For 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?