Air travel myths demystified

Between now and the end of summer (if you can call it such) many of you will jet off to sunnier climes. And who’d blame you. If the price is right and you have the dosh go for it. Go now. Immediately.

Between now and the end of summer (if you can call it such) many of you will jet off to sunnier climes. And who’d blame you. If the price is right and you have the dosh go for it. Go now. Immediately.

Flee these Godforsaken grey skies and soccer blues for somewhere, anywhere, warm and balmy where there’s no talk of soccer, Mick Wallace or bailouts (and could the IMF bail out our boys in green, I wonder, ‘cause if they could we would be indebted to them forever – which sounds all too familiar) In the meantime, as you pack your bag and suntan lotion here are some interesting angles on some of the most common air travel myths - from the consequences of using your mobile during a flight to crossing the infamous Bermuda Triangle.

MYTH 1: The recycled air in an aeroplane cabin quickly spreads germs and sickness. FALSE

Air circulates in an aeroplane cabin approximately every three to five minutes. For that reason, some travellers believe that this constantly cycles germs through the air supply. However, aeroplanes use sophisticated filters designed to extract 99.5 per cent of germs and viruses from the air, potentially making it cleaner than the air you breathe on the ground.

MYTH 2: Flights still do not cross the Bermuda Triangle. FALSE

Planes fly over the Bermuda Triangle every single day. It’s a major flight route from Florida to Bermuda and the Bahamas. The legend started decades ago when a researcher outlined an area he was studying regarding lost vessels and aircraft. Nothing came of it until the research was again unearthed in the late 60s, early 70s and the legend became an overnight sensation. Many disappearances have been explained in purely logical terms and planes fly over the region several times a day.

MYTH 3: The cost of fares doesn’t differ depending on which day of the week you book. FALSE

The difference in cost between flights booked at the weekend and those booked on a weekday can be quite significant. Looking at historical data the flight experts at Fly.com suggest that booking flights on a Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday will usually net you a far better fare. But I think we all knew that.

MYTH 4: If the plane crashes, you’re doomed. FALSE

The idea of a plane crash is enough to perturb even the most seasoned travel but when the US Government’s National Transportation Safety Board studied air accidents over 20 years they recorded a survival rate of over 95 per cent. What’s more, the chances of dying on your next flight are calculated to be one in 60 million, making air travel hundreds of times safer than travelling by car.

MYTH 5: Electronic devices interfere with a plane’s navigational system. FALSE

It is widely believed that mobile phones could adversely affect the navigational instruments in an aeroplane’s cockpit; however there is currently no credible evidence for this. Aeroplanes are specially insulated against foreign radio signals, and their communication and navigation instruments operate on different frequencies from mobile phones, meaning that phone signals are unlikely to interfere with the plane’s satnav. The ban is actually in place to prevent communication problems on the ground. If someone makes a phone call from a plane, the signal would bounce across multiple signal towers at once, which could prevent other calls from going through.

MYTH 6: Cheap flights are helping less wealthy people travel. FALSE

It’s actually the wealthiest people who are benefiting from the growth in budget air travel. People with second homes abroad make most use of cheap air travel, taking anything from two to six return flights every year.

MYTH 7: You are likely to get drunk quicker on an aeroplane. FALSE

According to an old saying, one in the air is worth three on the ground. That isn’t strictly true; it’s your blood alcohol level that determines levels of intoxication and this is not affected in any way by altitude. However, with less oxygen reaching the brain because of the high altitude and the pressurised cabin, it might cause passengers to feel more inebriated. So, it’s all in the head I’m afraid. Cheers. And bon voyage.