Why Can’t You Vape on a Plane?

Why Can’t You Vape on Passenger Jets?

A look at why you can’t smoke e-cigarettes on commercial aircraft?

Why can’t you vape on a plane?

As with smoking, commercial airlines won’t allow you to vape e-cigarettes on flights. Many wonder why they are banned as you might think they pose much less of a fire risk than from a regular cigarette and the vapour dissipates much quicker than smoke. Well there’s a few good reasons why they are banned.

Hold Luggage & Fire Risk

If items of luggage apply pressure to an e-cigarette, it can be activated unintentionally. If it’s continually activated, it can cause the battery to overheat which might result in a fire. As the luggage in the hold is unattended, in the past this has caused in-flight fires.

The Sight of ‘Smoke’

One of the worst situations that can develop in an aircraft is an inflight fire. Cabin Crew are therefore trained to be constantly on guard for sources of smoke. With someone sat down vaping behind a seat, it would be very difficult for the Cabin Crew to tell the difference between real smoke the vapour from an e-cigarette. With a few passengers vaping, a genuine source of smoke might go unnoticed for a prolonged period which could develop into a fire.

Smoke Detectors

Most aircraft smoke detectors can’t differentiate between vapour and smoke. If you vape in the toilets, the smoke detector will go off. This raises in alarm in the flight deck and has to be investigated by the Cabin Crew.

Second Hand Smoke

With fewer and fewer smokers in the population, second hand ‘smoke’ has become increasingly socially unacceptable, as has second hand vapour from e-cigarettes. Given the reducing number of smokers and vapers, it’s reasonable to assume that the vast majority of passengers are quite happy with the airlines decision to ban vaping on flights. Whilst its banned, it’s also just common courtesy not to vape in confined spaces.

If you’ve found this article of interest, check out our page on why there are still No Smoking signs on passenger planes.

Why are there still ‘No Smoking’ signs on planes?

Why are there still no smoking signs on planes?

No smoking signs and ash trays – why are they still there?

Why are there still No Smoking Signs on Planes?

With smoking on planes having been banned for a long time, it’s quite reasonable to ask why there are still no smoking signs and ash trays on planes. It’s not necessarily obvious, but there are a number of reasons as to why they are still there.

Older Aircraft

Up until fairly recently, European and US aircraft were mandated to have an illuminated ‘no smoking’ sign visible to all passengers. The life span of commercial aircraft can extend over twenty years so even though some newer planes have had their no smoking sign replaced with ‘turn off electronic devices’, the vast majority of aircraft still have a no smoking sign installed. However, evern when not mandated, most new commercial aircraft are still fitted with a no smoking sign for the reasons below.

Fire Risk

One of the worst emergencies that can occur on a passenger jet is a fire in the cabin and smoking can be serious fire threat. Simply having a no smoking sign visible to everyone can be enough to stop a passenger lighting up.

New Travellers

Whilst you might be a regular traveller, may people across the world still haven’t ever stepped foot on an aircraft or are travelling on a plane for the very first time. The no smoking sign serves as a reminder for those unfamiliar with air travel that you can’t smoke onboard.


In some cultures, smoking in confined spaces is much more widespread and socially acceptable than others. An aircraft could theoretically be required to operate to any country in the world and therefore a reminder that smoking onboard an aircraft is prohibited is considered good practice.

VIP / Private Operations

It is permitted to smoke on a jet that is being operated privately but smoking will be prohibited at certain points during the flight or ground operation (such as if refuelling). As large commercial jets can still be used for VIP and private operations, no smoking signs are required to inform the passenger when they can and can’t smoke.

Why are there still Ash Trays?

Aircraft still have ash trays in the toilets and very old aircraft might even have them in the arm rest of each seat. The FAA (the US aviation regulator) requires ash trays to be installed in each toilet in case a passenger breaks the rules and lights up a cigarette in the toilet. If they do, having an ash tray provides somewhere which allows the safe disposal of the cigarette rather than putting it in the bin, which is full of combustible materials like paper towels and could start a fire.

EASA (the European regulator) have proposed that ash trays should no longer be mandatory in the aircraft bathrooms. This is based on the fact that it is now widely known and accepted that smoking on aircraft is not allowed whilst on the other hand, having an ash tray visible might even suggest smoking in the toilet is acceptable.

The Penalties

Smoking on a passenger flight in the Western world is against the law. If caught smoking the passenger can be given a significant fine (up to $25,000 in the USA) and banned from future travel by the airline.

If you’ve found this article of interest, check out our page on why you can’t vape on a plane.

Why Do Airlines Dim The Lights For Takeoff?

Why are the cabin lights dimmed for take-off and landing?

A look at the reasons that the lights are turned down for certain stages of flight

Why are the cabin lights dimmed for take-off and landing?

Cabin crew turn down the cabin lights for take off and landing to allow your eyes to adjust to the darkness incase an emergency occurs which requires you to evacuate the aircraft. If your eyes are adjusted to the darkness, your night vision will be improved, allowing you to more easily find a route out of the aircraft to an emergency exit should the need arise.

After the cabin lights have been dimmed, you will have the option to use an overhead light which will give you enough light to keep reading but these lights are of reduced intensity, so your eyes should already be adjusted.

The reason for the cabin lights being dimmed isn’t the same reason the lights are turned down in the cruise (at high altitude enroute) – this is to let you sleep!

Other Cabin Crew Instructions

The Cabin Crew give all the passengers lots of instructions for take off and landing, like turning off laptops, removing ear phones and ensuring the tray tables are stowed. They aren’t just being awkward, it’s actually for a very good reason – your safety and wellbeing if something were to go wrong.

Why do passengers have to put their laptops away?

It’s a similar reason as to why the Cabin Crew ask you to put your laptop away. If the aircraft came to an abrupt stop, anything the size of a laptop would do some serious damage if it hit someone in the head. Therefore it’s in everyones interests that this are stowed in the seat pocket or overhead bin.

Some airlines will allow smaller handheld devices to be used during take off and landing.

Stowing Tray Tables

Cabin Crew ask you to ensure the tray tables are folded in the upright position as in the event of a crash, you’ll flung into it which could cause serious injury or death.

Raising the Window Blinds

You need to be able to see outside in the event of an accident to assess which side is safe to evacuate the aircraft. It’s also to allow the Cabin Crew to be able to look outside and assess any danger and therefore which emergency exits can be used.

Removing Your Earphones

Some airlines have stopped insisting on this, but some airlines still enforce it. Basically there may be an occasion where the Pilots or Cabin Crew command an evacuation of the aircraft even though the reason isn’t obvious. For example a fire in the cargo hold. In this scenario they need you to hear the evacuation instructions immediately and clearly. You don’t want to miss half of it because you’re listening to your favourite band!

Seat in the Upright Position

In the event of needing to adopt the brace position, the seat in front of you needs to have it’s seat in the upright position to make it as effective as possible. So moving your seat into the upright position is actually for the safety of the person behind you, not for you!

If you found this page of interest, check out are article on why the Cabin Crew insist on the window blinds being open for take off and landing.

How clean is air on a plane?

How clean is the air on a plane?

Am I more likely to get sick by travelling on a plane?

Is the air on a plane safe & clean?

Yes, the air on an aircraft is clean, filtered and perfectly safe.

The entire air within the aeroplane cabin is replaced with fresh air approximately every five minutes. The air that is recycled within the passenger cabin passes through a HEPA filter which filters out almost all viruses (including Covid-19) and removes over 99% of bacteria.

How much of the air is fresh?

It varies from aircraft to aircraft, but at any given time approximately 60% of the air within an aircraft is fresh compared to 40% recirculated / reused air. On many aircraft types, the cockpit and therefore the pilots get 100% fresh air.

What filters the aircraft air?

Most aircraft use High-Efficiency Particle Filters (HEPA) to filter the recirculated air. These are the same filters found in hospitals and kill more than 99% of bacteria and stop particles which can carry viruses.

How air on a plane works…

The outside air temperature at the plane’s cruise altitude (approximately 35,000 feet) is as cold as -65°C / -85°F and is so thin that it doesn’t hold enough oxygen for humans to breathe. Therefore, an air conditioning system is used to provide air to passenger cabin which ensures a breathable and comfortable cabin environment for the passengers and crew.

This pressurised air is regulated by the Environmental Control System and Air Conditioning ‘Packs’. The process of pressurising the aircraft starts with air entering part of the engine. Before some of the air goes through the engine combustion process (where air mixes with fuel and ignites to produce thrust), it is redirected into the aircraft’s ‘bleed’ system. This basically means the air from the first part of the engine is fed into various aircraft systems such as the air conditioning and anti-ice systems. This air has been compressed through the initial stages of the engine and therefore it needs to be cooled down.

Once the air has been cooled to the correct temperature, this fresh air which has been compressed, is directed to the recirculation bay where it is mixed with air that has already been fed through the cabin. Once the two sources of air are mixed, this mixed air is directed to the aeroplane cabin for passengers to breathe.

          Recycling of Air

The air then disappears under the floor towards the cargo hold. Some of the air is again mixed with the fresh air whilst the rest leaves the aircraft via the ‘outflow valve’ which is normally found at the rear of the aircraft. The amount of air entering the aircraft is a fairly steady rate; it is the amount of air which leaves the aircraft by the outflow valve which dictates the pressure of the passenger cabin (typically about 6-8psi). The cabin is typically pressurised to an altitude of 8,000ft (see our article on why planes fly so high).

The key point is that the majority of the air is ‘fresh’ (i.e. hasn’t previously been in the passenger cabin) and is also filtered to remove contaminants prior to being distributed to the passenger cabin.

Am I more likely to get ill from being on an aeroplane?

You are at no more risk of getting sick from being a passenger on an aeroplane than you are at being at any other large gathering such as bar, or cinema.

Being on an aeroplane is the equivalent of being in an enclosed space with lots of people except that the air within an aircraft is heavily filtered unlike most other comparable examples. There is a risk of a disease or virus being passed on, but it’s no more than any other enclosed space and arguably less as the air is effectively filtered.

Think of going to a concert, sporting event or even a busy bar. If you are within close proximity to someone who is ill with contagious disease or virus, you are more likely to catch it. However, if people are wearing appropriate personal protective equipment such as face masks, the distance of travel of any contaminants is significantly reduced.

Another point to consider is that the air on an aircraft is dry with low humidity. This dries out the mucus membranes within your nasal passage and this increases susceptibility to virus transmission. However, again, as the air is filtered, the chances of a virus being present in the first place is low.

So, yes, the risk is higher than if you are sat at home by yourself, but arguably safer than a crowded enclosed space such as the cinema.

Article Details:

This article was written by a current airline pilot who has experience as a Training Captain, Pilot Mangement, Wide Bodied and Narrow Bodied Aircraft over Long Haul & Short Haul Operations.

Do Pilots Get Cheap Flights?

Do Pilots Get Cheap or Free Flights?

A look at if pilots get cheap or free flights as a perk of the job

Do Pilots Get Cheap Flights?

Yes, as a perk of the job most pilots have access too heavily discounted or even free flights. It varies between airlines and across countries but it is generally accepted that pilots and their friends or family get access to cheap flight tickets. This article provides a general guide but there will be subtle differences between airlines.

Discounted Flights & ID90

Many airlines give their pilots access to unlimited travel on what is called an ‘ID90’ basis. ID90 is where the flight ticket price is discounted by 90% but on a standby basis, i.e. they will only get on the flight if there is a spare seat available – if the flight is full they won’t get on. These tickets will see the pilots seated anywhere from First Class to Economy depending on where the spare seats are.

It can be a very useful perk of the job given that it gives you the opportunity to potentially travel to the other side of the world for a fraction of the usual cost (sometimes just £150/$200), but it can be a bit nerve racking if you really need to get home, the flight is full and you are waiting to see if someone doesn’t turn up so you can have their seat!

Airlines usually have reciprocal staff travel agreements with other airlines. This can mean pilots may have access to cheap tickets across a range of airlines around the world.

Free Flights

As well as ID90 travel, some airlines offer their pilots a number of ‘confirmed tickets’ for free every year. This will usually guarantee a seat on the aircraft and would usually be for a seat in First or Business Class. However, whilst there might not be a fare for the ticket, in some circumstances (such as the UK) you will still be required to pay tax on the ticket.

Such agreements aren’t usually exclusive to pilots. Cabin Crew and other airline workers often have access to similar opportunities but their agreements may be slightly different.

If you found this article of interest, check out our page on how much airline pilots get paid.

Do Pilots Work Hard?

Do Pilots Work Hard?

A look into the reality of how many hours a pilot typically works in an average week

Do Airline Pilots Work Hard?

Over a number of years, certain airline executives, parts of the media and even some members of the UK Parliament have stated on various platforms that “airline pilots only work 17 hours a week” and don’t really work very hard. Any commercial airline pilot will tell you this statement is misleading and ultimately serves to undermine the airline pilot profession. This article seeks to explain why.

The reality is that a full time pilot will work much more than an average of 17 hours a week. The 17 hours figure is just based on flight time, not the time actually spent at work and doesn’t take into account annual leave and other rostered duties.

The background behind pilots working hours

In Europe and across much of the World, Pilots are limited in the number of hours they are allowed to fly for safety reasons. These limits are imposed by the aviation regulator (such as EASA or the FAA) which governs the airlines. This important restriction is in place to protect pilots (and thus ultimately passengers) from fatigue, a physiological state which is known to be detrimental to flight safety. Whilst there are complex definitions for fatigue, it can be simply summarised as extreme tiredness or exhaustion.

Long Haul pilots will regularly be awake and flying throughout the night whilst Short Haul pilots will often be getting up at 4am for several days in a row. In both cases it often results in being awake when the circadian rhythm is at its lowest, something which is known to cause fatigue and potentially long-term health implications. Given that pilots are responsible for the safety of hundreds of people at a time and may need to deal with an emergency situation at any point, it’s vital that pilots are well rested and not overworked, hence the hour restrictions in place.

These limits (in Europe) restrict the pilots to a maximum of 100 flight hours in 28 days and 900 flight hours in 1 year.

The misleading figure of only working 17 hours a week comes from dividing the maximum number of flying hours per year (900) by the number of weeks in a year (52).

A pilot’s flying hours are closely scrutinised, with both the pilot and airline required to keep a log of their hours flown and ensure these limits are not breeched.

Why the average working hours for pilots is misleading…

The inference that airline pilots only work 17 hours a week is derived from a maximum yearly flying hour average. However flying hours are not the same as hours at work.

The pilots flight time commences when the aircraft’s parking brake is released for pushback from the gate and it ends when the aircraft comes to a stop on stand at its destination. It is this time which is restricted by the 900 hours per year.

For example, if an aircraft pushed back from Manchester Airport at 09:00, took off at 09:30 then landed in Chicago at 16:30 and arrived in on stand at 17:00, this would equate to an 8-hour flight time for the pilots, even though the airborne time was only 7 hours.

What isn’t taken into account in the flight time is that the pilots will have arrived for duty typically an hour to an hour and a half before the flight to complete their pre-flight duties and that they will be on duty for at least 30 minutes after the arrival at the gate. The time on the ground for turn arounds (the gap between flights) is also not counted as flight time.

Pilot Flying Hours vs Working Hours Example

Let’s take a typical short haul pilot roster as an example. Say this pilot, called Bob, is about to start a 4-day week of early duties. On the first 2 of the days, Bob is doing a 4-sector day (this mean 4 flights in a day such Stansted – Dublin – Stansted then Stansted – Paris – Stansted). On the other 2 days, Bob is working a 2-sector day (Luton – Alicante – Luton).

Day 1, Bob reports one hour before the flight is scheduled to depart. When Bob lands in Dublin, there is a 30-minute turnaround. When Bob lands back in Stansted, there is a 1 hour turnaround before heading off to Paris and a further 40-minute turnaround in Paris. When he eventually lands back at Stansted on the last flight, he is on duty for a further 30 minutes to complete the post flight paperwork.

In such an example (which is very realistic), Bob has worked 3 hours and 40 minutes more than the actual flight time for the day indicates.

Bob does the same pattern on day 2.

On day 3 Bob has the same pre-flight report and post flight duties time. There is a 45-minute turnaround in Alicante, resulting in a total additional time at work of 2 hours and 15 minutes.

Bob does the same pattern on day 4 as he did on day 3.

In this 4-day working block, Bob has therefore worked 11 hours and 50 minutes on top of the flight time. This quickly turns an average of 17 hours a week into a 28:50 week.

How the average works…

So, you are probably thinking that a 28:50 week does sound too bad? But that’s not the whole story. That initial 17-hour average has been calculated assuming pilots fly every single week of the year and are not rostered any other duties or given any annual leave.

Pilots are typically given around six weeks annual leave (free of flying) a year. But in the remaining 46 weeks of the year, they can’t fly every week due to the annual training they need to complete in both the simulator and classroom. Let’s call this an additional 1 week free from flying. So actually the 900 hours should be averaged over 45 weeks the pilot can work, giving an average figure of 20 flying hours a week.

Add Bob the Short Haul pilot’s typical week of an additional 11 hours 50 minutes at work not flying, we’re now up to about 32 hours a week average (almost double the 17 hours stated by some people).

32 hours a week doesn’t sound a lot…

If you take into account that Bob may regularly be working a 5-day work period where his alarm goes off at 04:00 (am) to be at work for 05:30 every day, or perhaps working until 1am in the morning, limiting the total number of hours Bob can work is essential to ensure he is well rested enough to be responsible for the lives of hundreds of people a day.

Whilst some might suggest a more realistic average of around 32 hours work a week still isn’t a lot when compared to other professions, when you take into account the continuous changes in body clock and disruption to the circadian rhythm as well as time spent away from home, averaging a 32-hour week can feel like a lot.

Why say pilots only work 17 hours a week?

It’s usually said by someone who is looking to downplay the role of a professional pilot in order to put pressure on terms and conditions. It’s then picked up by the media and printed as a fact, without the reference to the whole picture.

Next time you hear that ‘Pilots only work 17 hours a week’, you know the truth.

If you enjoyed reading this article, you’ll probably find our page about a typical pilot roster of interest.

What Speed Does the B777 Take-off and Land?

At what speed does a Boeing 777 passenger jet take-off and land at?

A look at the speeds the long haul work horse, the Boeing 777, takes off and lands at

What speed does a Boeing 777 take off and land at?

The Boeing 777-200ER take off or rotate speed (VR) typically varies between 130 – 160 knots (roughly 120-180 mph) depending on the weight of the aircraft. At a typical take-off weight of around 230,000 kgs, the take off speed would be approximately 145 kts which is approximately 165 mph.

A typical landing speed (or speed over the threshold known as VREF) at a landing weight of 190,000 KGS is approximately 135 kts or 155 mph.

To converts nautical miles per hours (knots or kts) to miles per hour (mph), multiply the knots by 1.15.

The speed at which aircraft take-off and land is varied by weight, temperature, altitude and pressure.

Ever wondered what speed the Boeing 747 ‘Jumbo Jet’ takes off and lands at? Check out our article.

Pilot Uniform Guide: What do the stripes mean?

Pilot Uniform Guide: What do the stripes mean?

What does 4, 3, 2 or 1 stripe mean on a pilots uniform?

What do the number of stripes on a Pilot’s uniform mean?

The number of stripes on a pilots uniform indicate their rank. Ranks are generally split into the following:

  • Training Captain
  • Captain
  • Senior First Officer
  • First Officer
  • Second Officer
  • Cadet/Trainee

There is no worldwide standardisation of stripes across airlines. Different airlines choose to issue a different number of stripes to their pilots depending on their rank, which also varies on experience levels within the airline. The only standardisation is that there is almost always a Captain and First Officer operating the flight (unless it’s a training flight). The Captain and First Officer are sometimes known as a Pilot and Co-pilot).

Training Captain

A Training Captain has all the responsibilities of a normal Captain, but also trains other pilots. A pilot who is new to the aircraft type or company will fly with a Training Captain until they reach the required standard to fly with a normal Captain. Training Captains are more senior than normal Captain’s, a generally paid more and need to be specifically selected after showing continuous above average performance.

Despite a Training Captain being more senior than the rank of Captain, they both wear the same number of stripes on their uniform at the vast majority of airlines. A Training Captain therefore wear 4 stripes on there uniform.


The Captain (sometimes referred to as ‘Pilot’) is ultimately in charge of the aircraft, it’s crew and occupants, unless they are flying with a Training Captain (where the Training Captain would be in charge).

The Captain wear 4 stripes on their uniform.

Senior First Officer

Generally speaking a Senior First Officer is someone who has over approximately 1,500 hours of total flight time. Some airlines may have additional requirements, such as holding a full ATPL or being almost ‘command ready‘ which is an airline’s way of saying they have the ability to be promoted to Captain but are waiting for a position to become available.

Anyone other than the rank of Captain or Training Captain is sometimes referred to as the ‘Co-Pilot’.

A Senior First Officer has 3 stripes on their uniform.

First Officer

The First Officer usually wears 2 or 3 stripes depending on the airline. Some First Officers are automatically issued 3 stripes from their day of joining (typically at Long Haul airlines), whereas some start of with 2 and only get 3 when they are promoted to Senior First Officer.

Second Officer

Some (but not all) airlines use the role of Second Officer. This sometimes means a cruise relief pilot (i.e. not sat at the controls for take-off and landing until their experience levels increase).

The Second Officer would normally have 2 stripes on their uniform.

Cadet/Trainee Pilot

Whilst at flight School, cadet pilots could wear any number of stripes depending on the choosing of that specific flight school. Students will often wear 1 stripe when they hold a Commercial Pilots Licence (CPL) and then 2 stripes once their Instrument Rating (IR) is completed.

Some flight schools even issue 3 stripes to their trainee pilots, although this seems a bit over the top given they have not even operated a commercial aircraft at this point!

What Effects The Cost Of Flying?

What effects the cost of flying?

An inside view of the costs and obstacles airlines have in operating aircraft around the world every day.

What effects the cost of flying?

Most airlines now assess their cost base by using CASK – Cost per available seat kilometre. As most airlines calculate their costs this way it is easy to see how an airline compares with cost control to their competitors, provided that information is available.

Over the last fifteen years signficant emphasis has been placed on airline cost control as low cost carrier have emerged as some of the worlds largest airlines.

Even the large flag / legacy carriers such as Lufthansa, British Airways and KLM have been trying to reduce their costs in recent years to boost profitability and a return to their share holders which therefore attracts further investors. This supports the airline  to raise further capital and invest in new aircraft to compete with the cash rich Middle Eastern carriers.


One of the airlines largest costs is its staff. Out of it’s staff, the largest groups include pilots and Cabin Crew. Other departments include HR, IT, call centre, marketing, legal, commercial, management, operations, cargo, handling, admin and engineering just to name a few.

The trend in the last 10 years has been to sub-contract out a signifcant amount of work to reduce staffing costs. As a result, the airline might be more flexible and adaptable although quality might be compromised. Many airlines now employ third party companies to staff their front of house including check in and boarding gate staff and their ramp operations including baggage handlers and pushback crews.


In terms of actual operating costs the biggest variable is the fuel price. This is directly related to the price of crude oil. To attempt to smooth out fluctuations in the price of fuel most large airlines fuel hedge. This involves buying fuel in advance and is a little bit like playing the stock market. Airlines will have specific staff to do this or will sub-contract the work to an organisation that specialises. Currently fuel is the cheapest it is has been for some time due to crude oil over supply.

While the fuel price is low airlines are much more likely to hold onto older, less efficient aircraft as they will be cheap to operate. The airline would either own these older aircraft or the leasing costs would be low due to lack of demand for the aircraft as it is more mature. The most efficient long haul aircraft will be the B787 and the A350, these aircraft are made of lighter materials and have huge bypass efficient turbofan engines and therefore burn less fuel than comparable aircraft.

The global economy can have a significant impact on costs, whilst global recessions and fears of terrorism can reduce revenue as passengers may fly less we are only discussing costs in this article.

Most airlines buy their fuel in US dollars so they are also dependent on exchange rates. For example the recent Brexit vote in the U.K. Saw a sharp fall in the U.K. Pound against the US dollar. Overnight this increased the cost of fuel for U.K. airlines and is something they have no control over.


After fuel the next biggest cost that an airline has little control over is disruption. More recently this has been due to air traffic control strikes in Europe. If an airline cancels or significantly delays a service then the airline must still look after the welfare of their customers including hotel accommodation where required.

Sometimes an airline may divert to a different airport for a number of reasons including technical, weather or medical. If the crew do not have enough available flying hours remaining then the passengers and crew will need to stay over.

These costs are massive as not only will you have the hotel costs and on a long haul service you could have over 350 passengers and crew, the bookings will be at short notice and could be up to £100 per person. Meals and drinks would also need to be provided. There would be handling fees incurred at the diversion airport to provide steps, baggage onload and offload, fuel, boarding and checkin, cleaning and catering.

However, on top of all these costs you have the knock on effect, the return flight would be delayed meaning those passengers would more than likely require hotel accommodation, food and drink. On top of all of this EU regulations now stipulate compensation must be paid to passengers if flights are cancelled or heavily delayed.


Airlines also have to pay landing and parking fees. These not only cover the cost of airports providing runways and ATC but also cover the costs of airport services such as immigration and customs facilities. Airlines have little control over these fees as the only control they have is threatening to pull out of the airport if the airport tries to increase charges, Ryanair and others employ this tactic.


Pilots can save airlines a lot of money. They can save fuel by not loading extra fuel when it is not required and flying the aircraft as efficiently as possible which takes planning, airmanship and skill. They can also taxi in and out with reduced engines operating.

Pilots can also save their airline a lot of money by making sound commercial decisions. Naturally a Captain’s role is to make every decision based on the safest course of action, however there may be different options that are just as safe but can have varying impacts on the airline in terms of cost. For example it could be a decision to divert to two different airports, one may have much higher operating costs or more expensive fuel and hotels. Yet it may be just as safe to divert to another airport that has lower costs and more infrastructure.

Aircraft & Engineering

The purchase and upkeep costs of multi million pound aircraft are very significant. Many airlines lease their aircraft rather than own them.

In summary unlike most businesses airlines cannot control many of their costs so the costs they do have control over they will try to be extremely proactive in controlling!

Opening Window Blinds for Takeoff & Landing

Why are passengers asked raise the aircraft window blinds for take off and landing?

A look at the reasons that the the CabinCcrew ask passengers to ensure the window shutters are up for some stages of flight

Why do passenger have to open the window blinds for take off and landing?

It’s probably not the comforting answer you were hoping for, but, its to be able to assess where the danger might be (for example an outside fire) if you are required to evacuate the aircraft in an emergency situation should something go wrong during take off or landing, which is statistically the most dangerous phase of flight. It allows the Cabin Crew to identify which emergency exits are suitable to evacuate from should this be required.

By having the window blinds open, it also raises the passengers situational awareness. For example, if you as a passenger have seen there is a fire on the right side of the aircraft, you will seek to evacuate the aircraft to the left hand side where possible.

This is particularly important if the Cabin Crew have become incapacitated and you are trying to evacuate the aircraft without assistance. It helps increase your overall “situational awareness” and thus chances of survival should the worst happen. Always make sure you have your shoes on for take-off and landing – being barefooted could seriously hamper your ability to evacuate the aircraft quickly. You should however, always remove high heels before going down an evacuation slide as you might tear it.