What was once a romanticized, high-class form of transportation has become a rather mundane necessity of modern life. Flying from one destination to the next is no longer the lavish experience we used to see in old movies. Now you're more likely to spend your flight getting your seat kicked by the passenger behind you than engaging in a stimulating conversation with the person beside you. If you're looking to make your next flying experience free of unnecessary turbulence, heed this advice that comes straight from the experts.
Airline workers opened up about five things you probably don't know about air travel, Business Insider reports, and here's what they want you to know.
Don't Trust the Tray Tables
Microbiologists looked into the cleanliness of airplanes, finding that the tray tables that you often eat off of are actually the least-hygienic surface on board. One flight attendant claims passengers change their babies' diapers on tray tables "all the time," according to her post on Reddit. You also can't trust that the tables are properly cleaned following each flight, so you may want to bring your own disinfectant next time you fly.
Avoid the Water
"The water lines haven't ever been cleaned—ever," according to former flight attendant Heather Wilde. If that's not enough to make you remember to bring a water bottle in your carry-on, you may be surprised to learn one in eight planes failed the EPA's standards for water safety, while 15% of tested aircraft water systems contained potentially harmful bacteria.
Fly Earlier in the Day
Former airport customer service agent Travis O'Neal advises booking a flight as early in the day as possible to avoid delays and arrive at your destination on time. "As a general rule, the later in the day you travel, the more likely you are to catch a delay," he wrote on Quora. You can't help weather conditions, but an earlier flight ensures a better chance of a prompt takeoff.
When it comes to checking luggage, it turns out that being one of the last passengers to check your bags might be the key to getting your luggage from baggage claim quickly. Ramp and gate agent Thomas Lo Scuito explains, "If you check in last, your bags will be in the last bag cart, which will make them the last on the aircraft and the first off the aircraft at your destination." Sometimes it pays off to run a little late at the airport (as long as you catch your flight).
Sit at the Back of the Plane
While sitting in the front of the plane has advantages when it comes to disembarking first and securing the meal you want, the back of the plane is the place to sit for the best service. "Flight attendants know that if you're sitting toward the back, you'll receive the most attentive service," according to flight attendant Annie Kingston. She explains this is because flight attendants tend to avoid responding to call bells from the front of the plane. Sitting in the back might just be the better option.
"It's much easier to slip in that second mini bottle of wine," Kingston adds.