Whether you are flying within Canada or abroad, you should make sure you are aware of the safety features of the aircraft, the location and operation of the emergency exits, and evacuation procedures in case of emergency. It may save your life.
In-flight turbulence is one of the leading causes of injuries to passengers.
Clear air turbulence can occur without warning and is caused by atmospheric pressure differences, cold or warm fronts, jet streams, mountains or thunderstorms. Turbulence may last just seconds but has contributed to many severe passenger and crew member injuries.
For your own protection, Transport Canada recommends you always have your safety belt fastened while you are seated.
You may use an approved child restraint system when travelling by air with infants or children. For more information about child safety restraints, see Taking Children on a Plane.
Airlines are required to provide passenger safety briefings. The Canadian Aviation Regulations describe the minimum content of these briefings.
Safety briefings are important because they provide important information that:
- is necessary to the safety of everyone on board and supplements the information on the Safety Features Card
- may be needed during an emergency
- is about the aircraft and aircraft equipment that may be required if there is an emergency, such as the location and operation of emergency exits
Take a moment to listen to the safety briefing. As an informed passenger, you will increase your chance of survival in case of emergency.
Safety Features Card
Airline Safety Features Cards contain safety information about the aircraft on which you are travelling. You should read the safety features card on every aircraft because the type and model of aircraft can differ. Even an aircraft of the same name may have exits in different locations that may operate differently. The same is true of life vests, which might have a single or a double strap depending on the airline.
These cards show the safest route you should follow upon leaving the aircraft in an emergency and which exits may not work in water. These can also vary with each aircraft.
In an emergency, passenger reaction time would contribute to a successful action plan or evacuation. It is important to know the information contained on these cards before the emergency takes place. Take the time to read the Safety Features Card—it may save your life.
Emergency exit row seating
Each airline must ensure that seats in an emergency exit row are not occupied by passengers whose presence in those seats could affect the safety of passengers and crew members during an emergency.
Passengers seated at exits must:
- be physically capable of using the exit
- be able to understand printed and spoken emergency instructions
- be able to visually determine if the exit is safe to open
- be mobile, strong and agile enough to reach, operate and stow (or otherwise dispose of) the emergency exit
- be able to hear instructions from the crew and to communicate them orally to other passengers
- be old enough, according to the air operator, to ensure that he/she has the physical, cognitive and sensory capacity to operate an emergency exit
- not be responsible for another person, as this can hinder the opening of the emergency exit
- not have a condition that might cause them harm when opening the exit
Foreign domestic airlines
Planes used by domestically owned and operated airline companies may be poorly maintained and may not meet International Civil Aviation Organization or other international safety standards. For more information, please consult the International Air Transport Association's registered airlines list, the European Commission's list of airlines banned within the European Union, and the United States Federal Aviation Administration's list of country aviation safety assessments.
Transportation accidents abroad
If you are involved in a transportation accident:
- Ensure that the appropriate authorities are advised, especially if medical attention is required.
- Make notes on the circumstances of the accident and, if possible, take photographs.
- Obtain the names and addresses of witnesses and others involved in the accident.
- Account for your belongings.
- Be prepared to provide information on your insurance.
- Have information available on any pre-existing medical conditions that could affect your treatment and know your blood type.
- If detained by police, make no statements until you consult a lawyer.
- Contact the nearest Canadian government office abroad for guidance and assistance.
- If possible, get in touch with family and friends in Canada and have them contact our Emergency Watch and Response Centre.