BuzzFeed Releases Another Air Travel-Centric Video Revealing Flight Attendant Secrets — My Take

BuzzFeed, the trashy millennial media conglomerate that we’ve come to love to hate has released another air travel-centric video. This time, BuzzFeedVideo uploaded a video in which flight attendants reveal secrets about flying. By now, pretty much every publication has released some version in which flight attendants share secrets about flying. Google “flight attendant secrets” and you’ll get 653,000 results. Beating a dead-horse aside, I’ve decided to dive into BuzzFeed’s “Flight Attendant Secrets”.


Watch: BuzzFeed’s “Flight Attendants Reveal Secrets About Flying”


“Do not drink the airplane bathroom water”

This is pretty spot on. I feel like even those who rarely fly know not to drink the water that comes from the lavatory. Some airlines might put dixie cups in lavatories on their newer widebodies with water filtration systems but even then, I wouldn’t drink the water. On regional jets like the Embraer ERJ-145 and Bombardier CRJ Series, a “Non-Potable Water” or “Do Not Drink Water” sign is posted in the lavatory.

Frontier Airbus a320NEO Lavatory Sink

Frontier Airbus a320NEO Lavatory Sink

Essentially, the onboard plumbing isn’t cleaned routinely and the tanks in which the water is stored are fantastic breeding grounds for bacteria, mildew, and mold. Every flight attendant knows not to drink the water straight from the lavatory faucet.

Q: “Do people join the mile high club?” A: “Yes, it is a big fantasy for everyone.”

Nope. This simply isn’t true. Sure, people join the mile high club but it’s not a frequent occurrence. Aside from the fact that you’d basically be hooking up in public, airplanes are relatively small spaces and lavatories are becoming smaller and smaller. American Airlines’s new Boeing 737-8 MAX features lavatories that are so small that some people are having issues using the lavatory by themselves.

The notion that the mile high club is a normal or frequent occurrence is something the media loves pushing. I know it happens and I’m sure it’s happened on at least one of my flights but it just isn’t a staple of commercial air travel. Flight attendants aren’t dumb and most jumpseats are located by lavatories. Any flight attendant is going to know that two people are hooking up in a lavatory.

“I’m pretty sure I saw passengers give each other hand**** right in front of me.”

One “flight attendant” says that she saw passengers engaging in sexual activity right in front of her. She goes on to say that she gave the passengers a “warm towel.” Either she’s joking or she’s not a flight attendant. I know dozens and dozens of flight attendants and not one of them would let that stuff fly. That’d be an automatic call to the flight deck and those passengers would be greeted by law enforcement upon arrival.

Q: “Do flight attendants talk about passengers?” A: “Yes….”

Yes. Yes, they do. Again, I know a lot of flight attendants and I’ve even flown with some on flights on which they were working. Yes. Flight attendants talk about passengers. Both positive and negative stuff is said.

In the video, one “flight attendant” talks about how the crew will talk about the hottest person onboard. The flight crew, unless they know each other very well, don’t talk about other passengers in a way that could come off as offensive or sexual in nature. Most flight attendants don’t really care about what passengers look like and just want to get through the flight.

Q: “What is potable water?”

It’s drinking water. It’s water that can be safely consumed. One “flight attendant,” says that it’s, “the water we use for the lavatories and the coffee.” That’s true. When the water is pumped onboard the aircraft prior to departure, it’s potable. Some of that water will remain potable once on the aircraft but the water that comes out of most faucets in the lavatories is no longer potable. Refer to the first question for more information on why you don’t want to drink the water that comes from the lavatory.

Delta Air Lines Boeing 717 First Class Starbucks Coffee

Many crew members will also advise passengers against drinking the onboard coffee. That’s not a bad idea. The water sits in tanks onboard the aircraft and though it’s brought to a boil before brewing, it’s not 100% safe. The coffee pots and machines are rarely cleaned and on older aircraft, I might be hesitant to drink a cup of coffee. It’s also fun when you get on an MD-80 and you’re coffee tastes like stale water.

Q: “What is the dirtiest part of the airplane?” A: “The floor.”

I’d beg to differ but the floors are certainly very dirty. Seriously, wear shoes or at least socks when onboard. Don’t walk around barefoot and wear shoes when you visit the lavatory. The floor is disgusting but the dirtiest part of most aircraft is probably the tray tables.

Alaska Airlines E175 First Class tray table

As mentioned in the video, tray tables are rarely cleaned and are home to a wide variety of bacteria, germs, spills, stains, etc. Bring hand sanitizer or disinfectant wipes in your carry-on if you plan on eating off of your tray table.

Q: “How can passengers get into first class?” A: “Buy first class, upgrade, or…. look attractive and…. ask nicely.”

I had such high hopes for this answer. The “flight attendant” was doing such a great job at answering this question until the end of her answer when things took a turn for the worst. The video is right in suggesting that the best way to get into first class is to buy a ticket. Second, elite status will often get you free upgrades while non-elite flyers can simply pay to upgrade or use miles.

Where the “flight attendant” goes wrong is saying that a passenger can, “ask a flight attendant…. it never hurts to ask…. if they just ask nicely, they can get into first class.” Nope. No. This isn’t true. Sure, there are some foreign airlines with relaxed policies but most western carriers and certainly all US-based carriers are going to tell you to pay up or sit down.

Lufthansa First Class Seat 2A

Travel bloggers are wrong about a lot but one thing we’re consistently nailing is how to get upgraded to first or business class. The answer is always one of three responses: 1) pay for it, 2) achieve elite status, 3) use points or miles.

Being nice won’t get you free first class upgrade but it might get you a free drink or bag of trail mix.


Overall: BuzzFeed’s Flight Attendant Secrets

I was surprised by how accurate this video turned out to be. The questions asked were certainly softball questions but, nonetheless, the answers were somewhat correct. I am going to question the authenticity right off the bat because it’s BuzzFeed and the answers to these questions can be found anywhere online. Still, if you’ve got 4 minutes and 3 seconds to kill, give the video a watch.

Do you have any flight attendant secrets? What do you think of the media’s coverage of the air travel industry?