OK, yesterday I took the weirdest flight ever to
Adding insult to injury was the passenger who sat next to me. He was a “confined space” worker. He welded the inside of petroleum tanks and other large cavernous objects. I had a lot of respect for him, I couldn’t do his job! Then we heard this shrill, piercing, wailing “WWEEEEEE-OOOOOH” noise coming from his backpack! As 10 people and three flight attendants looked on, he produced a workman’s oxygen sensor from his pack. Its supposed to go off in a confined space when the oxygen level dropped below “sea level normal.” Guess where we were? In the pressurized cabin of an airplane, 38,000 feet off the ground! Over the banshee-like wailing, he shouted to us the good news, “I CAN’T SHUT IT OFF! IT HAS A LIFETIME LITHION ION
I got up, and walked all the way to the galley in the rear of the aircraft. It was relatively quiet there (and I had full access to the booze in the cabinet)! I stood and watched the madness unfold until the one flight attendant who was removed from the fray walked back to talk to me. We had a great conversation and I asked her a bunch of flight questions I had. So without further drama, I bring you:
Question one: Why do they turn the lights out on takeoff and landing?
Believe it or not, they do this so your eyes will adjust to lower levels of light. If there’s an accident and they have to deploy the emergency slides, studies have shown that you’ll be able to see better and thus be able to evacuate more quickly and safely.
Question two: Why is 10,000 feet the cutoff for electronic devices?
I was told, they had to pick an arbitrary place and that seemed the best one. Also, most of the communication between the pilot and the tower of your departure or landing point happens below 10,000 feet. Additionally, if there were an emergency to deal with prior to landing, it would be easier for the flight attendants to communicate with everyone if they weren’t knee-deep in a movie or if they didn’t have their headphones on.
Question three: The seemingly random “BING” noise that we hear… What’s up with that?
When you hear one single “BING,” it’s a passenger who rang his/her button for the flight attendant to render assistance (or another drink). When you hear two-tone “BING-Bong,” it’s the pilot, ringing the flight attendant’s phone because he/she wants to talk to them. When you hear two full “BING-Bong… BING-Bong…” tones, it means you’ve been cleared for landing and its time to put up your tray table and seat back.
Question four: Who cleans the plane after we’re gone?
The catering crew does this. The flight attendants are responsible for the emergency equipment like checking oxygen, flashlights, etc. Leaving a giant mess only slows the catering service which slows the boarding for the next flight. So, don’t do it.
Question five: Who decides who gets first class and who has to work the main cabin?
The most senior flight attendant on board decides where he/she wants to work. It flows downhill from there.