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Seat Belts On For Entire Flt.- Counter Productive?  
User currently offlineSkisAndy From United States of America, joined Apr 2008, 30 posts, RR: 0
Posted (4 years 5 months 1 week 4 days 11 hours ago) and read 5191 times:

A few days ago I flew AA Belo Horizonte-Miami, an 8 hour flight.

The seat belt was on during the entire flight, it was never ever turned off, not even for a minute, despite no turbulence whatsoever, except for a 15 second episode in the middle of the flight (probably a few high cumulus over the Amazon).

I have been on many flights where they left the sign on, 6 hours out of 8, for example, but not the entire 8 hours, without
exception. All this on smooth flight, I want to add again.

I understand that people should always have their seat belts on, visible when sleeping, whether the sign is on or not.

However- when the seat belt is on for 8 hours straight, people will ignore the sign, and go to the restroom, walk around a little, all with tacid approval of the flight crew. Even they don't think it is reasonable that no-one can use the restroom on an 8 hour flight (especially if it is entirely smooth).

OK - so then we did have some sudden turbulence, lasting 15 seconds or so. Probably a little scary, if one is in the restroom. However- since the sign was always on anyway, there was no way to turn the sign on, in order to warn for turbulence, when it actually WAS about to occur.

This means that any and all turbulence in a seat-belt-always-on flight will be unexpected and surprising to the passengers,
unless it is announced via voice. But then - the pilots don't like to talk at all during a night flight.

I don't want to give the lawyers any ideas, but sooner or later one will sue an airline, where passengers have been
hurt in turbulence in one of these long seat-belt-always-on flights. The airlines' argument that the seat belt sign was on will be ineffective, since there will be hundreds of witnesses who will confirm that the passengers walked around, used the restrooms etc.... with the approval of the flight crew.

Maybe after such a lawsuit the American carriers will go back to the way it's done in the rest of the world: If turbulence or risk for turbulence: seat belt sign on. If no turbulence and no major risk: sign off (still, with the suggestion to leave seat belt sign on while seated).

25 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
 
User currently offlineDualQual From United States of America, joined Mar 2006, 758 posts, RR: 1
Reply 1, posted (4 years 5 months 1 week 4 days 5 hours ago) and read 4897 times:

In the Amazonian Basin the risk of turbulence tends to be greater than anywhere else. As far as the arguement that the seat belt sign was on and you choosing to move around, that is the risk you take. If the seat belt sign is on, it is probably on for a good reason. You get up at your own risk.

User currently offlineSkisAndy From United States of America, joined Apr 2008, 30 posts, RR: 0
Reply 2, posted (4 years 5 months 1 week 3 days 17 hours ago) and read 4637 times:

DualQual: I was in my seat when the 15-second turbulrence occured. Are you saying that no-one can go to the restroom, not one of the 250 pax, during the entire 8 hours, if the pilot chooses to never turn the seatbilt sign off. Do you think that this is realistic?

The Amazon is 4 hours away from Belo Horizonte, further than the Rocky Mountains from the East Coast of the US. Are you saying it is reasonable to have the seatbelt on over New York State, Ohio, Indiana, Missouri... etc etc... because there may be turbulence just west of Denver?


User currently offlinedxing From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 3, posted (4 years 5 months 1 week 3 days 17 hours ago) and read 4596 times:

Quoting DualQual (Reply 1):
If the seat belt sign is on, it is probably on for a good reason. You get up at your own risk.

Exactly.

Quoting SkisAndy (Reply 2):
Are you saying that no-one can go to the restroom, not one of the 250 pax, during the entire 8 hours, if the pilot chooses to never turn the seatbilt sign off. Do you think that this is realistic?

You can get up, but you get up at your own risk. Turbulence can be very hard to predict. Aircraft in front of yours may have been reporting bad rides at other altitudes and the pilot decided it was in your best interest to keep the sign on. Many times the first plane that hit code 3 turbulence is followed by a second plane 20 minutes later that encounters nothing but smooth air. Without all the information why the sign was left on is anyones guess but not necessarily wrong.


User currently offlineDashTrash From United States of America, joined Aug 2006, 1519 posts, RR: 2
Reply 4, posted (4 years 5 months 1 week 3 days 16 hours ago) and read 4491 times:

Quoting SkisAndy (Thread starter):

However- when the seat belt is on for 8 hours straight, people will ignore the sign,

Correct. I usually turned it off when there would be turbulence later in the flight so when I turned it back on the sign was taken more seriously.

Quoting SkisAndy (Thread starter):
This means that any and all turbulence in a seat-belt-always-on flight will be unexpected and surprising to the passengers,
unless it is announced via voice.

Isolated turbulence as you've described is usually a surprise to the guys up front too.

Quoting SkisAndy (Thread starter):
I don't want to give the lawyers any ideas, but sooner or later one will sue an airline, where passengers have been
hurt in turbulence in one of these long seat-belt-always-on flights.

Part of the reason some pilots won't turn the sign off is lawyer driven. They feel as though if the sign is on, they've given up any liability should a passenger get hurt when they're up.

I don't know the reason your crew left the seatbelt sign on, but there are a multitude of reasons to do so. Some make a lot of sense, some don't.


User currently offlinestandby87 From Switzerland, joined Jul 2001, 536 posts, RR: 3
Reply 5, posted (4 years 5 months 1 week 3 days 13 hours ago) and read 3796 times:

8 hours? That's a record in my books.

1. Did you ask the Crew?
I would have asked politely "Is there any chance the skipper can turn the fasten seat belt sign off please?"

2. Doesn't surprise me it was AA.

I've flown nearly 1200 sectors, so I think I have some experience.
The US carriers are in my experience the "worst" at keeping the Seat Belt signs on.
I suspect it is precisely because in the litigious society of the USA, they are covering themselves as DashTrash mentioned.


User currently offlineshaq From Panama, joined Jun 2007, 374 posts, RR: 0
Reply 6, posted (4 years 5 months 1 week 3 days 12 hours ago) and read 3711 times:

You know ...
in USA , if someone you fall in a store , he probably will sue the store...
so , AA don't want liability issues , to lower cost , they better keep it on.



Studying hard, for flying right!
User currently offlinemusapapaya From United Kingdom, joined Apr 2004, 1075 posts, RR: 0
Reply 7, posted (4 years 5 months 1 week 3 days 12 hours ago) and read 3650 times:

On my recent flights with LH and LX, the seatbelt sign was only on during take off and landing, and briefly midflight for some turbulence, however there is an obligation on LH and LX for the passengers to be bulked up whilst seated, I think this logic works better than leaving the sign on for 8 hours.

Lesson for the guys across the pond.

regards
musapapaya



Lufthansa Group of Airlines
User currently offlineborism From Estonia, joined Oct 2006, 431 posts, RR: 0
Reply 8, posted (4 years 5 months 1 week 3 days 12 hours ago) and read 3547 times:

Quoting standby87 (Reply 5):
I suspect it is precisely because in the litigious society of the USA, they are covering themselves as DashTrash mentioned.
Quoting shaq (Reply 6):
so , AA don't want liability issues , to lower cost , they better keep it on.

But as OP said - if cabin crew are allowing passengers to ignore seat belt sign then leaving it on forever will be pretty poor defense in court.


User currently offlineaccidentally From United States of America, joined Dec 2000, 643 posts, RR: 0
Reply 9, posted (4 years 5 months 1 week 3 days 12 hours ago) and read 3488 times:
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Buddy of mine flies for AA (757-767 dom.), and he did exactly that when I flew with him LGA-DFW-LGA in 2003. He pretty much told me its a personal liability concern. Hes weird like that, though.


Cory Crabtree - crab453 - Indianapolis - 2R2 - 1966 PA-32-260
User currently offlineGlom From United Kingdom, joined Apr 2005, 2815 posts, RR: 10
Reply 10, posted (4 years 5 months 1 week 3 days 12 hours ago) and read 3466 times:

That sucks. It made me think of that time I was on a BA flight ABZ-LHR. I'd had a couple at the airport and was absolutely bursting when boarding the plane. I was poised for a dash to the bog the second the seatbelt sign went off. If the pilots had been overcautious, it may have been unpleasant. And you don't ask BA cabin crew for special dispensation, because you just get an arrogant mouthful from them.

User currently offlineAAEXP From Brazil, joined exactly 9 years ago today! , 424 posts, RR: 1
Reply 11, posted (4 years 5 months 1 week 3 days 12 hours ago) and read 3418 times:

I have actually seen this a couple of time on flights to and from Brazil (including CNF). Every time we had a large group of youngsters aboard and the sign was switched on and then kept on to get them in their seats for departure and keep order during the flight.

User currently offlineDLD9S From United States of America, joined Jun 2006, 260 posts, RR: 0
Reply 12, posted (4 years 5 months 1 week 3 days 12 hours ago) and read 3364 times:

AA is the worst about keeping the sign on for a transcontinental flight, with European carriers being the exact opposite. I just assumed it was so the US crews could watch their personal DVD players or read magazines without being disturbed...   


717 727 737 747 757 767 777 DC9 DC10 M80 M90 M11 L10 AB6 333 340 319 320 321 ARJ CRJ EM2 EMJ SF3 146 100 BE1...
User currently offlineSkisAndy From United States of America, joined Apr 2008, 30 posts, RR: 0
Reply 13, posted (4 years 5 months 1 week 3 days 12 hours ago) and read 3278 times:

Borism - you understand exactly what my post is about: If the seatbelt sign is on for 8 hours straight, and the crew ROUTINELY allows pax to move around the cabin during the entire time, to use the restrooms etc... then the airline will NOT have a defense if anyone gets insured in sudden turbulence.

I fly USA-Brazil once a month, and my experience on the last 10 flights was this: 99% smooth air, the only turbulence is the occasional high cumulus cloud over the Amazon. There are no weather fronts on these routes (ATL/MIA-GIG/CNF), like in the US (especially Texas and mid west).

Until this last time (with the seatbelt NEVER off for 8 hours) the pattern has been like this, on ALL flights:
1. Seatbelts on at takeoff to cruising height.
2. Seatbelt off for about 2 hours.
3. Seatbelt ON at the first hint of turbulence
4. Seatbelt sign never off any more, for the entire flight, despite no more turbulence.

And - yes - even in these normal circumstances - pax is moving around freely, with the OK of the crew, since
5 - 6 hours seat belt sign on, without any turbulence, is just as ridiculous as 8 hours seat belt sign on, without turbulence.


User currently offlineGlom From United Kingdom, joined Apr 2005, 2815 posts, RR: 10
Reply 14, posted (4 years 5 months 1 week 3 days 11 hours ago) and read 3149 times:

Quoting SkisAndy (Reply 13):
then the airline will NOT have a defense if anyone gets insured in sudden turbulence.

Turbulence is the sea insurance salesmen swim in.


User currently offlineAAEXP From Brazil, joined exactly 9 years ago today! , 424 posts, RR: 1
Reply 15, posted (4 years 5 months 1 week 3 days 11 hours ago) and read 3149 times:

Quoting SkisAndy (Reply 13):
There are no weather fronts on these routes (ATL/MIA-GIG/CNF), like in the US (especially Texas and mid west).

Are you sure   That's completely news to me.


User currently offlineluvfa From United States of America, joined May 2005, 445 posts, RR: 5
Reply 16, posted (4 years 5 months 1 week 3 days 11 hours ago) and read 2950 times:

As a FA nothing frustrates me than having the sign on for extending periods of time during smooth air. It happens from time to time on our longer flights. About the 4th or 5th time of informing the pax that the sign is on, I call up front to ask if it is safe to "let the people up". If it's smooth, they always turn the sign off, if it is still turbulent ahead, I can convey that info to the pax. Either way, they and we feel in the loop.

User currently offlinejgarrido From Guam, joined Mar 2007, 339 posts, RR: 0
Reply 17, posted (4 years 5 months 1 week 3 days 9 hours ago) and read 2814 times:

Quoting SkisAndy (Reply 13):
Borism - you understand exactly what my post is about: If the seatbelt sign is on for 8 hours straight, and the crew ROUTINELY allows pax to move around the cabin during the entire time, to use the restrooms etc... then the airline will NOT have a defense if anyone gets insured in sudden turbulence.

The difference is the pilot can then shift the blame to the cabin crew. Pretty lame if that was the pilot's actual intentions though.


User currently offlinee38 From United States of America, joined May 2008, 327 posts, RR: 0
Reply 18, posted (4 years 5 months 1 week 3 days 9 hours ago) and read 2788 times:

I think most pilots realize passengers want the seat belt sign turned off as soon as operationally feasible (and safe) in order for them to feel comfortable about moving around the cabin.

Therefore, I can only think of a few reasons why the seat belt sign would have remained on for the entire flight.

1. The pillots simply forget to turn the seat belt sign off,

2. The pilots honestly thought there would be a risk to the passengers in terms of unexpected turbulence if they turned the seat belt sign off;

3. and this is only a rumor--I have heard that flight attendants will occasionally ask the pilots not to turn the seat belt sign off so passengers will be hesitant to get out of their seats which could possibly disrupt their cabin service. However, I have a hard time believing any truth in this rumor. At the company I work for, a flight attendant has never made such a request of me.


User currently offlineswiftski From Australia, joined Dec 2006, 2701 posts, RR: 2
Reply 19, posted (4 years 5 months 1 week 3 days 9 hours ago) and read 2764 times:

I presume you don't have a copy of the forecast for the flight?

I bet a huge amount of money that on that forecast it would have said [for examples sake] something like:

WSAU21 AMMC 100700
YMMM SIGMET MM03 VALID 100800/101200 YMMCYMMM
MELBOURNE FIR SEV TURB FCST WI 100NM OF
S3000 E11800 - S3330 E13430 - S3600 E16000 FL300/420
STNR NC
STS: REV MM02 100400/100800

Go get a book on aviation meteorology.

Let me save you the time though ..

Severe Turbulence = "large, abrupt changes in altitude/attitude. Large variation in indicated airspeed. Aircraft may be temporarily out of control"

Quoting SkisAndy (Thread starter):
All this on smooth flight, I want to add again.

Would you prefer a forecast to say "Severe Turbulence is forecast" but for crew to ignore it and leave the seatbelt sign off anyway?

Because...

Quoting SkisAndy (Thread starter):
OK - so then we did have some sudden turbulence, lasting 15 seconds or so

An amazing display of "proving yourself wrong in your ownpost-ism"

Quoting SkisAndy (Thread starter):
I don't want to give the lawyers any ideas, but sooner or later one will sue an airline, where passengers have been
hurt in turbulence in one of these long seat-belt-always-on flights. The airlines' argument that the seat belt sign was on will be ineffective, since there will be hundreds of witnesses who will confirm that the passengers walked around, used the restrooms etc.... with the approval of the flight crew.

No. If you're told to keep your seatbelt on and choose not too - tough titties. Your fault.


User currently offlineType-Rated From United States of America, joined Sep 1999, 4961 posts, RR: 19
Reply 20, posted (4 years 5 months 1 week 3 days 9 hours ago) and read 2746 times:

I have been on shorter flights on AA where the seatbelt sign was on the entire flight without any turbulence. And I DO know that passengers moving around on an airplane, especially AA makes the F/A's nervous. They like to see butts in seats behaving themselves.

I think there is a link here between the two things.



Fly North Central Airlines..The route of the Northliners!
User currently offlineSkisAndy From United States of America, joined Apr 2008, 30 posts, RR: 0
Reply 21, posted (4 years 5 months 1 week 3 days 7 hours ago) and read 2636 times:

Swiftski - If turbulence is forecast in a certain area, it is not necessary to have the seatbelt sign on 4 hours before, and 4 hours after - or are you saying that these meteorological forecasts are so inaccurate, as to have an error of 2000 miles??

Several comments are to the effect that the flight attendants actually want the seat belt sign on as much as possible, so the SLF stays in their seats and out of the way. Because - we have all noticed - the airlines see their passengers mostly as a nuisance anyway, reservations treats you lousy, check-in personnel looks down on you and sighs, flight attendants would prefer if you didn't move, didn't breathe, didn't eat, didn't want to go to the restroom.....


User currently offlineweb500sjc From United States of America, joined Sep 2009, 728 posts, RR: 0
Reply 22, posted (4 years 5 months 1 week 3 days 6 hours ago) and read 2598 times:

Quoting SkisAndy (Reply 21):
flight attendants would prefer if you didn't move, didn't breathe, didn't eat, didn't want to go to the restroom.....

no that is manegment that wants you to be a statue! it does wonders for profit.



Boiler Up!
User currently offlineswiftski From Australia, joined Dec 2006, 2701 posts, RR: 2
Reply 23, posted (4 years 5 months 1 week 3 days 3 hours ago) and read 2473 times:

Quoting SkisAndy (Reply 21):
Because - we have all noticed - the airlines see their passengers mostly as a nuisance anyway, reservations treats you lousy, check-in personnel looks down on you and sighs, flight attendants would prefer if you didn't move, didn't breathe, didn't eat, didn't want to go to the restroom.....

Oh I see. This isn't a genuine question, it's just a post about feeling sorry for yourself.


User currently offlinefrmrCAPCADET From United States of America, joined May 2008, 1710 posts, RR: 1
Reply 24, posted (4 years 5 months 1 week 2 days 12 hours ago) and read 2165 times:

Is this another issue which will require another mostly unwelcome act of congress? Much better to order pilots to behave sensibly. There are plenty of unemployed or under employed ones to take the place of the few who look upon the passengers as the enemy. Another possibility is to hand out number (like in a store), and no one goes until the previous person is back to their seat, this would minimize the number of people moving about.


Buffet: the airline business...has eaten up capital...like..no other (business)
User currently offlineLUPOR1D From Ireland, joined Feb 2008, 316 posts, RR: 0
Reply 25, posted (4 years 5 months 1 week 2 days 12 hours ago) and read 2140 times:

I've been on many COA flights across the pond with the seatbelt sign on all the way, with no turbulence, or a few moments of light turbulence....people just ignore it after a while- most of them have been trigger happy pilots- any little bump and the seatbelt sign is on. In europe on the other hand I've travelled on many flights with moderate turbulence and no sign. Actually , remember returning home from Malaga one fine night....a certain irish airline   the seat belt sign came on and we were all surprised, it was a lovely flight. everyone sat down...the captain came out to use the lav, went back into flightdeck and sign turned off again... :S


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