Wednesday, November 09, 2005

What to do During the Safety Demonstration

I stood at the front of the cabin yesterday to perform the federally mandated safety demonstration.  It's required before every take off.
My feeling on this is that if I have to do it, you should be courteous enough to watch and listen.  I know you travel ALL the time.  So do I, and I'd wager that you are not as well versed on each and every one of the aircraft that you fly on as you may think you are.  So is your attention for a couple short minutes really to much to ask? 
Here's what's not courteous:
Trying to talk louder than the safety announcement, and raising your voice each time the announcer voice tries to talk loud enough to be heard over you.  It's only a few minutes of your time, just shut up.
Ringing your call button to request a pillow or blanket.  If you don't have one by now, they are probably all gone or they aren't onboard at all.  During the safety demonstration safety comes first.  Only ring your call button if it's an emergency.  When we're finished with the demo we'll deal with all the other passenger convenience issues.
Sneaking out your cell phone to make a quick last call.  We can see you.  We can hear you. We've already told you to turn it off, and now we'll interrupt everything and stand here until you do.  You are holding up the departure process and everyone else is going to be irritated with you.  I know you don't care.  But you should.
Unbuckling your seat belt to stand up and get into the overhead bins.  We're doing the safety demo because we're leaving.  This means sit down.  If it's important, please ask us for assistance when we finish the safety demo.  Otherwise, just sit there until we get up to altitude.
Acting out the safety demonstration from your seat.  We've seen it before.  It's not new or funny, and it hasn't been since the first hundred times we saw it during our first month on the job.
So what should you do during the safety demonstration?
Do what I do when I travel as a passenger:  I stop talking, set aside my reading material and pay attention to what's been said and demonstrated.  I hope you never have to find out, but it may be the best spent three minutes of your life.


j5 said...

Perhpas all this rudeness as you put it is because people realise by now that in the event of a "real emergency" learning where the exits are won't save their lives. When was the last time anyone was killed due to a failure to pay attention to your all important safety announcement?

Do you agree or disagree? If you disagree, please give evidence of actual incidents/events. I for one would like to be shown the error of my ways. You see, I've always had this terrible morbid feeling whenever this demo is run in the cabin. Rather than reassuring, it only reiterates just how vulnerable people are on aircraft.

Would like to know what you think about this.

Raymond said...

I would not be surprised if inability to the find the exit was a factor, but people who die in airplane accidents are typically not available for interviews so they can explain what factors contributed to their demise.

I guess you're also the person who doesn't pay attention to the safety announcements on roller coasters either.

marco_099 said...

Jajaja i was drinking a coffe and almost spilt it out while reading this post. People acting out the safety demo? that´s so silly!
I disagree with j5 about the reasons of this rudeness, i believe they only don´t give a damn (here we say "les vale madres").
Lady, sometimes i sense u get very upset with the passengers.
But i agree, we have to be respectful while someone else is talking.

Anonymous said...

YEA!! I'm glad to know you flight attendants notice. I always pay attention, and sometimes I feel like it is a "one on one" with the flight attendant. And get this... I FLY for a living. I'm not a flight attendant, but I have spent over 2000 hours in big jets. I still pay attention. I still check where the exits are. I count the seats. I make sure I can open the door.

Even if you don't care about your safety... everyone should be courteous to someone giving a presentation and listen.

Joey C said...

J5, you need to shut up.. and do it now.

Do the words "Air France" mean anything to you?

The entire A340, with its 200+ people on board, were evacuated in under two minutes. And, guess who was first off the exit? The people who paid attention.

J5, dearest... whats so 'morbid' about a safety demonstration? If the demo is morbid, maybe all of the dead and charred bodies after a real crash will be cheery!

Look... its a really simple equation. The flight attendants have been through this; simulaturs that actually go under water, smoke in the cabin, they dont need to know what to do. They dont have to do this for you guys, they could get their asses of the aircraft and let passengers like you burn to the crap you are.

Keep your idiotic and overall STUPID opinion to yourself.

Fly Girl said...

j5: I'm sorry that you feel this way. This blog has been used for my personal view of life as a flight attendant, rather than as a research vehicle. However, this is an important issue. When I have a few days off, I will try to get some actual facts and figures for you. In the meantime, however, whatever the reason someone doesn't choose to pay attention, it still doesn't excuse the rudeness of interfering with the choice of others to listen.

Raymond: While dead people don't tell tales, the research that is done post-crash is able to identify many reasons that people do not survive. Reaching an exit is certainly one of the reasons. The NTSB has an investigation team referred to as the Survival Factors team. They spend lots of time determining who survived (and didn't) and why.

Fly Girl said...

Marco: I love my passengers. The majority of them are kind, polite, fun-loving people. I've written about them in previous posts. But, as most people have pointed out to me, those people can also be boring. Readers seem to want to know more about the funny stuff that happens at 40,000 feet, so you'll likely see more of those stories. It doesn't mean that I don't love those great passengers, it's the rude ones that make better copy, I guess.

I love the expression "les vale madres." I need to find a way to work it into my next conversation.

Thanks for reading!

Fly Girl said...

Anonymous: We do notice who is paying attention and who isn't. And I check all those things that you do everytime I fly: where the exits are, counting rows of sea, looking beneath the seat to see if there's a life vest, etc. I think of it as being smart, not paranoid.

JoeyC: No neet for the anger, my friend. I understand that you were frustrated by comments posted by another reader, but that's what the comment section is for -- a diverse expression of opinions. I do not want anyone to fear posting here just because they have a contrary opinion to mine. And that means that while it's okay to disagree with me or another commenter it is important to do so with respect and courtesy. No name calling, please. I know that you feel passionately about the airline industry (and a big THANKS for that), and I'm certain your post was well-intentioned, even though a bit too angry sounding.

Jeff said...

Thanks a bunch for the nice comments on my blog.

I like to call back to door 1L during the safety demo so that you all have to stop what your doing, and usually it screws up the video as well....We as pilots do this by monitoring the PA, and at the exact moment hit the disrupt button! Ha ha..Just Kidding...

It sure seems that way to you anyway I bet! Great Blog, keep it going...

I will link to your blog in the future...


j5 said...

"The entire A340, with its 200+ people on board, were evacuated in under two minutes. And, guess who was first off the exit? The people who paid attention."

So what you are saying here is that a few passengers initiated the emergency response by evacuating themselves out with minimal or no assistance from cabin staff? They would have paid attention to one bit in particular, unarming the door.

So in the event of a ground emergency (a ditched landing or possible combustion of fuel tanks) what we are really concerned about is opening the door as quickly as possible (correct)? I presume that once that door is open people play "follow the leader"/"everyman for themselves" to the closest exit(the latter being the more plausible scenario). Therefore once that door is open, it doesn't take a safety demo to know your way out (i.e. follow other passengers/cabin crew, yes?).

Opening the aircraft door is possibly the most important aspect of the safety demo (and most frequent flyers already know how to do that).

Or is this a rather too simplistic account of a real emergency?

#ps. No offense intended previously comrade joey c. I'm interested in aircraft too, but purely on an aesthetic level (the technical stuff ain't my thing).

j5 said...

btw, just for the record, I'm the appitamy of a well behaved passenger (stays to himself, requires no extra attention etc). And yes, people who behave like idiots are likely to be that way regardless of their "views" on passenger safety procedure. But yes I suppose it would be annoying after a few hundred times :P

Fly Girl said...

j5: I'm certain your behavior is beyond reproach. It doesn't bother us if people have specific needs or ask us for stuff. It's just that so often "please" and "thank you" are issing from the request.

jd said...

I agree that even with a 100,000+ miles flown each year, I'm not as well versed on each and every aircraft. But I've also stopped listening to the safety announcments because they say the same thing everytime and are not aircraft specific.

After reading the November issue of Conde Nast Traveler that had an article on this very topic, I will study the safety cards in the seat pocket in more detail. It hadn't occurred to me that it could be pitch black or smokey during an evacuation.

I love the perspective you share in your blog.

j5 said...

Jd, that's true. If you add smoke and panic into the equation it may help to know where the exits are from memory. But other factors such as broken bones, loss of consciousness, getting jammed under debris, fire etc., could intervene and cut off mobility. Equally, what's to say that panic won't evoke a shock response and wipe out all rational behaviour on your part? Now i'm not saying that listening is a completely useless exercise, but the probabilities are so infintessimal that it doesnt make much difference. People who survive aircrashes are just very "lucky" individuals.

The real issue aint finding a door, the problem is finding yourself alive after its over.