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Travel · May 28, 2015

4 Horrifying Facts They Never Told You About Air Travel

Almost Nothing Is Properly Cleaned

Due to tight budgets and even tighter schedules, most airlines skimp heavily on cleanings between flights. The blankets and pillows are only washed every 5-30 days (sometimes never), and a recent study found that 60% of tray tables tested positive for the "superbug" MRSA. Maybe that dose of Airborne will helpbut we're not getting our hopes up.

Both of Your Pilots Might Be Asleep

In a survey of pilots from Norway, Sweden, and the U.K. (all countries we consider more responsible than most), 43-54% of pilots admitted to having fallen asleep at the controls of a passenger plane. Worse still, a third of them said they woke up to find their copilot sleeping next to them.

Don't Drink the Water. Just Don't.

Aside from the bottled variety, all water on an airplanein the bathroom, in the coffeeis stored in internal tanks. These are coated in a layer of grime after years of constant service, which turns them into veritable petri dishes. In fact, a 2002 test performed by the Wall Street Journal found that water from various airlines contained as much as 100x the allowed limit of bacteria. It's no surprise that some flight attendants won't even wash their hands in it.

Turbulence Is Getting Worse

If you feel like your flights have been bumpier of late, it's not your imagination. Due to increasing levels of carbon dioxide in the ozone, researchers say that high-altitude turbulence is actually increasing. By 2050, it may be 40% worse than it is now.


Nathaniel Nagy

Copywriter, cold brew advocate, purveyor of handcrafted birthday haikus since 2009.