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As a frequent traveller, I’d like to think I am at my most comfortable in the skies. With someone else driving, plenty to watch and the occasional snack coming around the aisle, the sky is a beautiful place to be, until it’s not.

An Air Canada flight from Vancouver to Sydney was forced to make an emergency diversion, after 35 people were injured in flight due to extreme turbulence sending them crashing into the roof of the aircraft during a sudden drop. Let this serve as seatbelt reminder #1,000,001 and also, a good time to review basic, but crucial protocol on planes. This has nothing to do with airlines, and everything to do with you.

Know Your Emergency Exits And Basics

As iPads, Airpods and social media take over, people don’t pay enough attention to the crucial safety briefing before take off on each flight. If you can only remember a few things: remember to find your nearest exit before take off and also watch carefully to see how the oxygen mask should be attached, if it drops. People always forget that it’s supposed to actually cover your nose and mouth. During a Southwest emergency landing, almost the entire plane forgot to cover their nose, but they did have time to take selfies about it all.

A few things keep reoccurring in air incidents which are also worth noting…

  • Keep the aisle below your seat clear whenever possible, for swift exits. 
  • If you’re instructed to evacuate, leave immediately. Do not reach for a carry on.
  • Wear your seatbelt always, even if the air feels like a pillow and the sign is off.

92770239 - tired passenger sleeping on the airplane at window seatThe Seatbelt Sign Switching Off Doesn’t Mean Unbuckle

If you ever listen to the pilots pre flight briefing, which you absolutely should – you’ll hear each and every pilot on every airline around the world relay one message. “I’d like to ask you to keep your seat belt fastened, even when the seat belt sign is switched off”.

The reason for this is simple: even with advanced weather radar systems, freak air pockets and turbulence happen. When they do, the brief G force caused can send you into zero gravity, and flying into the roof of the plane at high speed. Even worse, you could hit a sharp object and be impaled. Set the buckle to a comfortable position, but keep it on always, from gate to gate.

Hot tip: crew are instructed to confirm that every passengers belt is secured when the seatbelt sign is switched on. If you want to sleep, just make sure your belt is above any blankets or clothing so that the crew can leave you in peace.

Follow Crew Member Instructions Always

Your opinion on service levels doesn’t matter when it comes to an emergency or evacuation situation. If the crew says jump, you jump. If the crew says sit down and shut up, shut up. All airline crews go through intensive training courses designed to keep them calm and focused in situations which we as passengers can never prepare for. Don’t be the person that gets others hurt by not following any and all instructions.

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