3 Flying Myths You Should Know

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Whether it’s a yearly vacation, a five-month-long backpacking trip, or simply going home to see your family for Christmas – we all love to get away. Travel for you may be an all-consuming passion, it may be a stipulation of your job, or it might just be a simple method of getting from point A to point B. Whatever travel means to you, your plans will most likely include a flight or two. So before you check the weather, grab your passport, and strap into that comfy airplane seat, we want to debunk a few common myths about flying.

1. Lightning Strikes cause Plane Crashes

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In reality, planes are struck by lightning all the time. On average, each and every airplane in the U.S commercial fleet is struck by lightning at least once a year. Wowza! When flying through a heavily charged region of cloud, a large aircraft can actually trigger the lightening, and it’s near impossible to constantly avoid weather that may be conducive to these strikes. Luckily, the last plane on record to go down because of lightning was way back in 1967. Planes have to pass multiple safety tests, ensuring that if (and when) they are struck, the current will flow through the exterior of the plane to another point.

2. Opening a Door on a Plane is a Health Risk

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This myth may actually ring true, but unless you share the same strength as Superman or the Hulk, there is no way a human could physically pry open the cabin doors during a flight. The cabin becomes extremely pressurized during altitude, essentially welding the doors shut. Commercial jets are made to be structurally sound and incredibly strong. They are designed to be “fault tolerant”, which means if one part of the structure fails, the other parts will pick up the slack and the airplane will continue to be a safe vessel. So ignore all the Hollywood horror films where people are getting sucked out of planes and plummeting to their death. On the other hand, do be wary of Snakes on a Plane.

3. The Air on Planes Spreads Disease

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While the air on a flight is largely recycled (or “recirculated” as the lovely stewardesses might tell you), this air is actually highly filtered. Most planes are equipped with True High Efficiency Particle Filters (True HEPA) or High Efficiency Particle Filters (HEPA) filtration systems. These systems ensure that a complete air change occurs every two to four minutes. They also filter out teeny, tiny microscopic particles like bacteria and viruses. In comparison, you’re more likely to get sick sitting at your desk in your office or riding the subway to the gym. Breathe easy folks.

3 Flying Myths You Should Know