CLOSE
Original image
iStock

What Those Chimes You Hear on Airplanes Really Mean

Original image
iStock

If you don’t pop in your noise-canceling headphones the moment you take your seat on a flight, you’ll eventually hear a familiar sound: a “ping,” used by the crew to communicate with passengers. That non-threatening sound signals when you should stay seated and when you’re free to get up, for example. But sometimes those sounds aren’t meant for the customers. As People reports, airline crews use the chimes as a Morse code of sorts to alert each other to issues big and small.

Qantas Airways shared the code used on their flights in a blog post last year. The high-low “ding-dong” chime that can be heard ringing throughout the cabin is the most common way staff in different parts of the plane get each other’s attention. According to Qantas, this sound is the “ringtone of a crew phone from one galley or section to another.” These calls are usually made for non-pressing matters, like checking to see what the pretzel situation is like in another galley when one area runs out.

There’s also the triple low chime, which is reserved for priority messages from the captain or crew. This can be used to convey possible turbulence, in which case the flight attendants have time to secure their snack carts before an official announcement is made.

While this system is standard across Qantas Airways, it varies from airline to airline. Retired U.S. Airways captain John Cox shared his own insider information in a blog post for USA Today. In his experience, two chimes indicate the plane is approaching 10,000 feet, while three or more chimes signal either turbulence or a sick passenger in need of medical attention. One chime can also communicate bumpy skies, but it’s more commonly used by plane captains to ask for a coffee refill.

Check out more behind-the-scenes secrets from flight attendants here.

[h/t People]

Original image
Pol Viladoms
arrow
architecture
One of Gaudí's Most Famous Homes Opens to the Public for the First Time
Original image
Pol Viladoms

Visiting buildings designed by iconic Catalan architect Antoni Gaudí is on the to-do list of nearly every tourist passing through Barcelona, Spain, but there's always been one important design that visitors could only view from the outside. Constructed between 1883 and 1885, Casa Vicens was the first major work in Gaudí's influential career, but it has been under private ownership for its entire existence. Now, for the first time, visitors have the chance to see inside the colorful building. The house opened as a museum on November 16, as The Art Newspaper reports.

Gaudí helped spark the Catalan modernism movement with his opulent spaces and structures like Park Güell, Casa Batlló, and La Sagrada Familia. You can see plenty of his architecture around Barcelona, but the eccentric Casa Vicens is regarded as his first masterpiece, famous for its white-and-green tiles and cast-iron gate. Deemed a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2005, Casa Vicens is a treasured part of the city's landscape, yet it has never been open to the public.

Then, in 2014 the private Spanish bank MoraBanc bought the property with the intention of opening it up to visitors. The public is finally welcome to take a look inside following a $5.3 million renovation. To restore the 15 rooms to their 19th-century glory, designers referred to historical archives and testimonies from the descendants of former residents, making sure the house looked as much like Gaudí's original work as possible. As you can see in the photos below, the restored interiors are just as vibrant as the walls outside, with geometric designs and nature motifs incorporated throughout.

In addition to the stunning architecture, museum guests will find furniture designed by Gaudí, audio-visual materials tracing the history of the house and its architect, oil paintings by the 19th-century Catalan artist Francesc Torrescassana i Sallarés, and a rotating exhibition. Casa Vicens is open from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. General admission costs about $19 (€16).

An empty room in the interior of Casa Vicens

Interior of house with a fountain and arched ceilings

One of the house's blue-and-white tiled bathrooms

[h/t The Art Newspaper]

All images courtesy of Pol Viladoms.

Original image
iStock
arrow
Live Smarter
Hate Waiting at Baggage Claim? Here's How to Make Sure Your Suitcase Arrives First
Original image
iStock

Air travel involves plenty of waiting, from standing in long security lines to preparing for takeoff. And even after you land, your trip is stalled until you locate your luggage on the carousel. Luckily for impatient fliers, there are several ways to game the system and ensure a speedy suitcase delivery once you step off the plane, according to Travel + Leisure.

To score true VIP luggage treatment, ask the representative behind the check-in counter if they can attach a “fragile” sticker to your bag. Suitcases with these kinds of labels are often loaded last and unloaded first. (Plus, they receive the type of kid-glove treatment that ultimately helps them last longer.)

Keep in mind, however, that you’ll need a new tag each time you fly. If it looks old, or was issued by a different airline, the crew might not pay attention to it, according to Condé Nast Traveler. Also, consider upping your suitcase game, as quality, hard-shell bags look like they contain delicate or important items. Their appearance—along with the fragile sticker—will inspire baggage handlers to give them special treatment.

Another trick that can shave a few minutes off your wait time is making sure you're the last person to check in, instead of rushing to be first. If you can't resist getting to the airport early, try asking if you can check it at the gate. This could make your bag one of the last on the plane, and thus one of the first taken out. This method isn't surefire, however, as loading and unloading systems vary among flights.

And if all else fails, Thrillist advises that you try upgrading your flight. Some airlines give priority to bags that belong to elite travelers and business class, meaning they’ll be stored separately from other luggage and come out first. Good luck! No matter what happens, at least you can't have it worse than the lady who had to wait 20 years for her bag to show up.

[h/t Travel + Leisure]

SECTIONS

arrow
LIVE SMARTER
More from mental floss studios