try to invest in durable luggage and make sure to pack your belongings well in order to avoid damage.
The Best Airport Gig
One of the best gigs to work at if you’re an airport worker is at the club lounge. Travelers will pay a bit more in order to enjoy some peace and quiet before their flight. Some bartenders working at the club lounge have shared that they can get tips that go up to around $40 per hour. Not too shabby!
The Automated Luggage System
You might not know this, but your luggage is sorted by a special machine that is automated. The system ensure that bags make it from check-in to departures through connection flights, and then from arrivals until baggage claim. This is done by scanning the codes on the sticker placed on your luggage, so many sure to take off any old ones to avoid confusion!
While each passenger is treated the same way while moving through the airport and is subjected to a security check, not all airport workers have to do the same. This means that some workers can potentially abuse this privilege, and there have been some incidents that involved airport workers smuggling illegal substances into the airport.
Little chance of being starstruck
You might wonder why you have never seen a celebrity at an airport, even though it seems like celebrities are always jet-setting around the world. This is because there is usually a separate entrance for VIPs, as well as a private departure lounge. Some airports have entire VIP halls, including LAX.
Don’t Be Rude To Staff
As is the case with many customer-facing jobs, being rude and yelling at the staff will certainly not help you with getting your way. In fact, some airline workers have admitted to being petty and making rude passengers’ lives even more difficult. One worker admitted that he leaned on the scale in order to make a rude customer pay the overweight luggage fee.
The Air Traffic Control Role
Air traffic controllers have a lot of responsibility, and you might not know that they’re not directly only planes in the sky. They are also responsible for directing grounded planes, coordinating the lighting on the runways, and also monitoring the weather.
Lost In Transit
One of the biggest stress factors in air travel is the fear that your baggage will be lost in transit. The reason why bags may not end up making it to your destination can range from required additional checks that result in your bag not being loaded onto the plane in time or even just having the wrong sticker placed on it, meaning it will be sent to the wrong location.
Mystery Runway Numbers
While sitting and waiting for your flight to take off, you may have noticed numbers on the runway. The numbers range from 01-36 and refer to degrees. For example, 09 is 90 degrees, meaning east, 18 is 180 degrees, meaning south, 27 is 270 degrees meaning west, and 36 means 360 and means north.
A Few Bad Eggs
While traveling, we put a lot of trust in airport workers in order to act honestly and not help themselves to our belongings when they are parted from us. While most workers are trustworthy, unfortunately, a select few breach that trust. From time to time, some workers end up getting fired for taking items belonging to passengers, especially around holiday times.
Although some might feel this could be a violation of our privacy, there are machines at the security checkpoint that scan our full bodies and can provide an image of us through our clothes. This is done in order to ensure that no dangerous weapons or contraband makes it through to the flight.
Always Double Check
While traveling, it is crucially important to make sure all of your documents are up to date and that nothing has expired. Traveling with expired documents runs the risk of being kicked out of any country and sent back onto the flight you just came from.
A Misleading Lock
You might feel better if you lock your luggage up, but you should know that airport workers have special tools that allow them to open up locks discreetly and lock them back up once they’re done searching through your bag. You might not ever know that your bag was opened up at all.
Hard Working Doggies
Many airports employ specially trained dogs to sniff out any illegal contraband that may be hidden in passengers’ luggage. These dogs may be cute, but you should not pet them, as they are on duty and are considered to be airport workers as well. These adorable dogs are doing a great job helping keep us safe.
Only Single Lines
Have you ever noticed that there tend to be more single lines for security and customs rather than multiple lines? This is on purpose! Single lines lower anxiety about which line is “the best” or fastest moving.
Your Luggage, First
We can all agree that waiting for your luggage to come around the carousel after a long flight is one of the worst parts of traveling. An insider gave a useful tip on how to get your luggage faster: simply check-in a bit later. If you’re one of the last to check-in, typically you’ll be one of the first to see you bags coming down that conveyor belt.
Avoid The Airplane Coffee
Airplane coffee has quite the negative reputation, and one flight attendant admitted that there’s a good reason for that. The coffee is not made with fresh water and is made from the drinking water on the plane, which happens to be quite close to the water disposal from lavatory waste.
Duty Free Don’t Come Cheap
A common misconception is that buying goods at a duty-free means you are getting a better deal than buying the same items somewhere else. While they are tax-free, their base price may be jacked up. It’s important to do your research beforehand in order to make sure you’re getting a good deal.