In Bridge of Spies, U-2 spy plane pilot Francis Gary Powers (Austin Stowell) was captured after his plane was shot down over the Soviet Union. While Powers was a true-blue spy during the Cold War, don’t you think that pilots in general live in a mysterious world? As passengers, there’s so much we don’t know – and maybe would rather not know – about the very people who hold our lives in their hands during a flight.

Here are five interesting – and perhaps shocking – confessions from real-life Singapore pilots:

1. No sharing

Pilots cannot share a meal when on duty. (Photo credit: telegraph.co.uk)

Pilots cannot share a meal when on duty. (Photo credit: telegraph.co.uk)

Not only must pilots be served different meals, they also cannot share meals. This is a precaution taken to ensure at least one pilot can still fly the plane in the event of food poisoning. Whoa, this is definitely spy-level protocol.

2. Hanky panky?

There are strict rules of conduct between pilots and cabin crew. But... things can happen. (Photo credit: careerflightpath.com)

There are strict rules of conduct between pilots and cabin crew. But… things can happen. (Photo credit: careerflightpath.com)

There are strict rules of conduct between pilots and cabin crew while they are on duty. But it’s an open secret that some stewardesses are hoping to “land” a pilot boyfriend or partner. “Yup, the girls do chat us up, and I’ve even seen one of them offer to sleep with my colleague once,” one first officer shares. But, he adds, “it’s usually the other way around”!

3. Time limit

Oxygen masks dropping down in a flight. (Photo credit: http://theaviationist.com)

Oxygen masks dropping down in a flight. (Photo credit: http://theaviationist.com)

If the oxygen masks drop down – usually in the case of cabin depressurisation – you have only about 15 minutes of oxygen from the point of pulling them down. There is a silver lining to this, right? Thankfully yes: That’s more than enough time for the pilot to bring the plane down to a suitable altitude for you to breathe normally.

4. Lights off… well, almost

Cabin lights dimmed on a flight. (Photo credit: http://www.livelongandtravel.com/)

Cabin lights dimmed on a flight. (Photo credit: http://www.livelongandtravel.com/)

As morbid as it sounds, lights are dimmed as the plane lands at night just in case you need to evacuate. And you thought it was for your comfort? Aww… there, there. Anyway, this is so that your eyes would already be accustomed to the darkness and this would enable more efficient evacuation should the need arise.

5. What glamour?

The life of a pilot isn't all glitz and glamour. (Photo credit: cnbc.com)

The life of a pilot isn’t all glitz and glamour. (Photo credit: cnbc.com)

Many pilots don’t see their job as glamorous. “Maybe 30 years ago,” says one. How come?

Well, for starters, a pilot’s pay isn’t much, comparatively, when they are on probation or before they make first officer at least. Pilots also have to fly frequently to earn more – they receive only their basic salary if they stay grounded.

Other common drawbacks? Being away from family, constant jet lag, and staying only one or two days at a destination before flying back.

Bridge of Spies poster. (Photo credit: Golden Village)

Bridge of Spies poster. (Photo credit: Golden Village)

Unlock more mysterious flying secrets when you watch Bridge of Spies, where hopefully, Brooklyn lawyer James B Donovan (Tom Hanks), who is recruited by a CIA operative, is able to secure the release of Powers, the American spy pilot. Bridge of Spies opens on October 15.