Planes are full of little hidden switches, buttons and hatches, all of which have secret functions, only known to the crew… until now. Hack yourself a better experience on-board with these three simple built-in tricks.


You know how the aisle arm-rest never raises, only the ones between seats? Well, turns out it does, with the push of a hidden button underneath. It’s located under the arm-rest, normally close to the back, but this varies from plane to plane. Simply push and hold the button down whilst raising the arm-rest, to give yourself a ton more room, allowing you to ‘stretch’ out into the aisle.


Another variation, using a flick switch, instead of a button:


Remember, you need to keep arm-rests down during taxi, take-off and landing, but in cruise, you will really notice this extra room (especially if you’re sitting next to a stranger, who is taking up more than their fair share of room).

Bathroom amenities

Ever had that awkward situation where you’re out of toilet paper? Need more soap or are you just in desperate need of a toothbrush? Well fear not: there are many different hatches and cupboards in the lavatories where extra amenities are stored. On long-haul flights, this can include lotions, toothbrushes, razors, sanitary equipment and hairbrushes/combs. The cupboards are generally only intended for crew access, so their opening mechanisms are usually hidden. This varies a lot from plane to plane, so you’ll need to hunt around the lavatory for a bit to find the button/hatch. Often mirrors double as cupboards and be on the look out for other opening mechanisms like, hatches, pedals and buttons under a ledge.

Mirror storage in lavatory


A word of warning: be sure to be careful opening panels, and leave the lavatory as you would like to find it, ensuring all hatches are closed when you leave. In addition, make sure not to venture below the sink, as panels under here are intended for maintenance purposes only, and some are fitted with tamper-proof seals which, when broken, could cause delays down the line.

Your lavatory’s never really locked

Ever wondered what that metal plate saying ‘lavatory’ is actually for? I mean, everyone knows where the washrooms are already. Its real purpose is to allow access from the outside. This means you can never truly lock yourself in the toilet. It is a hinged panel that can be lifted up to reveal a secret locking bolt that can be used to lock/unlock doors from the outside. Some airlines use this to lock washrooms during take-off and landing to stop people going in. It’s also a safety mechanism to prevent someone from locking themselves away. Granted, this secret doesn’t have a practical purpose for the everyday traveller, but it’s nonetheless very interesting!


Final thoughts

If anyone else has any plane secrets/hacks they use, be sure to let the community know down below.