Flying fears: We've all got them. Even the most well-traveled flyer can get a little shaken up by a thunderstorm, or a little worried about catching a cold from germs in a plane. You don't necessarily need to have aviophobia — an intense fear of flying — itself to feel anxious or worried about a certain part of your flight.
If you find yourself getting bothered by flying fears, even if you're not usually scared to board a plane, rest assured you're not alone. Even better news? We have some info that we think will make you feel a whole lot better.
Planes are built with lightning and thunderstorms in mind.
Thunderstorms always seem a little more frightening up in the air than they do on the ground, don't they? (Maybe it has to do with the fact that we're so much closer to the, gulp, source of the storm.) But as JetBlue explained on its airline blog, airplanes are built and bonded so that lightning moves along an intentionally-created path along the outside of the plane (read: not inside) and exits through the tail or the wingtip (read: not you!).
Also, many newer planes today are built from composite material as opposed to metal, and the former is much less attractive to electricity. And of course, there's weather radar systems, which are equipped to help your pilots avoid stormy weather and bumpy flights as much as possible. The key takeaway from JetBlue? Watching a storm from outside a plane isn't much different from watching it outside your car or home.
If your plane turns around before it lands, this usually isn't a cause for concern.
As worrisome as this move may be to many passengers, it's actually securing the safety of everyone on the plane — and everyone else in the air, for that matter. Some cities have very tight airspaces with a lot of planes coming in and out, and some, like New York City, even have multiple major airports nearby each other, making navigation a challenge. So turning the plane around ensures that passengers have the safest landing possible. And even in smaller airports, weather conditions play a huge role in the pilots deciding when to land — and the best route to get here. In other words, if your pilot ever does this, be sure to give him or her an extra big "thank you!"
You can't get sick from "recycled germs" on a plane.
If you believed in this myth, don't feel silly — a whopping 44 percent of travelers do, according to a recent study. But planes actually have special filters that can effectively capture 99.9995 percent of microbes and germs found in the air. Now, that said, just because the air isn't as dirty as you thought it was doesn't mean you should feel free to touch surfaces on the plane freely. The seat buckle, tray table in front of you, and, naturally, the restroom door, are perfect places for germs to land on. In other words, practice the same good hygiene habits — like refraining from touching those surfaces and washing your hands after you leave the plane — that you always have!
The next time you get on an extra-long flight, here's what you should wear to stay comfy: