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What pilots will never tell their passengers

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Tiredness, no time to eat, and not enough fuel

Pilots have confessed a number of unnerving secrets, mostly on condition of anonymity, in a survey by Reader’s Digest and ABC News’ Good Morning America.

“I’m constantly under pressure to carry less fuel than I’m comfortable with,” says one. “Airlines are always looking at the bottom line, and you burn fuel carrying fuel. Sometimes if you carry just enough fuel and you hit thunderstorms or delays, then suddenly you’re running out of gas, and you have to go to an alternate airport.”

A first officer says: “Sometimes the airline won’t give us lunch breaks or even time to eat. We have to delay flights just so we can get food.”

A retired pilot: “We tell passengers what they need to know. We don’t tell them things that are going to scare the pants off them. So you’ll never hear me say, ‘Ladies and gentlemen, we just had an engine failure,’ even if that’s true.”

“The truth is, we’re exhausted,” says a captain at a major airline. “Our work rules allow us to be on duty 16 hours without a break. That’s many more hours than a truck driver. And unlike a truck driver, who can pull over at the next rest stop, we can’t pull over at the next cloud.”

An AirTran Airways captain says: “No, it’s not your imagination: Airlines really have adjusted their flight arrival times so they can have a better record of on-time arrivals. So they might say a flight takes two hours when it really takes an hour and 45 minutes.”

The full article can be read here: www.rd.com/slideshows/13-things-your-pilot-wont-tell-you/

Readers Digest

[photo courtesy Brussels Airlines]

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