I’ve seen video clips of airplanes doing more flips than an Olympic gymnast and even one crashing into bits into the Indian Ocean. And while these crashes are horrific, it’s amazing that people survived them. But, they did.
Airlines don’t want to alarm people unnecessarily, and that’s a good thing. But there are some things you need to know. So fasten your seatbelts, here are 6 signs that indicate your plane may be going down.
#1: There’s a Ringing in Your Head
Ever wonder why the flight attendant glares at your two-year-old who is innocently pushing the flight attendant call button? It’s because your toddler is unknowingly signaling a disaster.
Let me explain. If something goes wrong during a flight, one of the first things the pilots will do is contact the flight attendants. But, if they simply use the normal calling method, the flight attendants won’t know it’s an emergency and may not answer the intercom quickly. So, in order to signal an emergency, they’ll use a series of dings.
For the airline I worked for, it was four dings, all in rapid succession. And while this in itself isn’t an indication you’re going down, it is an indication that something is wrong.
So if you hear a bunch of dings all at once, be prepared, your flight is about to get interesting. Then again, it could be that kid playing with the buttons.
#2: Your Flight Attendants Grab Some Reading Material
If you see your flight attendants walking quickly through the aisles with large manuals, you know those dings weren’t some kid playing around.
Once the pilots have contacted the flight attendants, it’s time for them to get organized, giving you any important information. So, they will get out their manuals, a book they’ve studied extensively, and meet in one of the galleys to get a briefing. During this briefing they’ll talk about what’s going on and what steps to take next.
Although this type of reading material isn’t going to make the best seller list, it will help you get off the plane safely.
#3: Your Pilot‘s Voice is Calm, Cool and Collected
Suppose the pilot comes on the intercom and says in a calm voice that the landing gear won’t come down. Make no mistake, you’ve got a problem. And don’t let the pilot’s calm voice fool you. If he’s just given you this information, I can guarantee you his stomach is experiencing a lot of turbulence.
This happened to me once when I was working a flight to Guatemala. When we finally landed safely, both pilots ran out of the plane, never to be seen again. I’ve always wondered why. Now, I believe they didn’t want us to see them up-chucking all that delightful airplane food.
#4: You Get to Practice On-Board Yoga.
If you get a second safety demonstration in the middle of your flight, one that includes rehearsing the brace position, you are about to have an emergency landing.
Believe me, those brace positions aren’t easy to get into, and it may feel like you are practicing yoga. Be assured that just like any good yoga instructor, your flight attendant will check your moves to make sure you are doing them properly.
At this point it never hurts to practice that deep breathing technique you learned in your real yoga class.
#5: You Get to Wear New Clothes on the Flight
I hate to say it, but if your flight attendants tell you to put your life vest on, you are about to crash land into water.
Surprise! This new article of clothing comes in bright yellow… jokingly called, “Yum, Yum,Yellow” by the flight attendants, since you will be attracting the attention of sharks when you land wearing this electric-colored vest.
By the way, the flight attendant’s vests are orange, a color I’m sure is abhorred by those pesky sharks.
#6: You Need a Mask to Ride That Roller Coaster
Plop. Your oxygen mask suddenly falls out of the ceiling. Oops.
This also happened to me once, coming out of Mexico City. And while technically, this doesn’t mean you are going to crash, it does mean that you’re about to take a dive, roller coaster style.
After the pilots put on their oxygen masks, the next thing they are going to do is lower the plane to an altitude where you no longer need your mask. If you are flying at a high altitude, it could feel like you are diving. You are. But, this is a good thing. It means your pilots haven’t passed out and are actually flying the plane.
I guess the main thing to know is that I’ve experienced almost all of these signs, and I’m alive, well, and writing about it. Even if your flight attendant freaks out, like the one just recently at American Airlines, you don’t have to. According to Freakonomics, the chance that you would survive a plane crash is a whopping 69%! So, sit back, relax, and enjoy your flight.