The number of people in the air at any one time is climbing steadily toward one million – and at this time of year, many people around the world are planning a flight.
Here at BBC Future, we believe in travelling smart. So here are some surprising facts about air travel, plucked from our archive:
1. Full body scanners in security no longer reveal your naked body to staff – they were modified after an outcry.
Read more: “The new tech changing airport security”
2. The Airbus A380 can carry as many as 853 passengers. It’s so big that the hangars at Heathrow had to be modified to fit it.
Read more: “Up close and personal with the A380”
3. Planes can take off almost vertically if they need to, due to spare engine power. They won’t do it on commercial flights – but it does look cool.
Read more: “How planes make jaw-dropping take-offs”
4. During testing, plane wings survive being bent to around 90 degrees – so a bit of turbulence is fine.
Read more: “The extreme tests planes go through before taking off”
5. Some airport designers aim to subtly shape your behaviour at departure gates, by redesigning seating. Sometimes, seats are limited to make you shop or eat.
Read more “Mind games to beat bad behaviour on planes”
6. Our tastebuds change in flight. Airlines have to add extra salt into food because the pressurised air makes it harder for us to taste.
Read more: “Why does food taste different on planes?”
7. You’re not imagining it; we fart more on planes. That’s why they are often fitted with charcoal filters to stop noxious odours spreading.
Read more: “Why do we fart more on planes?”
8. The best way to reduce jetlag is to start preparing for your new time zone before you start flying.
Read more: “The science of jetlag”
9. Despite high-profile crashes in recent years, flying is statistically safer than ever before.
Browse the data: “Flight risk infographic: Exploring commercial passenger plane incidents since 1993” (Last updated early 2015)
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