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Sudden Increase In Seat Belt Sign use?

Sudden Increase In Seat Belt Sign use?

Old Jun 2, 11, 2:15 pm
  #1  
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Sudden Increase In Seat Belt Sign use?

Hello all,

I'm a moderately heavy traveler, particularly lately, and I've noticed something positively strange in my last three long haul trips:

The seat belt sign. It goes on. It rarely goes off. And its presence is fairly zealously being enforced, both in person and over speakers.

Now, I'm a scientist, and I'm well aware that my sample size is limited. Thus me posting -- perhaps this is just something that's always been there, that I filtered out?

I've asked the attendants, and they're saying people are being extra cautious due to tornados in the US. And I suppose we've had the volcano in Europe. That leaves that fight over the pacific, though.

Anyone else seeing this?
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Old Jun 2, 11, 4:00 pm
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Originally Posted by Dan Kaminsky View Post
I've asked the attendants, and they're saying people are being extra cautious due to tornados in the US.
FA's come up with pretty amusing "expert answers" at times.

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Old Jun 2, 11, 4:06 pm
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Originally Posted by Dan Kaminsky View Post
I've asked the attendants, and they're saying people are being extra cautious due to tornados in the US. And I suppose we've had the volcano in Europe. That leaves that fight over the pacific, though. Anyone else seeing this?
Not really a pattern that I see, but yes, really random.

...and annoying when after an hour of smooth flight you
have to eventually decide to break the law or piss your pants.
(not really... I just break the law).
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Old Jun 2, 11, 4:12 pm
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Actually, I seem to have heard FA's say things more along the lines of "I just need to inform you that the seatbelt sign is on," more recently, (especially if the seat belt sign has been on for 15 minutes and the last turbulence was 14 minutes ago), instead of, say, threatening to call the Air Marshall if the pax doesn't seat his tush pronto.
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Old Jun 2, 11, 4:34 pm
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US Airlines treat the seatbelt sign the same way retail establishments use those foldable yellow "Caution Wet Floor" signs: as a way to indemnify themselves. If the light is on/sign is up and someone gets hurt, well, it can't possibly be the business' fault, because they WARNED you! There's very little incentive to turn off the light or put the sign away because it just means that they are now more vulnerable to lawsuits if someone does get hurt. So the warning stays on/up.

As soon as you understand the seatbelt sign is more of a "you can't sue us sign," it's much easier to ignore when you need to use the lavatory.
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Old Jun 2, 11, 5:21 pm
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It's been on longer on many of the flights I've been on, but unless it's actually bumpy, totally ignored as to enforcement.
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Old Jun 2, 11, 6:19 pm
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The seat belt sign is definitely on too long. Sure, we've only been in the air 45 minutes but we've been standing by the gate and boarding for much longer than that.

I do not know if the sign is on longer more recently. It seems to be more enforced now.

On my last flight, the pilot told us we'd be hitting bumpy air later in the flight. So she gave us a warning that the seat belt sign would eventually be on. She was very nice and landed the plane (an md 80) extremely well.

The weather in the United States seems to be more volatile than before. But it is possible that seat belt signs are on longer so that stressed out travelers are not in the back so much just hanging out.
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Old Jun 2, 11, 8:20 pm
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With the exception of takeoff and landing, or very obvious and extreme turbulence, I've never had an FA actually enforce the seatbelt sign.

I think it's more of a legal CYA than a rule.
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Old Jun 2, 11, 8:49 pm
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I was recently on an AA MD-80 from RIC to DFW. The captain announced that he expected a smooth flight and would turn off the seatbelt sign as soon as we reached cruising altitude. But he didn't turn it off for the whole 3-hour trip. When people got up anyway, the flight attendants told them to return to their seats. They even made P.A. announcements to get people to stay seated. After a while the flight attendants gave up. I assume the cockpit crew forgot to turn off the sign. Why wouldn't a flight attendant call the cockpit and ask about this? Three hours is a long time for some people, especially young children.
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Old Jun 2, 11, 11:09 pm
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Seems that the airlines want seatbelt on pretty much all times for safety sake..
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Old Jun 3, 11, 9:16 am
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I've always suspected that seatbelt sign use was an indicator of employee morale (inverse relationship). What better way to enforce a work slow-down? Perhaps a sign of solidarity between flight crews and cabin crews?
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Old Jun 3, 11, 3:31 pm
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TBH it's not so much more comfortable without a seatbelt, I just leave it on
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Old Jun 7, 11, 11:12 am
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Isn't there a bell in the cockpit that dings?

I would think there would be a bell that dings every 5 minutes to remind the pilot that the seatbelt sign is illuminated so that way he or she won't forget to turn it off after the turbulence. Is there some sign in the cockpit that i s illuminated like above the seats with the Fasten Seatbelt and No Smoking.

Also if the seatbelt sign is on for a long time after takeoff with no turbulence after reaching the cruising attitude when can one use the lavs?
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Old Jun 7, 11, 11:23 am
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Originally Posted by jmcp1575 View Post
TBH it's not so much more comfortable without a seatbelt, I just leave it on
The issue is not that the seatbelt is uncomfortable while seated.

The issue is that it's difficult to get to the lav while your seatbelt is fastened.

I've been on recent flights where the announcements about the seatbelt sign being on were pretty forceful. I don't want to be on a five-hour flight and not be able to use the lav, particularly when, as another poster pointed out, I may have been in the gate area, re-satisfying TSA gate checks, boarding, waiting for take-off for some time before my flight even departs.

However, I also don't want to risk being singled out for punishment by an over-zealous FA.
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Old Jun 7, 11, 11:24 am
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I've seen it on more, but I've heard reports of chop more on channel 9 in the last few months, than I can remember hearing in a long time. I've very rarely had a pilot leave on a seatbelt sign outside of those warnings, minus one who mentioned that he'd have it on a bit early, coming over the divide into DEN.
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