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April 4th 2016
3 min read

Debunking three of the most common myths about commercial flight

Whether clickbait articles, scaremongers or well-meaning, but ill-informed frequent flyers; there exists a seemingly endless list of rumours, myths, conspiracies, half-truths and outright lies about what happens, and what can happen during a commercial flight. Unfortunately, many of these myths and rumours are now commonplace and taken at face value, leading to unnecessary fear and apprehension about stepping on a plane.

You can NOT open the emergency exit door during flight

You’ve surely heard this one a number of times before, that the emergency exit doors on commercial flights can be opened by a dastardly, careless (or drunk) passenger on board. You’d be correct to worry if this were feasible, as the immediate change in air pressure would be fatal at heights of tens of thousands of feet; however, the door is kept closed by more than a flimsy mechanism which can be overridden at any time by a stray hand. Emergency doors have been intentionally engineered to open only when the air pressure inside and outside of the aircraft is at an equilibrium, a passenger would need seriously superhuman strength to budge it. With that in mind, please don’t worry if you happen to share a plane with ‘Hollywood’ Hulk Hogan, or the entire New Zealand rugby team, that door is staying firmly shut during flight - The artificially created cabin pressure will absolutely not allow for that door to be opened.

Flying is more dangerous now than ever before

With the tragic stories involving commercial aircrafts in recent years being so widely-publicised, it’s understandable that many people would fall victim to this fallacy. Most of us have instant access to global news at any given point in the day, and with everybody with a camera phone being a news-reporter by proxy, it’s unsurprising that our biases tell us that crashes, accidents and incidents of sabotage are sharply on the rise. This is entirely untrue, however; there are so many more planes in the air now than say, 2 decades ago, and the number of casualties has still steadily decreased despite this. According to data from the International Civil Aviation Organization, if we took into account 1 million flights, the odds of being a fatality are approximately a SIXTH of what they were in 1980 – which was a minute number to begin with. As we noted, it’s absolutely understandable to be concerned about flight safety, but please don’t let the new age of media fixation and 24/7 news coverage stop you from taking a plane to your favourite destinations. Now go forth and rack up those frequent flyer miles!

Oxygen masks are there as decoys in case of emergency

“You know why they put oxygen masks on planes? Oxygen gets you high. In a catastrophic emergency, you're taking giant panicked breaths. Suddenly you become euphoric, docile. You accept your fate. It's all right here. Emergency water landing - 600 miles an hour. Blank faces, calm as Hindu cows.” This iconic quote belongs to Tyler Durden from the novel, and widely parroted film adaptation, ‘Fight Club’, and is an interesting (and bleak), but wholly untrue take on oxygen masks. It’s unfortunately one of those cases of where a tidbit is repeated so often, it becomes true in the minds of many, however oxygen masks really do help you breathe at high-altitudes, where rich oxygen is scarce. In the rare chance oxygen masks are deployed during your flight, please do take advantage of them! Do you have any of your own myths that need roundly debunking? Leave us a comment in the comments section below to put your fellow passenger’s minds at ease!