The hidden features on a plane you never noticed – from hidden handrails to buttons that give you more space

IT’S been a while since most of us have been on a plane – but we bet you can’t remember most of these features from your last flight.

Did you know about the secret handrail below the overhead lockers? Or a hole in the window which could save your life?

 Just below the overhead lockers, you'll find a handy extra hand rail


Just below the overhead lockers, you’ll find a handy extra hand railCredit: Getty – Contributor

Aeroplanes are meticulously designed to ensure the safety and comfort of their passengers and chances are you aren’t making the most of some features – read on to find out more.

Rail underneath the overhead lockers

According to Conde Nast Traveller most airplanes built in the past fifteen years feature an integrated handrail just under the overhead lockers.

If you’ve ever seen a member of cabin crew running their hand along the overhead compartment – what you’ve actually witnessed is them steadying themselves on this “secret” handrail.

The rail also offers passengers a nifty alternative to grabbing hold of the headrests of fellow passengers – annoying them in the process.

 Want some more space to sleep comfortably? Find the hidden button underneath the arm rest


Want some more space to sleep comfortably? Find the hidden button underneath the arm restCredit: Getty – Contributor

Hidden button under the armrest

There’s also a “secret” button which few air passengers know about, which allows you to lift the armrest on the aisle.

Underneath the armrest, you’ll find it close to the hinge.

Once pressed, the armrest can move upwards so that it’s flush with the back of your seat, giving you more room – a premium in times of shrinking seat sizes.

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Originally designed as a safety measure to allow travellers to escape more quickly in an emergency it is also used by crew to help passengers with disabilities to get in and out of their seats.

Tiny holes in plane windows

Even frequent flyers might not have noticed that there are tiny holes on plane windows.

Luckily, there’s a very simple explanation… and it’s actually that the holes are there on purpose.

The strange design helps the aircraft to withstand the changing air pressure outside.

Even though it may look like there’s a hole, the small gap doesn’t go through the entire pane.

Each window is made up of three different acrylic layers, and it’s only the middle one that contains the breather hole.

The small gap helps to regulate the high pressure environment on the plane, making the experience far more comfortable for passengers.

 Have you ever noticed the tiny holes in your plane window? It's there for your protection


Have you ever noticed the tiny holes in your plane window? It’s there for your protectionCredit: Getty – Contributor

Wing hooks

Ever noticed the tiny yellow hooks built onto the planes’ wings? Probably not.

These are used to help staff evacuations over the wing and are used to secure and tether life rafts to the plane.

Passengers walk across the wing using ropes attached to the hooks in emergencies.

But these small hooks could save your life.

They are used to tie a rope to the aircraft door and one to the inflatable slide so passengers can hold onto it as they leave during an emergency exit.

 The tiny hook on the back of your plane's wing will save your life in an emergency landing


The tiny hook on the back of your plane’s wing will save your life in an emergency landingCredit: Getty – Contributor

Black triangles on the wall

Keen-eyed passengers may notice tiny black triangles on the walls of their plane.

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These indicate the position from which the wings can best be seen by staff from inside the aircraft.

They can then quickly check the position of the flaps or slats if required from the appropriate window.

Handles by the exit

Many people peer nervously at the handles on exit doors, but have you spotted another set right next to them?

These are used to help staff hold onto the plane when manning the exit during evacuations.

The thought was that panicked passengers could push staff down the slide if they were rushing to escape.

Ash trays in plane toilets

Ever wondered why modern planes still have an ashtray, even though smoking is banned?

It seems an unnecessary addition given people are no longer allowed to light up mid-flight.

But there’s actually a very credible explanation.

What if a sneaky passenger decided to try and have a cheeky fag in the toilet?

They would need somewhere to dispose of the lit butt, and that place has to be safe.

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Writing on Q&A website Quora, Dick Karp said: “The FAA (Federal Aviation administration) doesn’t want them to put the cigarette in the waste disposal bin where there is a risk that it could start a fire.

“Waste disposal bins on planes have their own sensor and automatic fire extinguisher as an additional form of backup protection.”




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