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Spring Turbulence and Seat Belt Compliance Check

Date: April 6, 2021

MEC Safety Health and Security Committee

As Spring travel ramps up so does the potential for turbulence with the changing weather. As a reminder in advance of the anticipated challenges of Spring and Summer flying, our MEC Safety, Health and Security Committee shared information concerning seat belt compliance checks and provided guidance to ensure Flight Attendants are in compliance.

Misinformation spread via social media and in the workplace continues to wrongly suggest that these compliance checks are in some way discretionary in nature for Flight Attendants. These improper suggestions have created significant confusion in the workplace and Flight Attendants continue to seek clarification as to when (and if) Seatbelt Compliance Checks are required.

To avoid confusion, the use of seatbelts for cabin occupants two years and older is required on all aircraft during surface movement, takeoff and landing, in accordance with FAR 121.311. The flight deck is responsible for illuminating the Fasten Seat Belt sign. Flight Attendants are required to make PA announcements at regular intervals in those instances when the Fasten Seat Belt sign is illuminated during prolonged periods, or if passengers do not comply when the sign is illuminated.

In addition to the PA announcements, Flight Attendants are required to complete a cabin compliance check anytime the Fasten Seat Belt sign is turned on during flight, except if instructed by pilots to take their jumpseats, to remain seated or during periods of moderate to severe turbulence, as stated as part of the Standard Operating Procedure (SOP).

None of us can selectively choose to read or interpret a FAR or disregard eFAOM guidance. The Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) in the eFAOM are deemed as regulatory per FAA. The United Flight Attendant Manual is approved by the FAA which makes the information contained in the publication essential for compliance with FARs. Misrepresenting published communications places all of us at a disadvantage.

In addition, we’ve recently published a reminder on cart safety that we encourage everyone to review to ensure the best opportunity for each of us to protect ourselves in the event the need to do so arises unexpectedly.

If you have any questions, please contact your Local Council Safety Representatives for assistance.

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