You CAN visit the cockpit on a flight – and other little-known plane secrets revealed by pilot
Pilot Vicky McCarthy, 26, revealed exactly how to get a tour of the cockpit - and what she recommends for those who are scared of flying.
RULES about where passengers can go on a plane have become very strict since 9/11.
But did you know you can still ask to have a guided tour of the cockpit before the plane takes off by asking a flight attendant?
Sun Online Travel spoke to 26-year-old pilot Vicky McCarthy who works on Thomas Cook Airlines as part of the company's new Travel Trends Report.
She currently flies short haul planes around Europe to Spain, Greece and Turkey, as well as longer flights to Egypt and The Gambia.
She revealed a whole host of things you might not know about flying…
You're welcome to check out the cockpit - just ask cabin crew
These days, most of us think the cockpit is out of bounds - but you can have a proper look if you ask nicely.
Vicky says: "A lot of people are scared that they can’t go in,
but if you would like to, just ask. If it’s too busy, the cabin crew
will just tell you - there’s no harm in asking.
"The pilots will be more than happy to answer any questions.
"We also pop out of the cockpit during the flight to use the bathroom or to get a few bits and bobs from the galley, and we’re happy to answer questions then.
"We don’t let people into the cockpit on Thomas Cook during flights, but before the flight, yes.
"If your plane is delayed on the runway then that’s the perfect time."
change their flight path if a storm approaches
Don't sweat if a huge storm is brewing - the pilots will just avoid it.
Routes are planned before a flight takes off, but this can change if very bad weather approaches.
Vicky said: "Weather is an unpredictable thing.
"We plan on weather charts before we leave, but it’s a common
occurrence for pilots to change their routing in accordance with the
weather and with air traffic controllers.
"For us it isn’t a scary situation, we just carry on doing our jobs. We avoid storms mostly for passenger comfort."
Speak to a flight attendant if you're scared of flying
There's a lot of advice out there on breathing techniques when it comes to staying calm if you're scared of flying.
Vicky also recommends speaking to the crew if you're scared of flying - as they are trained in calming and reassuring people.
She said: "They can always explain what is going on and come up and ask the pilots and we can explain it to you, via a message from them, as we can’t actually leave the cockpit during the flight - unless it's to go to the loo!
"If we can give people an explanation then it can help to
reassure people a lot.
"I want people to feel comfortable. I would recommend people ask if they are ever worried or nervous."
Stay off the
booze if you're a nervous flyer
Vicky recommends staying away from alcohol if you're nervous - even though some think it helps to calm nerves.
She said: "I would recommend staying away from alcohol. You’ll want to feel in control and present to calm down, so avoid the booze."
People are still
surprised to see a female pilot
Vicky has faced no difficulties as a female in the industry - but she says people are sometimes still shocked to see their pilot is a woman.
She explains: "The odd passenger gives me a funny look.
"I think it’s just an unfamiliar thing to them – there weren’t many women in the industry in the past."
Don't get too
drunk on board - or the flight may end up being diverted
You might want to get stuck into the booze on board, but make sure you don't have too much.
Vicky said: "If need be, we will divert the plane if someone is too disruptive, so they can be removed from the plane.
"I’ve never had to do this - we don’t take those decisions lightly – but I would if I had to."
doesn't actually fly the plane
"It’s a fantastic tool and it means we can reduce our workload, but the autopilot still requires a human to fly the plane.
"It has to be tuned and we have to react to it and any changes that air traffic control may make to the flight while it's in the air."