View Full Version : Climb and Descent Procedures - Use of the "Fasten Seat Belt" Sign (Revised Procedure)

18th Feb 2009, 16:57
no doubt everyone has seen the revised seat belt procedure, with the increased (and unnecessary?) PA's from the flight crew...

any thoughts?


18th Feb 2009, 17:08
As I read it just one extra mini-PA? Ask Neil P...

Veruka Salt
18th Feb 2009, 20:49
Just aligning procedures with Qantas .... almost identical.

18th Feb 2009, 23:22
Once upon a time, like recently, you would just about fail a command course if you dared make a P.A whilst the aircraft was on climb or descent!! What has suddenly made it safer??? Oh yeah ISD...

18th Feb 2009, 23:39
If you ask me it is just another wannabe on the 3rd floor who wants to implement something for the sake of justifying his management position...

Azamat Bagatov
19th Feb 2009, 00:32
....or his job :mad:

Dynasty Trash Hauler
19th Feb 2009, 05:35
just came back from a CX long haul flight few weeks back.

My observations:

CX is overly paranoid with the seatbelt sign in light turbulence. rediculous.
CX has WAY WAY too many pa's already. Enough with it. Inane crap is standard for airline pa's I know - we all do it. But enuff. Please. Especially in 18 different languages.

my 2 cents less tax.

19th Feb 2009, 06:02

You will find a varying degree of paranoid use of seatbelt signs. Some will turn them on with a fart while others seem to wait until the acft is upside down before the consider it.

Also at certain times it may be more prudent than others to be over cautious such as during hot food and beverage service while other times during "sleep" it may be left off to prevent that "unnecessary" PA.

A bloke in America has just been awarded over 2 million dollars for being blind drunk and falling into the path of a subway train injuring himself in the process. This story itself shows the world we live in and maybe you can appreciate that having a more cautious approach sometimes may help in the ass covering later.

19th Feb 2009, 08:33
There's a long history behind the seatbelt sign and the associated PAs that go with it to prevent the rash of pax and cabin crewmembers getting hurt. It's actually an old issue and like many other industry wide safety and procedural SOP's, cathay is behind the loop on this one as well. But better late than never. The current team is aligning and catching up in a deliberate manner, for that you can't fault them. We're literally 20 years behind the rest of the industry around here, better catch up or we'll get bitten in the @<hidden>$$ and have to learn the lessons the hard way rather than learn from other people's mistakes. We're no different from any other airline out there, if they make a f'up having the same procedures as ours which failed to prevent it, we better be pro-active and fix ours as well before we have the same accident/incident. Otherwise we're very stupid for not learning from other people's mistake!

Cockpit-cabin crew communications and interaction around here is severly lacking without getting into reasons why, unfortunately. But even disregarding that fact, you can't rely on a ding to pass along important indications to the cabin. That method is pretty much outdated and used less and less today. Making a quick PA leaves no question or doubt. CRM as a whole is 20 years behind around here. What we call CRM around here, even in the cockpit alone, is not recognized as such at most other airlines. Change for the better is good. Resistance to change is human nature. If you haven't gotten used to the periodic changing of the SOP's by now or can't see the need for it, you're in the wrong business.

19th Feb 2009, 11:23
I concur with DTH... I haven't seen any varying degree of application with regard to the use of the seat belt sign on CX over the last few years. With the merest hint of light chop, on it goes... along with the accompanying P.A.'s. There are so many occasions when, by the very nature of the offending 'chop', it's almost certainly not going to present any nasty surprises yet still, it seems, CX flicks the switch making for an unnecessarily restless nights sleep. Other reputable airlines on the same route, in the same conditions, don't seem to exercise the same paranoia? I speak from repeated experience too.

Dan Buster
19th Feb 2009, 15:48
It's not a seat belt sign anymore, it's an anti-litigation switch. The first thing everyone asks if injuries are experienced during turbulence, is if the seat belt sign was on. It's the only thing that's going to protect the crew from a lawsuit if someone falls over during turbulence and sprains their pinky. I wish we could just leave it on for the entire flight and issue a 'leave your seat at your own risk' warning. So, the seatbelt sign will continue to come on at the first sign of turbulence in my operation.

19th Feb 2009, 17:29
"Change for the better is good. Resistance to change is human nature. If you haven't gotten used to the periodic changing of the SOP's by now or can't see the need for it, you're in the wrong business."

i understand the need for change, and i too believe that change is for the better, but i chose to not blindly follow someone else's change without asking what the reason behind it is. this was not about the periodic changing of the SOP's, im just trying to get some idea of why the procedure calls for extra PAs.

i just dont understand why the seatbelt sign cant convey the same information as a (now redundant) PA.


19th Feb 2009, 18:10
I wish we could just leave it on for the entire flight and issue a 'leave your seat at your own risk' warning.

Coz you'll get sued for DVT!

19th Feb 2009, 22:29
"It's the only thing that's going to protect the crew from a lawsuit"

No, the thing that will protect you from litigation, in a HKG registered aircraft, is that its . . . . . a HKG registered aircraft.

Guys, dont panic. Its not the US or Oz.

4 driver
19th Feb 2009, 22:45 mentioned above, it's someone on the 3rd floor trying to make a difference.
Just like pre-Command and SO technical interviews. Just like all the homework before the RT's. The route briefing exam, on and on....
Everytime there is a shuffle on the 3rd floor; someone has to appear to be making a difference. Whether it's better, more efficient or safer has yet to be determined.
As for the actual subject of "seat belts", we are not in the lawyer-friendly USA so put 'em on when it's needed, not cause your scared to get sued.

20th Feb 2009, 00:37
When the seat belt sign is turned on, why do a PA especially on a night flight when most people are asleep? BA don't and the Cabin Crew just go around checking. PAs are a real pain for the traveler and as so many no one listens anyway! Let's turn off the music as well!

20th Feb 2009, 03:17
The initial 'welcome aboard' PA from the flight deck which, by me at least, always includes an instruction to keep seat-belts comfortably fastened whenever seated. Would this not cover us legally if some litigious idiot tried it on? Assuming that he was seated at the time of the incident...

20th Feb 2009, 05:05
we are not in the lawyer-friendly USA so put 'em on when it's needed, not cause your scared to get sued

That just about sums up Cathay's attitude: we invented aviation and the rest of the world just doesn't know what they are doing. :ugh:

It is this attitude that has led to previous Cathay mistakes. Trust me, good sense applies no matter where you are, and that is a reality. Pretending that some things don't apply to you leads to multi-million dollar fines. Just ask the head of cargo. :hmm:

20th Feb 2009, 11:35
BBC NEWS | World | Asia-Pacific | Tokyo flight turbulence hurts 47 (

21st Feb 2009, 18:11
Just aligning procedures with Qantas .... almost identical.

Huh? I was just on a Qantas flight to and from Australia about a week ago... On all 4 sectors... I don't recall they have "Cabin Crew... 30 mins to landing"... nor do they have "Cabin Crew... please be seated for landing"... All Qantas have was "Cabin Crew... please prepare cabin for landing"... that's the only announcement I heard from the cockpit crew...

To be honest, the "30 mins to landing" call is silly... since the captain will make a pre-landing speech, that should be treated as 30 mins to landing / top of descent to the cabin crew... so no extra call should be needed... however, the last two... "prepare cabin for landing" and "be seated for landing"... I can understand why they should have it...

Sand Man
21st Feb 2009, 22:50
I agree that a PA when the seat belt sign comes on is not required as the cabin crew do a visual check. However the visual check is no more than a quick walk through the cabin, I have seen on numerous occasions that they do not pick up belts that are not fastened. Another point is that even when the signs are on the cabin crew usually do not stop people from getting up. Try to get up on QANTAS and you will know about it.
As for the new PAs from the cockpit I really do not see how they convey and more information than our current procedures.

Veruka Salt
22nd Feb 2009, 00:02
Wowpeter ..

Almost identical to Qantas procedures. They don't cycle the seat belt sign after take off (they just select it to AUTO), or again at 10000' on descent. Nor do they do a "30 min to landing" PA, but they do a "cabin crew prepare the cabin for landing PA" at 20000'.

Incidentally, cabin crew too are required to be seated anytime the seatbelt sign is on, and flight deck crew will strap in fully too. The flight deck crew make the PA (in 1 language ... :E) stating the the seatbelt sign has been switched on etc etc ..


22nd Feb 2009, 00:17
QF are anal to the extreme with their seat belt signs. The slightest bump and on it comes followed 2 seconds later by the CSM in a VERY stern voice "All Pax and Cabin crew MUST BE SEATED IMMEDIATLY"

On a 737-800 BNE to MEL flt the signs came on and off 5 times in 30 mins.
On one occasion they stayed on for 30 seconds ( I am not kidding, it really was only 30 seconds!! )

And they LOVE their speed brakes....................can't possibly be more than 2kts above the profile speed and out they come!!
Guranteed on every flight and not just in descent, one guy pulled them in cruise around FL390 in a 767 a few years back.

22nd Feb 2009, 02:44
And they LOVE their speed brakes....................can't possibly be more than 2kts above the profile speed and out they come!!

Sitting in the back, sipping you beer, you know how high they were kept, about the shortcuts they received and the slower speeds as instructed by ATC.....:=

Veruka Salt
22nd Feb 2009, 02:57
It's just a cultural thing ACMS, usually the result of an FSO because a hostie at R5 broke a fingernail in turbulence ... you get the idea. The policy works well though ... most pax don't notice the inflight service being suspended :}

I certainly wouldn't say QF use the speedbrake any more than CX. I can't speak for the 737, but the 767 has a nasty tendency to overspeed early in descent out of a jetstream. The most common solution was to start an early descent (at a lower RoD), but that was knocked on the head by the fuel nazis due to it using an extra spoonful of fuel.

The other fuel saving outcome is that descents are done at around 265kts (+/- 10kts) which usually requires speedbrake due to the lower drag.

22nd Feb 2009, 05:27
true I don't know what the exact circumstances were on every flight.
BUT, I've travelled to Aus on QF 76's 74's and A330's for nearly 19 years now on average 4 times a year, so that's at least 70+ trips down the back of Skippy. ( not counting my Domestic sectors over 20 years in Oz, another 50+ ) My experience is on EVERY flight they use the brakes a LOT. Way more than we do in CX. Just my 2 cents worth over a long period.

22nd Feb 2009, 14:25
Veruka Salt... ah I see what you mean now... that's exactly what i heard from my Qantas flight! :8

22nd Feb 2009, 14:47
"My experience is on EVERY flight they use the brakes a LOT. Way more than we do in CX."

Maybe its because in QF they spend a lot of time flying around oz where rules and regs such as speed/alt constraints are actually expected to be met compared to simply driving around asia where you can get away with any old crap flying and no one gives a toss.

HKG, prime example.

22nd Feb 2009, 14:56
I've also noticed the seatbelt warning signs have come up more frequently on CX flights.

You won't blame them if you knew about the stack of litigation against them awaiting processing by the courts, courtesy of those who don't buckle themselves properly when seated.

The crew is a different matter though ... they still have walk around the cabin, albeit minus the hot drinks.

Ron & Edna Johns
22nd Feb 2009, 20:16
Not privy to what the new CX procedures are, I will say this: I reckon the Qantas seat-belt procedures are probably the best anywhere, so any alignment by CX towards QF's procs is a good thing. And don't worry, I am cynical about a lot of QF things, but not this one.

QF only turns the signs on when there is a risk to both passengers AND cabin-crew. If seat belt sign is on, EVERYONE sits and straps in. This foolishness I see around the world whereby the sign is on, pax are strapped yet c/c aren't must stop. I've paxed on CX numerous times (and EK, and other European carriers) and the sign has been on for 40, 50, 60 minutes plus, and nothing in the way of a ripple. Meanwhile c/c do a full service. The sign is being used as a crowd-control device. The message is confusing - pax end up not respecting the sign, c/c cannot be sure you're about to enter a bloody great CB. No wonder pax get up in the middle of a genuine turbulence/seat belt sign event to go to the dunny. And frankly if there is a turbulence risk to passengers, then cabin-crew are equally at risk and deserve the same protection (ie, stop what you are doing and strap in).

22nd Feb 2009, 23:40
AnQrKa...............good on ya mate, anything more to add?

Would care to compare the movements per hour for SIN and or HKG to MEL or SYD? would you care to compare the delay rates caused by ATC to arrivals and departures between HKG and or SIN to SYD or MEL?

I think that if you did then HKG and SIN would compare very favourably with their Australian brothers.

Don't get me wrong, I think that both ASA and QF have world standard professionalism, it's just a few little things that get my attention regularly.:ok: