Most Popular Airline Passenger Questions

Ask Your Pilot

What’s on your mind when you fly? Whether you enjoy flying or not, air travel is a mode of transportation vital to safely transporting you anywhere you want to go in the world.

Airline passengers are asking me a lot of questions about air travel. Some questions come up occasionally, while other questions are asked on a frequent basis.

Captain Les standing outside the B767 simulator
Captain Les outside the Boeing 767 Simulator during his annual sim check ride.

Here you can find the answers to the most popular aviation questions asked by your fellow passengers. There is no such things as a “dumb” question.

So if you have anything you’d like to ask I am always available to answer any aviation-related question that YOU may have.

Simply send me your question HERE.

Sincerely, Captain Les

How can you make sure you arrive at the airport on time for your departure?

Learn Captain Jetson’s tips for figuring out how HERE.

Do you have recourse if a cheaper airfare is found on the same airline, same flight, days later?

Read the answer HERE.

Are Pilots Allowed To Sleep During Flights?

Answer to this question is HERE.

How does a pilot drive the airplane on the ground?

Read the answer HERE

On the early Boeing 737’s there were small windows placed above the captain and co-pilot in the cockpit. These were removed in later models. Did these serve any purpose other than a bit of better views? Why were they replaced?

Read the answer HERE.

How do cars and buses on the airport tarmac know when it’s safe to drive around airplanes?

At airports with a control tower the vehicle traffic is monitored and approved by the Ground Controller, who is located in the control tower. Safe traffic coordination when i.e. crossing a runway is done via radio communication between the vehicle operator and the Ground Controller.

Where does airplane toilet waste go?

The toilet waste is collected into a tank, which is emptied on the ground. Water from the faucet also goes into this same tank. When you flush the toilet, the waste is vacuum-sucked into a blue-colored mix of chemicals called Skykem. Skykem disifects and kills the waste odor.

From the toilet the waste enters pipes that travel the length of the airplane to the aft, where the waste tank is physically located.

On the ground a toilet waste service truck is used to attach a hose to the airplane. The airplane’s waste is then sucked into the truck for disposal.

The amount of waste typically produced on a large airplane, long-haul flight exceeds 200 gallons. Each toilet disposes of .55 gallon of Skykem per flush.

Where is the best place to sit on a plane for turbulence?

The best place to sit is over the wing where the center of gravity (the pivot point) of your airplane is located. There you will feel the least effect of any turbulence.

When Can Planes Fly In Bad Weather?

Airliners are all equipped to fly in bad weather, thanks to modern instrumentation and on board radar equipment.

The worst of bad weather is easily avoided, such as thunderstorms and icing conditions, thanks to on board equipment, as well as coordination with air traffic control and reports from other pilots.

Can the airplane fall apart in strong turbulence?

You can read about that here.

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Which airplane seat is the best?

This is strictly a passenger’s personal preference, which differs from person to person. For instance, do you prefer a window seat or an aisle seat?

Of course, a first class seat is much better than a coach class seat.

If you prefer extra legroom, then emergency exits, door exits, or bulk head seats are best. But even an emergency exit seat can have drawbacks.

Let’s say your airplane has a row of three seats designated as overwing emergency exit seats. Then chances are that the seat-backs along the seat row exit path leading to the window cannot be declined. So, in that situation, you would have extra leg space, but you cannot recline that seat.

Which airplane can carry the most passengers?

The airplane that can carry the most passengers today is the Airbus A380-800. It’s designed to hold up to 853 passengers in a single-class economy configuration. In that configuration, it would hold 538 passengers on the main deck, and 315 on the upper deck.

However, no airlines would order their A380 in an all-coach class configuration. For instance, a typical mixed configuration of different cabin classes, from economy class (also called coach) to premium economy class, to business class and all the way up to first class seating would configure the seats to hold 471 passengers total on the A380.

How do airplane wings generate lift?

This is explained in detail in our article here.

What’s the highest paying job in aviation?

Airline CEO’s and Airplane manufacturer CEO’s at Boeing and Airbus are the highest paid executives in the airline world.

Why do airplane wings bend?

Learn about the wonderful design of wing flex here!

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