LifestyleWhy do flight attendants sit on their hands? Here is why

Why do flight attendants sit on their hands? Here is why

During takeoff and landing in an airplane, strict procedures apply. They also apply to the cabin crew.
During takeoff and landing in an airplane, strict procedures apply. They also apply to the cabin crew.
Images source: © Adobe Stock

1:06 PM EST, November 24, 2023

Have you ever noticed the unusual position assumed by the cabin crew when they sit in their safety seats on a plane? These friendly faces suddenly become rigid, concealing their palms beneath their thighs or pressing them firmly against their legs.

The cabin crew occupies their seats only a few times during the flight. This occurs during taxiing, take-off and landing, and when they receive an order from the captain, for instance during severe turbulence.

Since these are perilous moments for safety, and when emergencies are most likely to occur, you may have observed that the cabin crew often sit in a somewhat stiff way and intriguingly, they tuck their palms under their thighs. But why do they do this?

Position depends on the airline

The posture of the cabin crew varies according to the specific safety procedures of each airline and region. While these procedures are fairly similar, they differ from those recommended for passengers. The goal is to maintain the body in a specific position to minimize injury in the event of an unplanned emergency.

Cabin crew members must sit with their back and neck firmly against the seat. Their legs should be together with feet solidly on the ground. Additionally, their palms should be placed under their thighs or on their knees, with their elbows directed inwards. This position limits bodily movement and in turn, reduces the risk of injuries in case of an impact.

The body positioning varies slightly based on the orientation of the cabin crew's seat, whether it's facing forward, towards the cockpit, or backward, towards the tail of the plane. Those facing forward should tuck their feet slightly inwards, while those facing back should extend their feet slightly forward.

The cabin crew usually adopts this position from the moment they fasten their seat belts until they receive a signal from the captain that it is safe for them to move around the aircraft.

"Silent review" of the plane and final position

During the aforementioned times, the flight attendants also carry out a process known as the "silent review", which prepares them for an emergency situation. This includes a visual inspection of rescue equipment locations, door operations, and so on.

There is another position that cabin crew assume in their seats, but fortunately, this position is rarely seen in practice. This so-called final position is adopted in the event of an emergency landing. In this position, the lower part of the body retains its usual posture while one hand is placed on top of the other behind the head, and the elbows are pointed inwards. This position allows flight attendants to listen to and shout out emergency directives while protecting their face and head from airborne debris.

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