Safety Information Cards
Safety information cards are found on all commercial aircraft, corporate as well. Information contained on these cards tells passengers about the safety features of the aircraft, location of flotation devices when applicable, the donning of emergency oxygen in the event of decompression, and other important information. Often passengers take for granted that when they board an airplane that they will arrive at their destination safely. Thankfully airline accidents are relatively rare occurrences, however, passengers do need to be ready and knowledgeable how to evacuate an airplane should the need arise.
It is important for passengers to read and review on each flight the safety information card located in the seat pocket in front of them. Some passengers may be frequent flyers and feel they know everything there is to know about the safety demonstration, but the aircraft they frequently fly on may occasionally be different.
Commercial airlines are required to provide one safety information card at each seat location, and have spares on the airplane in the event some disappear, either through aircraft cleaning for safety information card collectors (you shouldn’t be taking the cards off the plane!).
As an operator of an aircraft, there are many regulations you need to know, and there are many that you may not know or understand. This is where our expertise comes in. One example is a question I received about safety information cards on aircraft and their requirement.
“Is there a regulation with regards to the Safety Information Card requirement on board the aircraft? We have some conflicting information regarding the minimum required. Is it 1 per seat or 1 per row/seat grouping?”
Regarding safety cards being at each seat, in the United States there’s a regulation that requires the certificate holder to have a safety information card located at each exit seat. Keep in mind that your regulations may differ.
The specific paragraph reference: (d) Each certificate holder shall include on passenger information cards, presented in the language in which briefings and oral commands are given by the crew, at each exit seat affected by this section, information that, in the event of an emergency in which a crewmember is not available to assist, a passenger occupying an exit seat may use if called upon to perform the following functions:
However, for all other seats, 121.571 applies, and you’ll find that the requirements for passenger safety information card quantity is rather vague per regulation, as it states below “in convenient use for of each passenger,” not “one per seat.”
§121.571 Briefing passengers before takeoff.
The specific paragraph reference: (b) Each certificate holder must carry on each passenger-carrying airplane, in convenient locations for use of each passenger, printed cards supplementing the oral briefing. Each card must contain information pertinent only to the type and model of airplane used for that flight, including-
That said, there is another factor to consider – airplanes must be configured in accordance with the LOPA, submitted during certification of the aircraft and/or configuration change. The condition it was in at the time of certification, including emergency equipment, briefing cards, etc, is how an airplane is to be configured for flight, except otherwise excepted by the Minimum Equipment List (MEL).
Keeping that in mind, there is another piece of information I recall, but cannot find at the moment. I am fairly certain at some time, in some FAA Order or Advisory Circular, it mentioned in the event the plane is lacking one safety card per seat, following the requirements of 121.571, a row of three seats could share two cards; a row of four seats could share three cards, or two, depending on circumstance, and place the cards so all passengers in that section of seats could gain access to a safety information card. If really dire, there could be one card per row of three seats, and that card would be stowed in the center seat back pocket.
Although I remember this, I am unable to cite the reference where this came from, or where it can be located. It may have been revised and is no longer applicable.
Some passengers may wonder whether their portable oxygen concentrator is allowed on board an aircraft. Should you look at the FAA’s website on Portable Oxygen Concentrators (POC), you’ll see that the website hasn’t been updated since October 2015. While the website itself hasn’t been updated, they did update the applicable regulation to POCs.
The applicable regulation, 121.574 Oxygen and portable oxygen concentrators for medical use by passengers, was amended on May 24, 2016. The Federal Register amendment to the final rule can be reviewed in the attachment. Additional information is found in Advisory Circular 120-95A. > https://www.faa.gov/documentLibrary/media/Advisory_Circular/AC_120-95A
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) currently only permits the use of approved models of portable oxygen concentrators, subject to certain conditions and limitations listed in the regulations. If the POC model was approved for use after May 24, 2016 it will bear a label on the exterior of the device containing the following certification statement in red lettering:
“The manufacturer of this POC has determined this device conforms to all applicable FAA acceptance criteria for POC carriage and use on board aircraft.”
This label is likely on the bottom of your POC, depending when it was purchased or approved.
This policy is similar to the one the FAA has regarding Child Restraint Seats “ §121.311 Seats, safety belts, and shoulder harnesses.
(A) Seats manufactured to U.S. standards between January 1, 1981, and February 25, 1985, must bear the label: “This child restraint system conforms to all applicable Federal motor vehicle safety standards.”
(b)(ii)(B) (2) “THIS RESTRAINT IS CERTIFIED FOR USE IN MOTOR VEHICLES AND AIRCRAFT” in red lettering;
The POC itself should have a marking on it, likely the bottom, that indicates it’s usable on aircraft. With the label on it, if approved for use after May 25, 2016, traveling with new POCs not listed on the FAA website shouldn’t be a problem.
Inogen is a very popular POC manufacturer and have a variety of products for different needs. Here is the Inogen description and suggestions for travelers bringing the Inogen One: http://www.inogen.com/resources/traveling-oxygen/faa-guidelines-oxygen-concentrators/
Each airline is required to have adequate policies and procedures to ensure compliance with the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR), as well as Department of Transportation Part 382, Non Discrimination on the Basis of Disability in Air Travel. If after looking at the decal that should be on your POC, depending when it was manufactured or approved, consider calling the airline and ask of there are any travel concerns you need to know about when traveling with your specific POC model. There are minimum power supply requirements you must bring with you, as well as you need to know where to keep all spare batteries, specifically in your carry-on bags, no spares in your checked baggage probable violation of hazmat regulations.
While it would be helpful, perhaps reassuring to travelers, to be able to look at the FAA website and see your specific model listed, my understanding is that the burden of maintaining current information and compliance with federal regulations is upon the airlines themselves. Again, similar to the Child Restraint Labeling rule where a decal indicating compliance with FAA criteria is applied, the FAA final rule states that the POCs that meet the acceptance criteria are either listed in the final rule or labeled. If labeled, and POC manufacturers likely apply the label to all approved devices they make, your POC should be accepted for transportation with you.
When in doubt, call the airline in advance. Don’t find out when you arrive at check-in.
Unruly passengers on board planes, depending on their offence, sometimes receive minimal punishment for their actions, yet the action taken against them is usually proportionate to the offence committed. Depending on the threat level, sometimes flights continue to their destinations, while some situations warrant diverting and removal of the disruptive passenger. For many years, diversion costs were absorbed by the airline, and the costs can go into the tens of thousands. Until now. A judge ruled that a passenger that was so disruptive and caused the captain to turn the plane around to remove the passenger will now be required to pay a fine, presumably the cost of the turnaround and possibly punitive fines, in the amount of 98,000.00 USD! I think it is fair to say that not only will this person forever rethink about their behavior on board a plane, hopefully the message will reach others like this one and make the public realize they will be held accountable for their actions, and they will pay dearly for it should the flight need to divert.
Airlines may sometimes wonder how many infants allowed onboard can they have on any given flight. The answer can be simple, “X many are allowed,” but getting to the answer does require some research and safety risk management decisionmaking.
So, to start, how many infants are allowed on board a commercial airline? Are there any regulations that limit how many are permitted?
To the best of my knowledge, no, there is no regulation that controls or limits the number of infants permitted on an aircraft, however, there are factors that do directly affect the number of infants allowed on board a plane.
Oxygen masks in the overhead Passenger Service Unit (PSU) do limit the number of persons in that seat row.
Most often, but not always (it is aircraft specific), there is one spare mask in each row; a group of 2 seats has 3 oxygen masks, a group of 3 seats has 4 oxygen masks, etc. The number of oxygen masks in the PSU restricts the number of occupants in that seat row, but not the number of infants.
– In a row of 3 seats, there could be one parent with two infants in Child Restraint Seats (CRS) and one lap child, totaling 4 persons in the row. With 4 oxygen masks available, this situation is permissible. This can be repeated in every row on board the plane.
– For thought, would it be safe to allow one adult to travel on a plane in a row of 4 seats with three infants in CRSs and one on the lap? Technically it’s acceptable, however there are risks involved; “what if…” an emergency occurs, such as a decompression or an emergency landing. Could the safety of all infants be maintained by one person responsible for all infants? While this scenario is far-fetched, it illustrates the decisionmaking that can go into deciding what’s permissible and what’s not. Such a decision is left to each individual airline to decide what limits to safety it’s willing to accept in its operation.
What about infant life vests? Are airlines required to provide infants life vests specifically designed for them?
To answer this question, according to the CFRs in the United States, you must reference applicable regulations to make that determination.
If the plane is going to conduct an extended overwater flight, regulations require that there has to be one life preserver for each person on board the plane
14 CFR 121.339 Emergency equipment for extended over-water operations
(a) (1) A life preserver equipped with an approved survivor locator light, for each occupant of the airplane.
14 CFR 121.340 Emergency Flotation means.
(a) Except as provided in paragraph (b) of this section, no person may operate an airplane in any overwater operation unless it is equipped with life preservers in accordance with §121.339(a)(1) or with an approved flotation means for each occupant. This means must be within easy reach of each seated occupant and must be readily removable from the airplane.
– Note the words used is “each occupant.” It does not explicitly state infant. Infant life vests are best for infants, but not explicitly required.
– See InFO 07013 Flotation Equipment for InLap Children (Revised) http://www.faa.gov/other_visit/aviation_industry/airline_operators/airline_safety/info/all_infos/media/2007/info07013.pdf
The number of spare life vests does matter.
Here are a examples of limitations, regulatory and policy
– If a plane has 200 seats and 15 spare life vests, the plane is limited to 215 passengers, including infants. (I won’t get into seating arrangements)
– With all seats filled, and there are 16 infant lap children on board, one person, someone, has to get off the plane to limit the number of occupants to 215. The plane cannot be operated with more persons on board than life preservers available per 121.339. Either one person is denied transportation, or a parent with an infant (2 persons) is denied transportation.
– There are other decisions that can affect an airline’s policy with regard to infants on board; some airlines may restrict the number of infants on a flight to the number of infant life vests available on board the aircraft even though they may have additional adult life vests available which would meet the regulatory requirements of flotation means for each occupant. That would be an airline’s policy, not regulation.
As you can see, it sounds like a simple question, and to a degree it is, but there are factors that must be considered when airlines decide how many infants are permitted on board.
Links within the article: