Do you know how to use the seatbelt on an airplane?

Can you tell I’ve been flying a lot lately? I recently had a flight that involved changing planes twice. On the third plane there was mechanical trouble so we had to go back in to the terminal and wait for a new plane. When we re-boarded the stewardess then went through the safety drill again, to the same group of passengers, which included reminding us all–again–how to use the seat belt.

Made me wonder if there are still people on this planet that are both using commercial air travel AND unable to make the seat belt work. Can you?

I voted No, and I’m thankful every time they show me just to be a smart ass, but really, I do remember how to use the seatbelt, even if I don’t fly that often.

Besides, I’m sure I could figure it out if they didn’t tell me and I couldn’t remember.

“Um…I have this end, and this end…OMG WHAT DO I DO!!!”

I know how to use the seatbelt on an airplane. I also understand why they always demonstrate it.

You may think so, but when I still drove my MG most of my passengers could not figure out how the seatbelt worked.

I don’t have any problem with seat belts nor with their demonstration, but my father did recently sit next to a woman who did not know how to unfasten it when the plane arrived at the gate. He finally had to do it for her. Seriously.

Sounds like the demonstration failed. Do you think she knows how to how to use it now ?

If you think it’s silly blame the government, not the airline. Federal Aviation Regulation Part 91, Section 519(a)(2)…

(a) Before each takeoff the pilot in command of an airplane carrying passengers shall ensure that all passengers have been orally briefed on –
(2) Use of safety belts and shoulder harnesses. Each passenger shall be briefed on when, where, and under what conditions it is necessary to have his or her safety belt and, if installed, his or her shoulder harness fastened about him or her. This briefing shall include a statement, as appropriate, that Federal Aviation Regulations require passenger compliance with the lighted passenger sign and/or crewmember instructions with regard to these items;

Dateline: This past Wednesday. LGA -> YYZ, via WestJet.

The safety briefing included: “Now that you’ve all fastened your seat belts, we’re going to show you just how you did it.”

I’m thankful every time they remind me that my seat cushion may be used as a personal floatation device… when I’m flying to Nebraska. I guess we could theoretically end up in a river somewhere…

It certainly wouldn’t be the first time it has happened.

Pixel_Dent nailed it, except the reg that applies to the airlines is 121.571(a)(1)(iii).

Airplanes HAVE been known to land on rivers. There was a rather famous case not too many years ago.

Back when I was being a pilot I frequently did have to help my passengers with this. Then again, the four-point harnesses on some of the airplanes I used to fly are not commonly seen by the general public so some confusion was understandable.

It’s better to remind everyone on the plane how to do it than to skip it and and miss the one person who’s never flown before and (I guess) never put on a seatbelt in a car.

I don’t find it any more ridiculous than having to go out and buy teensy tubes of toothpaste and pour my conditioner and lotion into little bottles because someone, somewhere may have decided to bring paste explosives. I suspect it’s a lot more likely that I’ll be on the plane with someone who didn’t figure out how to fasten the seatbelt properly and will slam into the ceiling when we hit some turbulence than with someone who’s a terrorist.

I don’t mind it, because they do it while the plane is beginning to taxi. If they held up the plane for the thirty seconds it takes, that would grate on me to no end.

ETA: Voted no, just to see if we could maybe get no to win, but I guess that’s just not in the cards. Where’s everyone’s sense of humor?

I know they always do the spiel, but I honestly do not remember the last time I listened.

I wonder, though, who reviews and approves the script that they read.

I noticed, some years ago, on overwater flights (California to Hawaii), that they also demonstrate the use of the life jackets. The narration is pre-recorded and played, while the attendants stand in the aisle at every ten rows or so, demonstrating as the recording plays.

Dumb-shit recording. At one point, it states two steps you need to do, in the opposite order that you need to do them! I don’t remember exactly the words, but it was something like this:

Pull down sharply on the red tabs to inflate the vest after tightening
the belt straps around your waist.

Note the wording is grammatically correct but mentions the two steps in the opposite order that you should do them. So as the attendants demonstrated the steps, they necessarily had to NOT follow the recording. It was visibly awkward for them.

Then there’s this. The OP is clearly talking about the standard lap belt found on most commercial planes, which are simpler than the belt and one-shoulder harness found in cars these days*. If more planes had the four-point harness of which Broomstick speaks (not that I’ve ever actually seen those while flying on broomsticks), the attendants really would have to demonstrate, and quite probably walk up the aisles buckling everybody in for them. They’re easy enough once you get the hang of them, but first-timers would likely need help.

  • To be sure, unlike the OP, I haven’t flown (commercial) for years. Are commercial plane seat belts still just the lap belts with old-fashioned buckle in the middle? Or are they more like car belts these days?

ETA: And BTW, no, the attendants didn’t actually inflate their vests while demonstrating how to pull down on the red tabs.

I could see being very briefly confused, if you had never flown before. You might first stick the buckle into the wrong end while putting it on, and the unbuckling isn’t how it works in every car I’ve ever been in, so I could see how a novice flyer could not know…

For maybe a couple seconds, with confusion instantly cleared up by basic experimentation or an indication from the person next to you. By the time the safety lecture starts, everyone should have gotten it.

I wouldn’t mind it at all if they’d just fuck off and leave my alone while they do it. But they make such a big deal about turning off electronics and removing headphones.

I’m not unsympathetic to children, first time passengers, and the completely incompetent. The seat belts are needed and the flight attendants are their to help ensure compliance. But as mentioned earlier, the little lecture doesn’t accomplish that. They still need to go around checking, and then helping those that need it.

I say skip the silly little demonstration, keep the normal check they do, then help the one person out of 400 that is struggling. You know, give a man a fish, you feed him for a day. Teach a grown man how to use a seat belt and you make him safer for life.

The regulation has been in force since before cars had seat belts, when it made sense to tell the passengers how to use them. It makes no sense at all nowadays.

Actually, maybe it makes just a little sense - the style of buckle is similar to what the very few seat belts then in use in cars had when the regulation was written. No one now flying remembers that style, so perhaps they do have to be told?

Nah, it doesn’t make sense. The regulation should be updated.

Yeah, I mean look at the thing when clasped. Ok, nothing happens went I push. Obviously, it doesn’t just pull apart. What if I lift? Bingo. Chimps would figure it out. Damned dirty apes.