In the passenger of the month interview, I asked The Music Guy a few questions about his traveling experiences, and one of those questions was, Why do flight attendants…(fill in the blank). Music Guy filled in that blank with…still show people how to buckle a seat belt?
Music Guy, I’m glad you’ve asked this question. Because I’ve been asked this question several times. In response, I’ve posted the above drawing, The Dance of the Flight Attendant, because there’s a reason, a very good reason, we do the safety demo people! Simply put, it’s a reminder. Do you think we enjoy standing in the aisle pretending we don’t see you snickering, or even worse, imitating us as we demonstrate how to use the seat belt? Yeah, we know you know how to use it, supposedly you’ve been using it in the car, so why aren’t you using it on the airplane? That’s what I want to know. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve walked down the aisle after the seat belt announcement has been made, checking each row for compliance, only to find half the cabin not buckled up. What’s even worse is when I ask the parents of a sleeping child to place the seat belt around that child, and the parents refuse because they don’t want to wake the child up. Ummm…what? The seat belt sign comes on for a reason, a very good reason, so buckle that kid up, and then put the thing around yourself please! Turbulence does happen, and a lot of times it happens when you least expect it, even when the sign is not on.
If that doesn’t make you buckle up, perhaps the Air Canada incident will change your mind. According to an article written by Corey Van’t Haaff, a flight turned into a nightmare for passengers and crew of Air Canada’s flight AC190. He writes, no one dreamed, as they boarded the Airbus A319 jet, that many of the 83 passengers on board would be sent tumbling from their seats as the plane hit turbulence.Ten people were hurt, some seriously it has been reported, when the plane dropped three separate times, according to passenger Andrew Evans, in news reports. He said after the third drop, the plane rolled a bit. Dishes flied after a serving cart tipped over. One passenger reported that a friend on the flight flew up in the air; hit the ceiling and crashed back down.
My guess is dishes flew on that Air Canada flight because they were not properly stowed, and I imagine they were not properly stowed because the turbulence happened unexpectantly. Just last month I was on a flight from New York to Los Angeles. A couple seconds after the Captain asked the flight attendants to “stow the carts and take your seats,” I found myself strapped into my jump seat with a fellow crew member sitting on my lap. I held onto her for dear life. Why was she in my lap? Because in the process of trying to take her seat, she hit the filthy linoleum floor on her hands and knees. Unsuccessfully she tried to stand, only to end up on top of me, as we were jolted up and down at 35,000 feet. That night we had hit the worst turbulence I’ve experienced in twelve years of flying. As I held her, I stared out the window watching the city lights of Los Angeles bobbing in and out of view, while going over my emergency evacuation commands in my head. Seriously, the turbulence was that bad. When the aircraft finally touched ground, the entire cabin broke out in applause. After the passenger had deplaned, the cleaners had quite a few barf bags to replace in the seat back pockets