Plane secrets: Aircraft carry all kinds of apparatus and tools that passengers rarely get to see, or even suspect might be on board. Most are there to deal with situations that rarely arise, and they’ll only ever be deployed in an emergency.
Here are a few, and in case you were wondering, parachutes are not among them. Handcuffs “Passenger restraint” is the polite term, and yes, you can bet they’re on board. Usually they’re a plastic item sold under the commercial name Tuff-Ties which some militaries also use and they’re not unlike cable ties, although stronger and more flexible. The restraint might also be the more heavy duty Hawaii Five-O stainless steel product. Crew will break them out to restore order if a passenger looks like getting out of hand and threatens violence to another passenger or themselves. Crew rest compartments Rest time is mandated for pilots and crew on long haul flights but you won’t see them skipping out in the main cabin.
Compartments are found on all long-haul aircraft, although they differ from one aircraft type to another. They’re essentially full-length single beds with either curtains or partitions for privacy. On the A380 they’re bunk beds, stacked three high.
CRCs are usually found above the main cabin, accessed via a secret staircase, as on Boeing’s 787 Dreamliner. Pilots often have their own sleeping compartment separate from the cabin crew.
Defibrillator It’s not mandated medical equipment but many airlines equip their aircraft with defibrillators. Qantas was one of the first airlines to introduce defibrillators on all its aircraft and all US-based commercial airlines are now required to carry them. They’re also carried on all Emirates, British Airways, Lufthansa, easyJet and Virgin Atlantic flights. In two thousand and fifteen a coroner called for all commercial aircraft to carry defibrillators after a 47-year-old British woman suffered a cardiac arrest and died on a Ryanair flight. Later that year Ryanair boss Michael O’Leary announced that all 400 of the carrier’s aircraft would carry defibrillators.
Sky marshals That buffed looking guy with the military haircut? It’s not him. But it could be the slightly nerdy looking one in the floppy jacket, or the woman in the pants suit, but you’d better hope you never find out. If you discover for sure who the sky marshal is on your flight then things just got very ugly. They are there to maintain the safety of the aircraft and its passengers, mainly against terrorists. They carry sidearms but will only spring into action in an extreme situation.