IF YOU’RE a nervous flyer, you may want to look away now.
From dead bodies in the hold to the likelihood of getting struck by lightning, these 18 facts could make you want to cancel your next flight, according to The Sun.
Luckily, flying is one of the safest modes of travelling — after taking a lift.
1. Most pilots have been struck by lightning
One told Reader’s Digest: “I’ve been struck by lightning twice. Most pilots have. Airplanes are built to take it. You hear a big boom and see a big flash and that’s it. You’re not going to fall out of the sky.”
2. Lots of planes carry dead bodies and organs
Pilot Mr Miguez wrote on Reddit: “A lot of freight gets shipped on commercial flights.
“One of these items were always called HR on the radios. HR was an abbreviation for ‘Human Remains’.
“Some people die far away from where they want to get buried. They’re packed in wood-framed boxes, so you would never know what was inside except by the strange shape of them.
“If you hear about an HR while flying Delta, it means there’s a dead body in cargo.
“Some airlines, such as EasyJet, don’t carry cargo — and therefore won’t have any coffins in the hold.”
Passengers often die on board, and different airlines have different ways of dealing with it.
3. Pilots are tired — and sometimes sleep in the cockpit
In a survey conducted by pilots’ union BALPA (British pilot’s association), over half of pilots (56 per cent) admitted to falling asleep in the cockpit.
Meanwhile, nearly a third (29 per cent) had woken up to find their co-pilot sleeping as well.
4. Rolls Royce test aircraft engines by firing dead chickens from a cannon
The chickens can go up to 299km/h, so it’s a bit like a game of Angry Birds.
5. Air marshals won’t help the cabin crew restrain a drunk passenger
It’s far too common that a drunk person gets rowdy on board, and could be a ploy by terrorists to find out if there is an air marshal flying.
6. There could be an axe on board
Planes are often required to have axes on board, to help rip through panels and walls to fight an electrical fire.
According to reports, Germanwings captain Patrick Sondenheimer tried to break into the cockpit, which had been locked by co-pilot Andreas Lubitz, using an axe — as it plummeted towards the Alps.
7. The ‘new’ headphones are anything but
Ichigo 29 wrote on Reddit: “The headsets that are given to you are not new, despite being wrapped up.
“They are taken off the flight, ‘cleaned’ and then packaged again.” Gross. But it’s not the only disgusting thing about the flight cabin.
8. The flights are dimmed for landing in case you crash
Pilot Tim Morgan wrote on Quora: “When a plane is landing at night, they dim the interior lights in case you need to evacuate upon landing …
“Your eyes are already adjusted to the darkness so you’ll be able to see better once outside the plane.”
9. Pilot power
Pilots are legally allowed to arrest people, write fines and even take the will of a dying passenger.
10. Put down the coffee
Reddit user Worse to Worser wrote: “The coffee is absolutely disgusting because 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.
“Also, because we weren’t given the proper supplies to clean it we pretty much just rinsed it out and dumped coffee into it.”
11. Turbulence gets worse as the day goes on
Jerry Johnson told Reader’s Digest: “If you’re a nervous flyer, book a morning flight. The heating of the ground later causes bumpier air, and it’s much more likely to thunderstorm in the afternoon.”
12. Being on time is more important than getting everyone there
Another pilot added: “The [United States] Department of Transportation has put such an emphasis on on-time performance that we pretty much aren’t allowed to delay a flight anymore, even if there are 20 people on a connecting flight that’s coming in just a little late.”
13. Pilots have to eat different meals
Pilots can’t eat the same meal in case they get food poisoning, but we’d imagine it could be tricky if both were vegetarian.
They’re not allowed to share, either.
14. The toilets can be unlocked from outside
Anony Meows posted on Reddit: “There 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.
15. A plane was stolen in 2003 … and hasn’t been seen since
On May 25 2003, a Boeing 727 that was being converted to carry diesel was stolen by two mechanics.
The FBI and CIA launched international searches, but the hijackers were never found — while the plane appears to have disappeared into thin air.
16. Prince Charles and Prince William aren’t allowed to fly together
At the Queen’s request, her son and grandson never catch the same flight. She doesn’t want both heirs to die if the plane crashes.
17. Flying is the second safest form of transport
In case you were wondering, it’s safer to take the lift.
18. The shortest commercial flight is in the Orkney Islands
The distance travelled is shorter than Edinburgh Airport’s runway.
Lasting just two minutes, the flight from Westray to Papa Westray is the shortest commercial flight in the world. A return ticket costs just $63.
This article originally appeared in The Sun via news.com.au