Ever Noticed Those Little Triangles Above Airplane Windows? Here's What They're For

Plus: What does Star Trek have to do with all of this?!

It seems that the more time you spend in airplanes, the more mysteries they reveal. We've already unraveled such curiosities as those odd dinging sounds you hear while flying, as well as the secret button that makes your seat appear bigger. And now, thanks to the aviation geeks on Quora, we here with a new revelation.

Perhaps only the most astute of airline passengers will ever notice this, but there are small triangles, each looking like an arrow pointing upward, on the walls of plane cabins. Naturally, a Quora user noticed this and sought the expertise of their fellow users to figure out what they mean.

Some discussion ensued, with one user claiming it indicates the best position "from which you can get the best visual check for ice or other problems."

A more accurate explanation, however, is that one arrow indicates the aircraft wing's "leading edge," while another, a few rows behind, indicates the wing's "trailing edge."

What good is this? Well, if there is a problem with the plane's slats or flaps, the triangles guide the pilot to the best vantage point from which to view and assess the problem.

The ever-helpful Captain Joe has offered additional explanation on YouTube, saying that the triangles can also guide attendants to where passengers should sit on a nearly empty flight. "Because," he says, "the center of gravity on most planes is on top of the wings. Letting the passengers sit over the wings would cause a better balance of the plane and reduce fuel consumption."

Perhaps the most entertaining part of this revelation, however, is the name sometimes given to the seats below the triangles. According to a Quora user, and backed up by an Airline Ticket Centre blogpost from a few years ago, such a seat is named "William Shatner's seat," in honor of a particularly memorable episode of the Twilight Zone in which he saw a creepy figure on the wing out of the his airplane's window.

Yikes. We'd rather have this William Shatner travel experience, thanks.

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