The flight crew’s job is to get you to your destination safely. The flight attendants’ job is to create and maintain a safe environment and quickly evacuate the aircraft if necessary. Obey all instructions from the crew. It is the law, and it is essential for your safety.
Safety is everyone’s responsibility. If you are concerned about a situation that could affect the safety of your flight, report it to a crew member.
Whether you are flying within Canada or abroad, be 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.
On this page
- Travelling on Canadian airlines
- Flying while in other countries
- Child safety
- Enjoy your flight and let others enjoy theirs
- Safety on the apron
Travelling on Canadian airlines
The information passed on during the mandatory pre-flight briefing is provided for your safety. Every aircraft is different, so it is important to listen for information on:
For your own protection, Transport Canada recommends that you always stay in your seat with your seat belt fastened during your flight, even when the seat belt sign is off. You can leave your seat temporarily when the seat belt sign is off.
Although they are rare, incidents involving air turbulence are the leading cause of injuries to both passengers and crew members. Air turbulence is caused by atmospheric pressure differences, cold or warm fronts, jet streams, mountains or thunderstorms. It can occur without warning and may last just seconds.
Your seat belt must be fastened during takeoff, landing, during turbulence and any time during the flight that crew members think it is necessary.
Aircraft seat belts work differently than those in your car. Make sure you can fasten it, adjust it tightly and release it quickly. Make sure it is fastened securely around your hips and not around your waist. If you need a seat belt extension, please let your airline know before you arrive at the airport.
Safety features card
The safety features card at your seat provides you with safety information about the aircraft on which you are travelling, such as how to operate each exit on the aircraft and how to use the equipment provided for you to use in case of emergency, such as life preservers and oxygen masks. The operation of the exits can differ from one aircraft to another and even from the front to the back of the same aircraft, so it is important to read the card and make sure you are familiar with the safety features before an emergency takes place.
The safety features card also includes instructions on how to adopt the “brace for impact” position, which can significantly increase your chance of survival and lower your risk of injury during an airline emergency.
To brace for impact, you pre-position your body against whatever surface you are most likely to strike during an impact, which will reduce the force of the impact and any resulting injuries.
The best brace for impact position depends on a number of factors, including your size and physical limitations, the interior layout of the aircraft, the type and scale of the emergency, and the direction and sequence of the crash forces.
In the event of decompression, an oxygen mask will automatically appear in front of you in most commercial aircraft. To start the flow of oxygen, pull the mask towards you. Place it firmly over your nose and mouth, secure the elastic band behind your head, and breathe normally. Although the bag does not inflate, oxygen is flowing to the mask. If you are travelling with a child or someone who requires assistance, secure your mask first, and then help the other person. Keep your mask on until a crew member advises you to remove it.
The location of the emergency exits is different from one aircraft to another. Check where your seat is located in relation to the two nearest exits, so that if there is an emergency you will be able to follow the instructions of the crew members and leave the aircraft as quickly as possible.
Exit row seating
If you are sitting in the row next to an emergency exit, you are responsible for opening the exit if there is an accident. Make sure you listen carefully to the safety briefing, study the instructions and ask questions if you don’t understand something. If you don’t think you can do it, ask to be moved to another seat.
The pre-flight briefing may also include information on carry-on baggage, smoking, the oxygen system and life preservers.
In the event of an emergency evacuation, every second counts. Always leave all carry-on baggage and personal items behind and follow crew member instructions. Trying to get your carry-on baggage from under the seat or the overhead bin delays the evacuation. This puts you and others at risk.
What to wear on the plane
Dress appropriately for the conditions you may encounter before, during and after your flight.
The clothes you are wearing can play a significant role in your safety. For example, synthetic blend fabrics ignite quickly, shrink, melt and continue to burn even after the heat source is removed.
- Natural fibres such as cotton, wool, denim and leather offer the best protection during an evacuation or fire.
- Synthetic fibres (rayon, poly/cotton and nylon found in pantyhose, wigs, hairpieces, scarves, ties and underwear) can become very hot, melt and cause severe burns.
- Avoid leaving large areas of your body uncovered. Shorts and skirts leave your legs bare.
- Non-restrictive clothing allows you greater movement.
- Keep your shoes on during the flight.
- Wear enclosed low-heeled shoes or boots that have laces or straps.
Flying while in other countries
Domestic airlines in other countries may use poorly maintained planes that do not meet international safety standards. For more information, check:
- the International Air Transport Association's registered airlines list
- the European Commission's list of airlines banned within the European Union
- the United States Federal Aviation Administration's list of country aviation safety assessments.
If you are travelling with an infant or a child, make sure that you properly secure the infant or child in an approved child restraint system before you properly fasten your own seat belt. Hold the infant in your arms if you do not have an approved restraining device.
For more information about child safety restraints, see Taking children on a plane.
Enjoy your flight and let others enjoy theirs
Everyone is entitled to travel in a safe and secure environment. It is illegal to behave in a manner that is threatening to crew members and passengers.
The crew members will not tolerate any disruptive behaviour or interference, including:
- physical assault
- disregard of smoking regulations
- refusing to follow instructions from the crew
- verbal abuse
- inappropriate sexual behaviour
- intoxicated or disorderly conduct
- consuming your own alcoholic beverages
- endangering the safety of the aircraft
A person may be denied boarding or removed from the aircraft when such behaviour occurs before departure. If it happens after departure, the aircraft may be diverted. The police will be asked to meet the aircraft upon arrival and the person could be arrested, charged and prosecuted.
Alcohol adversely affects the brain, the eyes and the inner ear. It decreases the ability of the brain to make use of oxygen and impairs your reaction time, reasoning, judgment and memory. Any alcohol you consume while in flight will affect you more noticeably than it will at sea level.
Moderation is good policy at any altitude. If you appear to have overindulged in alcohol, you may not be allowed to board your flight.
Safety on the apron
If you must board or deplane the aircraft from the apron, use the safest route and follow the directions of airline staff. Make sure you keep an eye on any children in your care. If the aircraft engines are running, it increases the potential of a propeller or jet blast-related incident.
While you are on the apron, notice where the aircraft’s propellers are in relation to its door, especially at night. Look carefully for other aircraft with their engines running. You may not hear them over the noise of the aircraft you are using.
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