Why you have to put your seat up during landing…. and other rules of the air explained

FLIGHT attendants have a hard job – on top of the difficulty of looking after 200-plus people in a poky little cabin, they also have to smile through the rage as grumpy passengers ignore the basic rules of flying.

Who hasn’t witnessed a member of cabin crew having to ask a customer to put their tray table up or put their seat upright several minutes after the official announcement?

But there IS method to the the crew’s madness they prepare your flight for take-off and landing.

Here, the flight attendant and aviation columnist at FlyerTalk, Amanda Pleva reveals the thinking behind some of the rules and regulations…

Seat backs in the upright and locked position

People love to roll their eyes when we have to ask them to bring their seat backs fully upright.

That small amount of recline isn’t really going to make any difference in an emergency, is it?
But it matters more than you might think.

Start off by thinking of the person behind you – try standing up straight when the seat in front of you is leaned back.

In an emergency, when seconds count, reclined seats can cost you time trying to evacuate your row.



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Also, those handy brace positions you absolutely, 100 per cent studied in your seat back card prior to departure? They become a lot less effective with the seat ahead of you reclined.

It is also thought that thought that the force of an impact or immediate stop of an aircraft could cause more head and neck injuries if you’re flung forward from a supine position.

Refusing to grant or deny permission to get up when the seatbelt sign is on

We cannot answer you one way or the other if you ask permission to get up to use the bathroom while the seatbelt sign is on.

We are human, and we know that sometimes the seatbelt sign is on for an hour or two, and you can’t be expected to hold it that long.

However, we would be violating the law by providing a response other than “The seatbelt sign is on.”

By saying, “Be careful,” or “Wait until it isn’t so bumpy,” we can be personally fined by aviation authorities if we have an inspector on-board or you sue the airline should you get injured.

We must inform you that the sign is illuminated, and after that, the decision is left to you. We can’t say that, either. So don’t take it personally if we seem to be evasive — being “nice” can cost us thousands of dollars and a suspension or termination from work.

The science behind putting your oxygen on first

For a parent, it is unthinkable to care for yourself over your child in an emergency. But in the event of a decompression on-board, it is a matter of life or death.

The size of an adult body is, of course, much larger than a child’s, therefore requiring more oxygen.

Without supplemental oxygen, a person would quickly deteriorate and become unconscious.

The higher the flight level, the less time we have to think straight and remain aware of our situation.

An average adult at 35,000 feet has between 30 and 60 seconds Time Of Useful Consciousness (TUC). A child needs less oxygen and will therefore have a higher TUC.

The sooner your brain works, the better both your chances are.

Keep my infant … out of my seatbelt?’

A parent often thinks that buckling a child in along with him or her is the best protection.

But in a sudden impact, the opposing pressure between a parent and the seatbelt can cause devastating injuries to an infant or toddler.

I have my own issues with the fact that lap children are even allowed on-board, though I’ve admittedly travelled with mine in my arms when two seats weren’t available.

It’s a tough point to argue, although hopefully better methods than “just hold onto your kid the best you can” will evolve.

Until then, belting a child in with you is absolutely not it.

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