Who Needs Seat Belts, Anyway?

Photograph: Fastening seat belt ©istockphoto.com by Dmitriy Shironosov.

Michael O’Leary is at it again.

The chief executive officer of Ryanair — a low-cost carrier based in Ireland — claims that seat belts on aircraft are “pointless”, “useless” and “unnecessary.”

Does he have a point?

Well, considering that O’Leary apparently wants a cabin where passengers stand while holding on to something during a flight — similar to riding on a subway train at rush hour — in order to pack more passengers per flight, those pesky safety regulations regarding seat belts tend to obstruct the implementation of a “standing room only” cabin from becoming a reality, which O’Leary has been championing for at least three years.

According to this article by The Sun, O’Leary reportedly said that “if there ever was a crash on an aircraft, God forbid, a seatbelt won’t save you. You don’t need a seatbelt on the London Underground. You don’t need a seatbelt on trains which are travelling at 120mph. If they crash, you’re all dead.”

Try telling that to the nine people who were injured as a result of severe turbulence on a flight from Dallas-Fort Worth to Tokyo, or to the passengers who experienced an explosive decompression near Hawaii, or to the Deputy Prime Minister of Greece and five other passengers who lost their lives during extreme turbulence while in flight over Romania, or to the two people injured because of severe turbulence during a flight from Denver to Phoenix.

What about when the police responded to a call pertaining to two unruly children who refused to be buckled to their seats on a flight from Long Beach to Portland?

This is not the first time Ryanair has been involved in some sort of controversy. Last year, booking a reservation without paying a fee on Ryanair became more difficult. Passengers of Ryanair reportedly have also had to pay a fee just to have boarding passes. O’Leary argued that co-pilots are not needed on aircraft and wanted to abolish them on flights to save money.

No co-pilots or seats? Why not just figure out how to take money from people and not give them anything in return for the ultimate in earning money where revenue equals profit?

FlyerTalk members were asked if they keep their seat belts fastened whenever the seat belt sign is lighted. Some FlyerTalk members are rebellious and do not always keep their seat belts fastened — and of those FlyerTalk members who do, some do not like it but remain buckled anyway. Then again, there are those people who treat the announcements to fasten seat belts as merely a suggestion during flights, some blatantly ignoring them — but then again, when the seat belt sign is perceived to be used excessively or remain on for too long — such as for almost twelve straight hours — some people tend to get skeptical about their effectiveness.

Why should passengers remain seated while wearing a seat belt as the aircraft is taxiing slowly — or even stopped on the tarmac? Perhaps this video will illustrate why in an incident that could happen unexpectedly, albeit unlikely:

I always keep my seat belt buckled while seated on a flight. It only takes a few seconds to buckle and unbuckle — and if the length is properly adjusted and snug around my waist but not too tightly, I do not even realize that I am buckled to my seat. In fact, the seat belt habit is strong enough with me that I feel uncomfortable if I am in a moving vehicle and my seat belt is not buckled — even when I am driving a car. For me, the inconvenience is so minor that I do not even think about it.

Do you wear your seat belts while seated throughout a flight?

O’Leary claims that “if you say to passengers it’s £25 for the seat and £1 for the standing cabin, I guarantee we will sell the standing cabin first, no question.”

Would you pay as little as one British pound — not including fees, of course — for the privilege of standing in the rear of the cabin on an aircraft for the duration of a short-haul flight?
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Comments (Showing 1 of 1)

  • x1achilles at 6:19pm November 28, 2012

    This is crazy. Of course a seatbelt isn’t going to make a full on crash survivable, but it will save a lot of injuries and maybe lives during turbulence and rough landings. Do you want a “standing room only” pax standing next to you during a bumpy ride?

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