What should I do if:
a fire causes an emergency evacuation of the aircraft?
- Move away from fire and smoke.
- Stay quiet and listen for instructions from the flight crew.
- Concentrate on getting out and leave your possessions behind.
- Cover your nose and mouth with a wet napkin or handkerchief.
- Assist other passengers if you are able.
- Stay low and move quickly to the nearest safe front or rear exit.
Use the floor lighting to help guide you to the exit.
Once you reach the evacuation slide, remove any high-heeled shoes BEFORE you sit down to slide. Place arms, elbows in, across your chest with your legs and feet together and jump feet first onto evacuation slide. Once you exit the aircraft, move away and clear the area, but remain alert for emergency vehicles rushing to provide assistance.
Never return to an aircraft that has experienced a fire, even if it looks safe
How can I avoid injury on my flight?
Watch for special travel advisories issued by agencies of the U.S. Government concerning weather concerns, security threats or other important issues at or on route to your destination.
Research the Airline’s safety record and use the safest one. This is especially important when you are flying non-U.S. Airlines.
Book a non-stop flight to reduce the number of takeoffs and landings. Most accidents occur when the plane is increasing or decreasing altitude or speed, all of which happen during times of takeoff and landing.
Dress to cover as much skin as possible. Synthetic fabrics may melt when heated so wear clothing made of natural fabrics such as wool, cotton, denim or leather.
- Avoid restrictive clothing and wear clothing that is loose or can be loosened.
- Wear low-heeled, leather or canvas shoes. Lace up shoes are best because they can be loosened.
- Follow the flight attendants instructions. They are trained to keep you safe.
- Listen to the emergency instructions given at the beginning of the flight.
- Read the safety instruction card placed in the magazine pouch of the seat in front of you and locate your flotation device.
Make a mental plan of action in case of emergency. Locate the emergency exits both in front and behind you. Count the rows between you and the nearest front and rear exits so you’ll know how far to go even if smoke blocks your view.
Always keep your seatbelt fastened when you are in your seat. This can help protect you if you experience unexpected turbulence.
Have the flight attendant pour refills of hot beverages over their beverage cart and not over your lap. They should take your cup, refill it and then hand it back.
Limit your intake of alcohol. The cabin’s pressure causes alcohol to have a greater effect on your system than it does on the ground, so two drinks might feel like three or four.
Don’t place overweight items in the overhead cabin storage. You could injure your back in doing so and those items could fall back out on you or others.
Ask the flight attendant to remove any overweight items from the overhead cabin storage.
Avoid the seat under the overhead storage compartment. Many people are injured each year by heavy items falling from the overhead storage compartment.
How can I be more comfortable on the plane?
Pick the best seat for you in your class and then check on upgrades available at check-in.
If you think you’ll need them, grab a pillow and blanket as soon as you get on the plane, they go fast.
Dress in layers so you can peel off or add to as necessary.
Take a bathroom break, even if it’s just to get up and move around a little.
Washing your face can help you feel refreshed.
How can I reduce the effects of motion sickness?
Most people are perfectly comfortable flying on planes. If you’ve never flown before and fear sickness, see if your doctor can find something that could help if you need it. You probably won’t, but once you’re on the plane it’s too late and you might have trouble contacting your doctor before the flight home.
Booking a seat in the middle of the plane next to the wings will provide a smoother ride.
How can I reduce the effects of a change in altitude on my ears?
The planes are pressurized, but your ears are still sensitive to the change in altitude. The landing is usually worse than the take off.
If you have a head cold, try anything that has worked to clear it up before you travel.
If you have an ear infection, you might want to consider seeing the countryside on a train. An ear infection can be extremely painful on an airplane. You should contact your doctor and let them know about your travel plans to see if they can help you before you leave.
Children and adults both find relief from sucking on candy or juicy chewing gum. The act of chewing and swallowing relieves the pressure on the ears at take off and landing. Be careful when choosing the juicy treat for small children to avoid the possibility of choking during turbulence.
Nursing a baby can be used to help the baby’s and everyone else’s ears.
Yawning is also a good way to help the ears.
If you’re able to sleep, you should request a wake up before you begin descent. The landing is usually harder on your ears and since you swallow less when you sleep, you may wake up on the ground in pain.
Children and some adults are particularly good at smuggling hotel pool water home from their vacation. Buy some drops and get it out before you fly.
Whatever you do, do it all through take off and landing so you can adjust to the change little by little.
Article written by: Dianne Tuttle, CTC
Dianne has been in the travel field over 30+ years and owns Academy Cruises & Tours and Academy Travel School