What Flight Attendants Don’t Tell You In The Safety Demo

beigeinside, Flickr

For regular flyers, it’s all too easy to zone out during the requisite flight attendant safety speech. But have you ever sat back in your cramped airline seat to wonder why it’s so important to put on your own oxygen mask before helping others, or why airlines dim the lights upon landing? George Hobica of Airfarewatchdog.com helps us read between the lines — advice that is all the more relevant as we’re all thinking about Asiana Airlines Flight 214 crash at San Francisco Airport over the weekend.

Own Mask First
Safety demos never go into why it’s so important to put on your own mask before helping those around you. According to Hobica, here’s the details:

You might only have 15 or 20 seconds in the event of a cabin decompression, during which all oxygen would be sucked out of the plane (and your lungs), before you’d experience confusion and a euphoric “stoned” state… In 30 to 45 seconds you’d probably pass out. So it’s important to act quickly.

Dimmed Lights Upon Landing
If you’re wondering why airlines dim the cabin lights before takeoffs and landings, here’s the scoop from Hobica:

You guessed it: to help adjust your eyes to the dark (either inside a smoke filled cabin or on a darkened runway).

Shoes On Upon Landing
Some airlines ask that passengers keep shoes on when landing — except for high heels, which can tear the emergency slide. Hobica explains why:

Because the runway might be burning hot after you jump down the slide.

The Proper Brace Position
Those safety cards in the seat back pocket that all flight attendants ask you to read detail the proper position to brace yourself in if a crash should occur. Look closely and notice each drawing shows one hand over the other. Here’s why:

Should something fall on you during a crash landing, you want to protect at least one hand (preferably the one you write with) because you’ll need it to unbuckle your seat belt when it’s safe to do so. Your other hand is in that position to provide some protection to your “strong” hand, which will be doing the unbuckling.

Hobica came up with the tips with some help from a Flight Safety Awareness Course by British Airways. While it’s not likely these details will be added to safety speeches (we’ll thank the flight attendants for keeping things succinct), it’s clear that a lot of thought has actually gone behind making each of the safety tips short but sweet.

What’s for dinner? NYC airport geese soon to be served on a platter

Take a gander at this: In an effort to control airport bird population, New York City plans to start collecting unwanted geese and ship them off to Pennsylvania, where they will be cooked for meals.

But before you get your feathers in a ruffle, know that the plan will actually benefit those in need. The birds, which were previously rounded up and gassed, will be donated to food banks to help feed hungry Pennsylvanians. Apparently, the birds will be shipped out of state because New York has not established safety protocols for processing and consuming wild goose meat.

The Department of Environmental Protection calls the roundup of geese a “sensitive topic,” but is in favor of the plan. We’ll just have to wait and see what all the animal activists have to say about it. Last summer, there was a huge public outcry over the roundup of hundreds of geese in Prospect Park, Brooklyn in the name of airline safety. The topic has been a huge issue since January 2009, when a flock of geese disabled US Airways Flight 1549, forcing it to ditch in the Hudson River.

[Photo by Dendroica Cerulea, Flickr]