Summer time often means full flights and irregular situations. It is also a good time to review the single most important job we have - to ensure our responsibilities are met concerning the safety and security of the passengers and other crewmembers in our care. While on-time departures are helpful for United's business initiatives, they are not an excuse for a violation of the Federal Aviation Regulations (FARs). We do not allow violations such as passenger boarding without FAA minimums onboard the aircraft or Customer Service closing aircraft doors before FAA requirements are met.
Everyday it’s important that we practice safety and security procedures as if it’s the day of a recurrent exam. It’s critical that we enforce FAR’s that require specific actions on our part such as FAR 121.391(d), which states that during taxi, flights attendants must remain at their jumpseats "with safety belts and shoulder harnesses fastened, except to perform duties related to the safety of the airplane and its occupants." This FAR is addressed on FAOM page 2.290.2. To avoid a non-compliance situation, once the safety demo is finished, complete the required cabin check, take your assigned jumpseat and fasten your seatbelt.
In summer months we are all especially aware of the dangers of turbulence. During the flight each of us is charged with making a visual inspection to ensure every passenger’s seat belt is fastened, every time the seatbelt sign is illuminated, except during turbulence that requires Flight Attendants to be seated. In this event, Flight Attendants should use the PA to reinforce the illumination of the fasten seat belt sign, and advise passengers to remain seated with their seat belts fastened.
The responsibility for checking hundreds of seatbelts should be shared among the entire crew to expedite and lighten the amount of work involved. If a passenger is out of their seat when the seatbelt sign is on, we do have a responsibility to challenge them, reminding them that the seatbelt sign is illuminated. While checking for compliance with seatbelts, make sure that child restraints are also FAA approved and check FAOM page 2.40.15 and 2.40.16 for specific information. There is recognition by regulatory agencies that some human conditions merit a more forgiving treatment.
At the end of both terminating and through flights, FARs require that Flight Attendants remain on board until passenger deplaning is complete, including passengers requiring a wheelchair or other special handling needs. The only exception to this is if there are more than the FAA minimum crew and those above minimum must leave to work an outbound flight. This regulation is detailed on FAOM page 2.40.26 through 2.40.28
In the event that we are not in compliance with any FAR, every crewmember involved should file an OSAP report detailing the circumstances that led to the violation. Find the link to on-line OSAP reports in the Safety section of our website or on our Useful websites page.