View Full Version : Cabin Crew to search life-jackets prior to every departure

Devils Advocate
17th Aug 2004, 12:31
As per one of our latest Flight Crew Notices:PRE-FLIGHT SECURITY SEARCH


As part of increased security measures, each Cabin Crew member is now required to check six lifejackets each prior to every departure. The SCCM will then complete and sign a Security Declaration which will be passed to the Captain for countersignature. The form should be handed to the Dispatcher for retention for a period of not less than 24 hours after flight departure.

Stocks of the Security Declaration form are held in crew rooms and SCCMs will ensure that this form is included in the pre-flight paperwork.


The Department for Transport has issued a new Security Directive to incorporate additional security checks on life-jackets stowed underneath passenger seats.Now, other than the fact that some pax take it upon themselves to filch the occasional life-jacket, could somebody please explain to me the rationale behind this additional new search ?

After all, passengers joining an aircraft have been through a supposedly rigorous system of security checks, right ?!

Also, what with Disclosure Scotland, et al ;) , all the staff who work airside, e.g. engineers, aircraft cleaners, caterers, etc, are supposedly ‘security vetted’ and, similar to the passengers, these staff also have to pass through a supposedly rigorous system of ‘security’, right ?!

So, reading between the lines, are we to understand that there are holes in the security ‘ring-of-steel’ – or how else might things be carried aboard to be stashed within an under-your-seat life-jacket pocket ?

Yep, God forbid that somebody might secret a pair of tweezers or maybe some of those lethal finger-nail clippers inside said life-jacket !

So, is this yet another ill conceived farce from the Uk DfT ? Or, there again, maybe they're just trying to protect us from those sneaky journalists ?! :E

17th Aug 2004, 12:38
Presumably you'll be required to check all the gaps between seat cushions too? Plus any part under the seat illicit items might be stowed?


The Southend King
17th Aug 2004, 13:16

I sympathise. We're introducing the same. But here's a few thoughts..

After all, passengers joining an aircraft have been through a supposedly rigorous system of security checks, right ?!

Are you sure? Is that true everywhere you go? and Ground staff...at all your destinations?

Also, what with Disclosure Scotland, et al , all the staff who work airside, e.g. engineers, aircraft cleaners, caterers, etc, are supposedly ‘security vetted’ and, similar to the passengers, these staff also have to pass through a supposedly rigorous system of ‘security’, right ?!

Again...Disclosure Scotland just tells you that someone hasn't got an unspent criminal record...nothing else. What level of " Security Vetting" is done on cleaners in , say , Corfu?

Six Jackets per crew member....so thats 18 for us.....on 148 seats. It's sampling really , isn't it. So definately smacks of " loophole in Crew Security checks that needs closing with a signature to blame someone if it all goes wrong"

17th Aug 2004, 13:24
I affraid that this sillyness will continue as long as the US has a chimp in charge of the White House and Britain has a chimps a*** licker in 10 Downing street. It's high time we voted these 2 dangerous individules out of power!

As long as this period of war mongering continues you can expect more and more of these stupid checks!

17th Aug 2004, 13:31
After all, passengers joining an aircraft have been through a supposedly rigorous system of security checks, right ?!

Are you sure? Is that true everywhere you go?

Certainly not at one very large UK airport. On a recent trip to Spain I picked up the wrong waist belt-bag and during the week found I'd taken my large Swiss Army Knife and a large nail file in error. The bag went through the x-ray machine but I was not challenged... On the way back I packed them "below".

So much for airport security

Joyce Tick
17th Aug 2004, 13:33

Your name is as inane as your comments. Everyone of sound mind is anti-war whenever possible, it's not just the prerogative of lefties like you. Your spelling ability gives away your IQ level.

17th Aug 2004, 13:33
Here here,
The whole thing is purely box ticking, as with so much in aviation these days.
Can't wait til I'm able to sod off for something better that doesn't involve aeroplanes, George Dubya or our TB!!!! Grrrrr..

17th Aug 2004, 13:49
It's interesting that this has finally come on the agenda.

During the last year or so, I approached both the CAA and a number of carriers about the problem of missing lifejackets, but absolutely minimal interest was expressed by those approached.

Officially, the CAA view is that carriers are required to check compliance before EACH flight, but this is a rule followed more in the breach than the observance, and the CAA are not particularly zealous about enforcement!

To perform such a check manually would consume in the order of 5-10 person minutes for a typical 737/320 size aircraft, which is an undesirable extra burden, especially for the heavily time-constrained "low cost" carriers.

So, my company (:: airfid :: (http://www.airfid.com)) proposed a solution based on RFID tag technology and portable tag readers. The checking process then becomes as simple as walking the length of the gangway (circa 1 minute), since each tagged lifejacket "speaks" its ID. The results can be a simple count, or a check against expected inventory for things like time expiry, etc. Absences can be identified and replacements provided. Moreover, the reader can be "holstered" at the exit to detect any unauthorized removals.

Maybe one of these days I'll get a BIG order, but meanwile I'm not going to hold my breath ;)


Devils Advocate
17th Aug 2004, 14:43
The Southend King - I concur, wherein what you say is what I was alluding too ( the name is 'Devils Advocate' after all. ;) )

Needless to say, what we see on a daily basis is 'security' that's not a product of joined-up-thinking, just as it is not consistent throughout the EU and / or other parts of the world – as you say.

We've the farce that tweezers, nail clippers and the like, are disallowed (ex-UK), but wherein passengers can still procure and carry onboard duty-free flammable liquids housed in glass bottles, plus petrol & gas filled lighters to go with them. This is approved of at nearly all airports and at many airlines and where sometimes, in other countries and upon other airlines, you can purchase knives too.

We've the farce that the very expensive, supposedly bullet proof, flight deck door is housed in a non-bullet proof frame – go figure ?!

We've the farce that pilots sit in a flight deck, along with a very handy axe, and are entrusted with the priceless lives of the passengers, to say nothing of the value of the aeroplane, and yet they’re not trusted to take anything sharp through ‘security’.

We've the farce that Disclosure Scotland (DS) only works under UK legislation and has no jurisdiction to obtain criminal history information from other countries ( to say nothing of the fact that not all foreign countries have a system of recording criminal activity information ), just as they (DS) neither check religious or political leanings.
Indeed, one might suppose it quite likely that all of the 911 team would have passed DS - so long as they didn’t have a UK Criminal Record and were able to prove that they’d worked at, say, McDonald’s or some such, for the requisite amount of time to cover the employment history requirement.

It’s similarly a farce that many of the ‘crimes’, for which DS has caused people to have had their airside pass / livelihood suspended, are totally irrelevant to aviation security ( see here (http://www.dft.gov.uk/stellent/groups/dft_transsec/documents/page/dft_transsec_026458.hcsp) ).

As I wrote some time previously (http://www.pprune.com/forums/showthread.php?s=&threadid=123171&highlight=Disclosure+Scotland):
The most laughable bit is that these checks only apply to convictions which can be traced against you within the UK and / or subject to the UK Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974.

Thus anything that one might have done beyond our shores is of no consequence, e.g.

I could be a paid up member of the IRA / ETA / AlQeda / etc
I could be wanted in, say, Bosnia or Sierra Leone, for gun running / rape / torture / extortion / murder / genocide
I could be the ring leader of a people & drug smuggling organization in Far East
I could be living off immoral earnings from a string of child prostitutes in India
Heck, I could even be a piano player in an Aberdeen whorehouse

....... and Disclosure Scotland would know diddlysquat about any of it !Now we have the farce that our Cabin Crew have to search life-jackets because, as has been correctly said, a "loophole in Crew Security checks that needs closing with a signature to blame someone if it all goes wrong".

The whole thing is farcical !

17th Aug 2004, 17:42
Has anyone's life ever been saved by one of these things anyway?

Chuck em off and use the weight to burn off fuel after leaving stand on time regardless of slot to pretend we're 'on time':O

srs what?
17th Aug 2004, 17:48
Interesting this has only just come to light. Our security search teams have been having to check these for just over a month. DfT regulations.

17th Aug 2004, 21:03
Erm we have to check the lifejackets on every turnaround, and i work for a "LoCo". But why check just six? Either do it right or dont bother at all!

18th Aug 2004, 03:34
I'm with Arkroyal on this. If you're going to insist on looking logically at security then you have to do the same with lifejackets. There are many devices that you could put on a plane for the same weight / cost as all the lifejackets and which would save significantly more lives. Lifejackets are an historical anachronism from the days of flying boats which (as far as I know) have never contributed to saving anyone in a big passenger jet crash - get rid of them!

18th Aug 2004, 05:57
Fair points though I am sure in something like the Ethiopean crash off the coast there were survivors and who knows who might have died if there had not been jackets.

18th Aug 2004, 08:59
Each time we get an edict , everyone gets stressed about how stupid it all is. well thats a given so chill out get on with it. the phrase
Water off a ducks back, springs to mind, or.....

organise a lobby group via a forum such as this. campaign, and present the facts. Thats what the rest of the world does. It might not achieve much but it may redirect your fustration away from stress and into activity. there is alot of pilots out there who would lend a signature or have the journo contacts to do a cutting piece.

personally for now i'll sign the form and THEN ask for a coffee.

Devils :

The text of the memo may give a little too much away of your employer. :ok:

18th Aug 2004, 09:18
As with most legislation these days, it only serves to be a pain in the bum to the law abidng(ie majority) of us, and actually gives credibility to those who have a concealed, nefarious outcome in mind. And will we get offered any finacial reward for putting ourselves in the front line against the war on trerrorism: I doubt it. By the way, could anyone show me where the ring of steel is? I've only found a ring of jelly.

18th Aug 2004, 10:10
And exactly who's neck will be on the block, when some suspicious article is found on board after all these security checks have been done and signed for?????

Pilots should refuse to sign these forms as the security checks are none of our business, and so we have no idea if they are completed or not.

18th Aug 2004, 17:24
Yep ludicrous but my question is:

Is Joyce Tick cross?

Here Devil's Advocate -

With that list of qualifications, have you thought of a career in politics?

18th Aug 2004, 18:48
Has any pilot out there ever experienced any occasion on which life jackets have actually been needed? Or indeed slide rafts for that matter? How many lives have been saved by these devices? Probably none. The costs of them are huge in weight and maintenance/inspection requirements.

Several years ago I met a man who had been injured in an accident in which a Japan Air LInes DC8 had landed in the sea short of SFO. All the pax had been evacuated by boat and he had been injured by the fact that he had been forced to remove his shoes and his feet had been splintered by poor woodwork on the evacuating boat. I took up the matter with the CAA and as a result they changed their rule that you had to take your shoes off. It all goes to show that no one is normally doing any useful risk assessment.

Safety is always about managing risks. If you assess the risks of landing on sea you will find that all of those useless devices like life jackets and sliderafts are pointless and very expensive. I suggest that they be removed from aircraft.

Let us hope that this stimulates a debate on waht is actually needed to ensure the highest standards of safety. You can be sure that some of the regulators do not have much clue about waht that actually means.

Have you heard this!
18th Aug 2004, 21:01
Which airline is asking crew to do this?

Pub User
19th Aug 2004, 08:29

You seem to forget that the slides are the only means of emergency evacuation on the ground as well as on water, and as such have been used many times. The fact that they can detach and become liferafts, if required, is an added bonus.

Gin Slinger
19th Aug 2004, 08:43
I wonder if more passengers would have been saved over the years if life jackets were ditched in favour of smoke hoods?

Pub User
19th Aug 2004, 09:19

Possibly, but not without escape slides!

Seriously though, smoke hoods are a lot more difficult to use, so the life-saving increase is questionable.

19th Aug 2004, 13:08
Have you heard this

This particular edict comes from the DfT and so ALL UK airlines are affected.

This comes hot on the heels of the locked flight deck door, jump seat travel restrictions, captain's signed security form, prevention of cleaners entering the aircraft until security checks complete etc etc etc.

As Bush and Blair's adventures in the Middle East continue you can expect more of the same.......

19th Aug 2004, 15:00

I agree. yet another ill thought out edict under the guise of "security" instigated by the Yanks.

Oh if only BA could survive without having to fly to the bloody place.


You are right. Chimp.


20th Aug 2004, 05:53
B.A Citiexpress are making crews check life jackets on every turnround ,well a percentage anyway, then the SCCM countersigns the security decleration form with the captain.

21st Aug 2004, 11:11
So having signed a form stating that a 5 or 15% check has been made on each (25 Min) turn round, and not necessarily a different 5 or 15 each time............... how can anyone be taken to task if something is not found?:confused:

Bloody silly forms to keep some pen pusher in his phoney-baloney job!

Mark McG
21st Aug 2004, 12:55
When this was first introduced by the DfT just over a month ago, we were given a copy of the letter from the DfT to show crews showing what they were required to sign for.

The original letter from the DfT did say that the aircraft commander had to sign the security search form. However after speaking with some of the DfT inspectors, we were then told that the person responsible for the security searches should sign the form, in most cases this being the SCCM. Some companies still require that it be the captain that sign the form.

Unlike a MDF for the baggage that has to be kept on file for quite a lengthy period of time, the security search forms are required by the DfT to be kept for a minimum time period of 24 hrs.

21st Aug 2004, 20:14
I will repeat a previous warning I made on another thread............

Hard Hats are next...whenever you leave the aircraft for a walk on the tarmac. The directive will apply to all airside workers...on the tarmac your hard hat must be worn.

Mark my words...it will happen.