Buckle up, y'all!

July 25, 2010 7 Comments A+ a-


Dear Passenger,
Have you seen the news this summer? It’s been bumpy up here at 30,000 feet and people are getting hurt!
A flight from London (LHR) to Los Angeles (LAX) diverted to Montreal (YUL). Five passengers and one Flight Attendant were injured. The Flight Attendant had to have surgery on a compound fracture of her leg. According to the news report:
“The woman's bone was reportedly sticking out of her leg for approximately four hours before the plane was able to land."
Yeah, I just put that visual in your head...
A short hop from Reno (RNO) to Boise (BOI) on a regional jet this summer had another Flight Attendant get injured.
Turbulence gave a New York (LGA) to Palm Beach (PBI) Flight Attendant a broken back earlier this Spring.
And last week, a jumbo jet from Washington (IAD) to Los Angeles (LAX) diverted to Denver after turbulence injured 30 people.
So, speaking for Flight Attendants everywhere, what’s with not wearing your seatbelt on an airplane? What makes putting it on so difficult? And, why won’t you stay seated while the seatbelt sign is on? Do you have more information than the Captain does?
If you listen to Air Traffic Control you'll hear pilots reporting to the Controller how smooth or bumpy the air is-and that is relayed to pilots about to fly in that area. Armed with that information, the Captain may decide that it is safest for if you sit down and buckle up. This is the only way to securely attach you to the airplane-which is the safest for you.

Ding! He turns on the seatbelt sign and makes an announcement for you to strap in. Flight Attendants will perform a safety check, walking down the aisles with our heads turning left to right-like watching a tennis match- as we look at your laps and remind you to fasten your seatbelt.
Sometimes, the Captain also requests that the Flight Attendants take their seats. He knows it will be unsafe for us to be up.
So, we scurry to our ironing boards jumpseats, strap in, and stay there until the Captain lets us know it is safe for us to get up and resume our duties.
So, why in the heck are you getting up, struggling to hold on to the back of the seats as you attempt to make it down the aisle of the bouncing plane, to the lavatory? Can't it wait? When you make it to the lav area, one of us politely says “The Captain has the seatbelt sign on, please take your seat.” And, you reply, “Can I just go to the bathroom?”
What am I supposed to say? “No, you can’t go pee!” or “Of course!” I am not your mother, nor a “seat-belt nazi.” I cannot determine whether or not you will be injured if you decide to use the lavatory.
I usually just say the same thing I said before, “The Captain has the seatbelt sign on, please take your seat.” And, I just look at you, expressionless. I know, I know—I’m a bitch in your eyes when I say that.
Here are some comments taken from an online bulletin board that is only for Flight Attendants. Some of it’s not pretty—it’s a place where we can say what we want without fear of repercussion—and we do.
wetravel:
I sure am tired of being the Seatbelt Nazi. Rather than the FAA checking to see if we use the right verbiage for the exit rows and constantly scrutinizing everything that we do, why don't they do a crack down on passengers that disobey crew member instructions. Maybe…if word got out that you could get a ticket for not observing posted signs, placards and crewmember instructions, some of this blatant disregard would cease."
Shuttle Diva:
With regards to our own safety...I want everyone to know that the reason I was injured was due to being unable to get buckled in quickly enough because a passenger was standing in front of the jumpseat waiting for the toilet. The whole event happened in no more than 15 seconds. I was thrown out of my jumpseat and flipped like a pancake, landing on my back. If I had been able to get into my jumpseat quicker (i.e. having the area clear of that passenger standing in front of it), I would have been buckled in already & not thrown off the seat. So, from now on, I WILL be adamant about not having any passengers standing either in the galley or near the jumpseat. If they are waiting for the toilet ... whether or not the seatbelt sign is on ... they will have to stand in the aisle forward of the side facing lav. My injury could have been a LOT worse than just a bruised hip, pulled neck muscle and slight concussion. None of us need to be out of work due to an occupational injury. Turbulence is serious stuff.
Steve in the Sky:
I am very glad to hear that the crewmembers on the LAX flight were not injured. However, the problem with passengers not listening to us is not going to change anytime soon, unless the FAA does start fining people for noncompliance with the seatbelt sign.
G-man:
I am not a seatbelt Nazi or a Potty Czar myself. I remind people seat belt sign is on and they should be seated. However, under no circumstance do I allow any passenger to stand near my jumpseat if that sign is on.”
Fran:
I always lock the lav door that's located in front of my jumpseat whenever the seat-belt sign is illuminated. Frankly, I would love to leave it permanently locked during the summer as turbulence is a given. I actually had a passenger tell me recently that he was not going to return to his seat until he used the lav. And this was after the captain told us to be seated within 10 min. as he was expecting turbulence. What the hell are we supposed to do with that?!
Lisa:
"Yes, if I have been told to sit by the cockpit, I will lock the lav in front of me. I will also tell the people who ignore the seat belt sign and my request to be seated to wait outside the galley area. One smiled and ignored me, to which I said, "Just go forward of the galley then, so if you fall, you will land on your baby (which she was holding) and not ME."
You can see that we take turbulence seriously, but ultimately, you make your own decisions. Please buckle up, and perhaps enjoy the SkyMall magazine while you wait!
Fondly,
Blondie


Blondie
Blondie

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Geekzilla
AUTHOR
July 26, 2010 at 4:56 AM delete

I think passengers have become much too complacent with the relative safety of air travel. For the most part, the ride is smooth and gentle, but some people fail to realize they're flying through the air at 500+ miles per hour. Imagine a car going down the road at that speed and hitting a pot hole without your seatbelts fastened. No, thanks! I'll keep mine firmly fastened and low on the hip at all times. You never hear about pilots being thrown around the cockpit because they're always buckled in. They know the risks.

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Tina
AUTHOR
July 28, 2010 at 11:29 PM delete

Can you share the URL of the FA forum?

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Heather
AUTHOR
July 29, 2010 at 1:15 PM delete

Blondie, Someday I will have to blog about the Montreal turbulence flight ( was on it..). Yes, her bone was protruding and NO it was not pretty.

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Blondie
AUTHOR
July 29, 2010 at 1:23 PM delete

Tina--I can't share the URL of the FA forum--it is specific to my company, and you have to prove it in order to view it and participate in it. There are a couple other places I can recommend: http://flightattendants.org/

is a lively board with information from current FAs and wannabe FAs. It is a subscription based board. Also, if you are looking to find people who are in the current hiring process, search on

indeed.com

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Blondie
AUTHOR
July 29, 2010 at 1:28 PM delete

Heather--seriously, you do need to post about the diverted to YUL flight. I knew as I wrote this that you were with her and that it was really bad.

You've got a great post coming when you do write it!

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Tina
AUTHOR
July 30, 2010 at 1:22 AM delete

Thank you Blondie!

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Sherri
AUTHOR
August 4, 2010 at 12:14 AM delete

I had an old man (waiting for the lav) use my head as his crutch during turbulence. I was on the jumpseat in my seatbelt. Then somehow he broke my nail. Hello seatbelt sign!

I take vacation in the summer because I get sick of the weather, bumps etc.

Glad you made it to Germany to see your hubby.

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