5 Myths About Flying That Are Complete Phooey

No, the cabin air doesn't make you sick

It’s only natural: When you’re cruising at 32,000 feet, your mind starts to wander. Will my cell phone cause us to crash? Where does the air in here come from? Who’s really steering this thing? But relax. A lot of commonplace “up in the air” myths aren’t actually rooted in fact. Here are some fears, debunked.

Myth: If You Don't Turn Off Your Phone, The Plane Will Crash

Truth: Aviation guidelines only require you to turn off your iPhone because there’s a teeeeeeny, tiny chance it could interfere with aircraft systems. That said, no one has actually proven it to cause a problem. (In fact, studies show that it’s fine.) Still, it’s technically a rule that the crew must abide by. So do the flight attendants a favor (ahem, Alec Baldwin) and read a magazine, OK?

Myth: Recirculated Cabin Air Makes You Sick

Truth: Nope. This may surprise you, but air in the plane is actually very clean. More so than any other small space you might inhabit. It’s regularly replaced by pressurized air from outside, plus it passes through hospital-quality filters that remove 99.97 percent of germs like airborne bacteria and viruses. If you do get sick, there may be other culprits at play (tray tables, seat arms, your toddler seatmate). Two words: Hand sanitizer.

Myth: You Get Drunk Much Faster Up In The Air

Truth: Sorry, friends, you probably just had one too many gin and tonics. (Oops, with a side of Xanax.) Studies have shown that while altitude can make you sleepier, it doesn’t have any effect on blood alcohol levels. So pace yourself. There are other ways to relax.

Myth: You Might Accidentally Open The Safety Door In Flight

Truth: And be sucked out into the sky? (À la Amy Schumer on SNL?) Maybe. Technically. But here’s the thing: When the plane is at cruising altitude, it’s pressurized. That means you’d need superhuman strength to pry open the door. You’re not likely to bump it on the way to the bathroom. Chill out.

Myth: If You Mark Luggage "fragile," It Will Get Treated With Care

Truth: Not necessarily. All the luggage of all the passengers (sometimes 200+ bags) still has to fit in the given cargo space--quickly. The crew doesn’t have the time (nor would spend it) to make sure that antique you bought in Paris doesn’t get smashed. Your best bet for a delicate vacation purchase? Ship it.