Whether you're a frequent flyer or just getting ready for your first flight, you've probably heard some statements about the plane or flying in general that are treated as gospel. Some of these probably make you feel anxious, despite your best efforts. Today, we're going to debunk these myths, so you can rest easy on your next flight.
The Cabin Door May Blow Open During The Flight
If you refuse to sit near the emergency exit because you're afraid of the cabin door opening and sucking you out, it's time to put your fears to rest. Today's planes are designed so that it's physically impossible for the cabin doors to open while the plane is in flight.
In fact, it would take superhuman strength for any human to open the cabin door while the plane is in the air. This means that, even though you've been killing it at the gym lately, there's zero chance you'll be able to pry open the cabin door. Another reason the cabin door can't open in mid-air is the interior pressure. Many airplane doors have seals that lock in cabin pressure.
Holes in the Windows Can Be Dangerous
If you avoid window seats because little holes in the windows make you nervous, we understand. We'd like to assure you, however, that those tiny holes aren't a flight hazard. In fact, the holes are a deliberate design element. Believe it or not, they help to regulate the interior cabin pressure.
Here's how it works: each airplane window consists of three layers. In the middle pane, you'll find what is called a "bleed hole." This hole balances the air pressure between the exterior pane and the cabin.
There's Only One Pilot Flying the Plane
Whenever there's an important in-flight announcement, you hear the captain speaking. However, he isn't the only one on board who knows how to fly the plane. The co-pilot is a fully licensed pilot who can take over in case the pilot is incapacitated in any way. While it's true that the pilot may have more experience, the co-pilot is just as capable of flying the plane in case of an emergency.
To be hired by an airline, both pilot and co-pilot candidates must provide documentation of their skills and flight experience.
Oxygen Masks Don't Actually Contain Oxygen
Rumors abound that oxygen masks don't actually contain oxygen. Some argue that, if the cabin ever lost enough pressure to precipitate their use, the masks would be useless to passengers. In 1999, Brad Pitt's character in the movie Fight Club claimed that the oxygen provides a high to help us stay calm during an emergency landing. So, hear-say and Hollywood movies have helped promote false beliefs about oxygen masks.
That said, it's true that oxygen masks don't have an unlimited supply of oxygen. They have about 12–15 minutes worth, which doesn't sound like a lot, especially when you're in a stressful situation. However, that's more than enough time for the captain and co-pilot to navigate the plane to a safe altitude or to make an emergency landing.
Lightning Can Seriously Hurt a Plane
If you've ever flown during a storm, you may have worried about what would happen if lightning were to strike the plane. Fortunately, planes are designed to handle lightning strikes. For safety reasons, the plane will be inspected for damage once it lands. In most cases, the plane will not have sustained any serious damage and can continue with its scheduled flight plan.
The Air in the Cabin Will Make You Sick
Many people come down with minor illnesses after traveling (which is why we recommend reading up on our tips for staying healthy during your flight). However, it's not because of the air in the cabin. In fact, many airplanes use HEPA air filtration systems to clean and recirculate the air in the cabin. So, air quality should be the least of your worries when you fly. To keep from picking up germs, be sure to wash your hands and sanitize your seating area.