Anyone Still NOT KNOW How To Operate An Airplane Seat Belt?

Real Estate Broker/Owner with North Shore Suburbs & Chicago Real Estate

Seat BeltFor what seemed like the gazzilionth time, I watched and listened to the pre-flight, safety briefing as I settled in aboard a flight recently.  We've all heard and seen these briefings before:  At some point, a flight attendant stands in the aisle and demonstrates the proper way to open and close a seat belt while a narrator cheerfully recites the scripted instructions over the PA system.  'Insert the metal fittings one into the other.  Make sure to secure the seat belt low and tight across your lap.  Pull on the loose strap to tighten it lift up on the buckle to release it.'  Honestly, is there anyone on this planet who still doesn't know how to operate a seat belt?

Nobody is even paying attention.  Look around.  In my immediate vicinity, I observed not one person who seemed to be the least bit interested.  Of course, I'm not talking about the safety reminders to keep seat belts fastened while seated.  Nor, am I referring to the 'buckle-up' announcements in anticipation of some bumps ahead.  I'm talking about the monotonous illustration of how to correctly open and close a seat belt.  Seriously?

Unfortunately, we've become an exceedingly litigious society so business owners cannot be too cautious these days.  Just as any real estate professional must secure adequate Errors and Omissions Insurance, the seat belt demonstration is likely a CYA requirement of all airline legal departments.  Can't you see the lawsuit now:  An airline passenger, not wearing a seat belt, claims injury because he or she wasn't instructed on how to work a seat belt properly.  Reminds me of the restaurant chain that implemented printed warnings on hot beverages.  Apparently, common sense is clearly not enough to remind some customers that hot beverages are well really, really hot.  And consequently, dropping a really, really hot beverage onto one's lap will quite possibly result in unpleasant burns and traumatic injury.  Really?

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carie shapiro

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Re-Blogged 2 times:

Re-Blogged By Re-Blogged At
  1. Debbie Reynolds, C21 Platinum Properties 08/20/2012 11:31 AM
  2. Heather Littrell 09/13/2012 07:55 AM
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Chris Smith
Re/Max Chay Realty Inc., Brokerage - New Tecumseth, ON
South Simcoe, Caledon, King, Orangeville Real Esta
Carie, even without the litigation factor. I wonder in a real emergency, how many people would know what to do. Then they will listen well
Aug 20, 2012 11:40 AM #28
Tiffany Sniezek
RE/MAX The Woodlands & Spring, TX 713-594-9639 direct, - The Woodlands, TX
Tiffany Sniezek 713-594-9639 RE/MAX Woodlands TX
Funny title and great example of how even the small things have to be disclosed or someone else will take advantage....disclaimer....I am not responsible for your inability to use common sense. That being said, we too have so many "fasten your seatbelt, have to give this disclosure, so you don't sue for just any reason" disclosures all while hoping our client actually pays attention. Maybe using your blog title as an example will get their attention or at least break the ice! Thanks for posting.
Aug 20, 2012 11:52 AM #29
Cindy Jones
Integrity Real Estate Group - Woodbridge, VA
Pentagon, Fort Belvoir & Quantico Real Estate News

I wonder if the airlines comb through junkyards to find all the old school seatbelts from cars?  They may win the award for "that's the way we've always done it."

Aug 20, 2012 11:55 AM #30
Laura Murray
Weichert - Silver Spring, MD
Search Montgomery Co., MD for homes

In my local area there are starting to be lawsuits involving agency.  No one pays attention until the lawyer contacts them.  Then they check the paperwork.

Aug 20, 2012 12:20 PM #31
Brenda Mullen
RE/MAX Access - Schertz, TX
Your San Antonio TX Real Estate Agent!!

It's sad how many warnings businesses have to give people to ensure they don't get sued.  I wrote a post a long time ago about the warning on the sunshade for my said "Do Not Use While Driving"  REALLY?!  Does that warning really need to be there?  I mean, come on already...who would use that while driving, but obviously someone did once....sad, just sad...

Aug 20, 2012 12:20 PM #32
Kathy Streib
Room Service Home Staging - Delray Beach, FL
Home Stager - Palm Beach County,FL -561-914-6224

Carie- I'll "watch" only out of coutesy.  Must be my southern upbringing.  You are so right about common sense.  People will not accept responsibility for anything, nor will they accept that accidents do happen.  So, thanks to those who encourage us to sue, people have to assume that we don't have an ounce of common sense and therefore have to have everything spelled out for us.

Aug 20, 2012 01:17 PM #33
Nancy Laswick
United Real Estate - Phoenix, AZ
Your REALTOR® For The Valley Of The Sun

Great post Carrie, if we didn't have E&O insurance we'd have to invent it. Have you seen the sheet that comes with a new hand-held hair dryer? "Do not use the hair dryer in or around water". BTW, here's a link to New Zealand Airs very popular safety video.


Aug 20, 2012 01:17 PM #34
Carie Shapiro
North Shore Suburbs & Chicago Real Estate - Evanston, IL

Kathy:  Yes, you're probably right!

Joanna:  I agree ... CYA seems to be the operative phrase more and more these days!

Chris:  In a real emergency, you have to wonder how many would know what to do.

Tiffany:  Exactly!  Whatever happened to common sense and personal responsibility.  Plus, as you say, so many disclosures and then you just have to hope people are even paying attention!

Cindy:  I think you're right ... they must get their seat belts from the old car junkyards :)

Aug 20, 2012 01:27 PM #35
Carie Shapiro
North Shore Suburbs & Chicago Real Estate - Evanston, IL

Laura:  Great point!  Why should it take a lawyer for people to pay attention?

Brenda:  Yes, it is sad!  I find it hard to believe that it has now become necessary to include many of the warnings I read on all sorts of things!  Sheesh ....

Kathy:  I tend to watch the demonstration out of courtesy too :)  All the disclosures, disclaimers, warnings, etc. still don't eliminate the excessive litigation.  As you said, personal responsibility seems to have gone right out the window!

Nancy:  I think I have seen that hair dryer instruction sheet!  It's truly amazing the precautions that must be spelled out on everything these days, you know?  Thanks for the link ... heading over to watch it now :)

Aug 20, 2012 01:39 PM #36
Jeff Dowler, CRS
eXp Realty of California, Inc. - Carlsbad, CA
The Southern California Relocation Dude


I have often wondered the same! But there is lots of CYA stuff out there and no doubt it IS due to the possibility, and high cost, of litigation. It seems many do not pay attention until there is a problem and then the gripe is "I didn't know" or "No one told me." You have to worry some about the purchase contracts that people sign and don't read, or fully understand.

Real estate is certainly no exception, although I suspect the awards are not quite what we hear about for personal injury and similar. If there were our E and O would go through the roof as malpractice insurance has.


Aug 20, 2012 03:43 PM #37
Sharon Parisi
United Real Estate Dallas - Dallas, TX
Dallas Homes

Carie, our litigious world has made life  very complicated.  I hope you made a trip to Chicago!

Aug 20, 2012 04:42 PM #38
Bob Crane
Woodland Management Service / Woodland Real Estate, Keller Williams Fox Cities - Stevens Point, WI
Forestland Experts! 715-204-9671

Thanks Carie, common sense is seldom as common as it should be, now I am looking forward to the video that Kerrie suggested.

Aug 20, 2012 06:37 PM #39
Kathryn Maguire (757) 560-0881 - Chesapeake, VA
Serving Chesapeake, Norfolk, VA Beach

When we purchased a chain saw last year, there was an illustration that informed the buyer not to cut a tree branch while you were sitting on it.  And it showed the stick figure cutting the part of the branch between where they were sitting and the trunk of the tree.  Are you kidding me????

Aug 20, 2012 10:31 PM #40
Anna Banana Kruchten CRS CRB, Phoenix Broker
HomeSmart Real Estate BR030809000 - Phoenix, AZ

You had me at the title Carie.  Seems so silly and has for years - who does't know how to use a seat belt. Common sense......ahhhhhhhhhh wouldn't that be nice to bring it back into style.

Aug 20, 2012 11:34 PM #41
Bill & Cyndi Daves
Hiawassee, Young Harris, Blairsville, Hayesville, Murphy and Beyond! - Hiawassee, GA
TeamDAVES - Your REALTORS In the GA/NC Mountains!

Truly amazing isn't it.  I think the worst place that CYA carries over in our world is with Home Inspectors. Really, did I need you to spell out to my buyer that the carpet "is nearing the end of it's useful life"?  Has some home inspector been sued because the carpet quit working right after closing?

Too funny!


Aug 21, 2012 01:24 AM #42
Debb Janes EcoBroker and Bernie Stea JD
ViewHomes of Clark County - Nature As Neighbors - Camas, WA
REALTORS® in Clark County, WA

I tend to try to watch and listen...again out of courtesy more than anything else. Perhaps, they assume there are always new fliers on board, who might not realize the importance of a snug fitting seat belt...and of course, you are right...we are a litigious society. A great illustration Carin as to the importance of crossing our i's dotting out t's and making sure we comply with all the rules and regulations set forth in agency law.

Aug 21, 2012 02:04 AM #43
Carie Shapiro
North Shore Suburbs & Chicago Real Estate - Evanston, IL

Jeff:  Yes, in my opinion, CYA is pervasive due to legal issues.  Too bad personal responsibility has been mostly lifted from the equation.

Sharon:  I agree ... litigation has made our world much more complicated!

Bob:  "Common sense is seldom as common as it should be" ... I like that!  Thanks, Bob :)

Kathryn:  No, unfortunately they are not kidding you!  I'm sure someone, somewhere did that very same thing and then sued them.  Those kinds of warnings, on all sorts of things, make me laugh and cringe at the same time.  Thanks for sharing :)

Anna:  I don't know why common sense ever went out of style in the first place!

Cyndi:  "The carpet quit working right after closing" ... I could just see that argument!  Oh, brother :)

Debb:  I agree ... it seems we always have to be mindful of crossing our t's and dotting i's.  More now so than ever before!

Aug 21, 2012 04:18 AM #44
Barbara Le Pine
Advantage Real Estate, serving Lincoln County - Newport, OR
Your agent for the Central Oregon Coast!


I get your point about our litigious society, I thought I might share my 2 cents about seatbelts:

I think a good pre-flight check is helpful even if you think you already know how to buckle the belt. Easy to forget how dangerous an aircraft can be when it gets in to trouble. I have flown more than the average person and know firsthand how important it is to listen to safety instructions. Being buckled in nice and snug saved my life on a rough landing in Salt Lake. The plane blew a tire on landing in a major snowstorm, the fuselage cracked, I thought we might crash - it was pretty rough. They show you how to buckle up because if you leave it too loose, your head hits the ceiling in turbulance. The best point they make during the seatbelt lesson is how to pull on the end to tighten it. It is the only thing keeping you from tossing about the aircraft like a rag doll when something happens. There is good reason other than CYA that they repeat it so often.

.......excellent blog today!

Aug 21, 2012 04:27 AM #45
Carie Shapiro
North Shore Suburbs & Chicago Real Estate - Evanston, IL

Barbara:  Thanks ... I completely and totally agree with you!  That's why I included these sentences in my post:  "Of course, I'm not talking about the safety reminders to keep seat belts fastened while seated.  Nor, am I referring to the 'buckle-up' announcements in anticipation of some bumps ahead."  It's my feeling that common sense, repetition, and every car seat belt on earth should have people already knowing how to work a seat belt buckle, as well as buckling up so they cannot fit another person in between themselves and the seat belt strap.  So, I concur with you and believe the reminders are valuable!  It's just my opinion that the reminders serve an additional purpose too.  Thanks for sharing your story ... I'm glad to hear you weren't injured during that rough landing -- sounds like it was scary!

Aug 21, 2012 05:08 AM #46
Judy Orr
HomeSmart Realty Group - Orland Park, IL
SW & Near West Chicago suburbs

I'm catching up from a vacation to California so I was recently flying.  I am the one person who watches the flight attendant's demo.  I hate flying!  I know how to fasten my seat belt, but I know if the oxygen masks ever fell down I'd forget how to use them out of panic.  So I always watch that demo and also the flotation device.  I'm sure if the need arises I'll have a heart attack first anyway, but just in case...

I do think it's more than CYA for airlines and it's protocol, just as we are expected to abide by real estate laws and ethics (and purchase E & O insurance).  I've read that during crashes where there is a chance of survival, those that heed the demos/instructions have a better chance of staying alive.  I fly an average of about 3 times a year so I need that refresher course.  I do understand your post, though.

The McDonalds coffee incident is a whole 'nother story!

Aug 22, 2012 08:07 AM #47
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