Passenger safety briefings: why, when and how
Review what to include in passenger safety briefings and how to address common issues than can arise.
On this page
- Why brief passengers
- When to do a briefing
- How to make your briefings effective
- Solutions to common problems
Why brief passengers
Safety briefings explain where to find and how to use emergency equipment passengers may have to operate. In an emergency, a well-briefed passenger will depend less on crew members and have a greater chance of survival.
When to do a briefing
Each time your plane carries passengers.
Make sure a passenger with special needs receives an individual safety briefing. Examples include visually impaired passengers, hearing-impaired passengers and adults with infants.
How to make your briefings effective
What to include
Each briefing should address:
- baggage limits and where to stow baggage
- how seat belts work
- the importance of using shoulder harnesses (if your plane is equipped with them)
- how to secure seat backs
- how to know where you are in the plane no matter its position:
- Find the exit in relation to your left or right knee
- If the exit is on your right while you’re upright, it will still be on your right even if the aircraft lands or comes to rest in another position
- how to use exits
- where to find the emergency locator transmitter, survival kit, first aid kit, fire extinguisher and any other safety equipment
- rules about using electronic devices (tablets, cell phones)
- where to find and how to use life preservers:
- Show how to put a preserver on and inflate it, and explain when to do this
- Wear it, but never inflate it in the aircraft
- rules about smoking
- how to exit a plane when under water (underwater egress)
- what happens after takeoff
- what to do during in-flight turbulence
- how to exit the plane safely (passenger deplaning)
Know these topics
How to exit a plane when under water (underwater egress)
Always review underwater egress with passengers. Give these instructions:
- Try to remain calm
- Take a deep breath prior to going under water
- Open your eyes
- Orient yourself in relation to your nearest emergency exit
- Get a firm grip on a fixed reference point
- Wait until the water has filled three-quarters of the cabin before you fully open the exit, then open it
- Release your safety harness
- Pull yourself free from the cabin
- Inflate your life preserver after exiting the aircraft
Solutions to common problems
- You don’t have a public address system
- Cabin noise makes it impossible for passengers to hear
- Short flights leave no time for in-flight briefing
Solution: do the entire briefing before engine start-up. For example, before you fly, tell your passengers that they:
- must have their seat belts fastened during takeoff, landing and turbulence
- should always use their shoulder harness (if there is one), and
- should keep seat belts fastened during the cruise portion of flight
Problem: Passengers seem uninterested.
Solution: make the briefing informative and interesting. Face your passengers, establish eye contact and speak at a slower-than-normal rate.
Problem: Passengers ask you to skip the briefing.
Solution: say no. Frequent fliers may not know that equipment can be different on the same type of aircraft. Not only does a safety briefing ensure your passengers know what’s expected of them, it’s the law.