I'm a flight attendant – here's why counting the plane's seats could save your life | The Sun

AS a flight attendant for nearly ten years, I've seen thousands of passengers make a potentially fatal mistake when they board my plane.

Despite only flying a few times a year, many travellers seem to think they don't have to listen to the emergency procedures.

But they are there for a reason and could well be the difference between you dying or surviving in an emergency.

In today's weekly blog for Sun Online Travel, I'll reveal all behind the key points of the safety demo and why it's crucial to be aware of them all in an emergency.

I'll start with one of the more obvious things we request, which is to familiarise yourself with your nearest exit.

When we say "familiarise" I sometimes think we're not being clear enough with just how familiar we'd like you to be.

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Passengers should always know how many rows away they are from their nearest exit and should count the number of seats between them and the door.

This may sound a bit much, because the emergency doors are pretty big and obvious.

But if the plane is filled with smoke, or the lights aren't working after an emergency, that might not be the case.

In this instance, you'd be glad to know how many rows away you are from the emergency exit.

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You can simply head towards the exit, while feeling for and counting the seats. It could help you get out of the plane a lot quicker, which makes all the difference.

There are of course some procedures which seem to make less sense to passengers.

Some of you may well have noticed that the pre-flight emergency demonstrations now include a bit about what to do if you lose your mobile phone in the seats.

Protocol dictates that any passenger who drops or loses their phones in the seats must inform the cabin crew, instead of looking for it themselves.

This sounds a bit ridiculous, but it's for a very good reason.

Electronic devices like phones have lithium ion batteries, which are very flammable.

All it takes is a crack in the wrong place on the phone and you've got flammable solvents exposed to the cabin, which can spark a fire.

We know how the seats move and can be gentle with them while poking around in the crevices.

Passengers aren't likely to be as accustomed to the seats as we are and it creates more of a risk if they're messing with the seat mechanisms while trying to recover their phones.

Another bit of emergency protocol that people get confused about is the brace position.

There are some myths about why we ask people to adopt this position in an emergency, but it's something that has come about as a result of research.

The brace position is the one that protects the internal organs better than any other.

So in the unfortunate event that the plane does go down, the motion of resting your head downwards with your hand over your head stops all that free movement inside the body.

From research with dummies and from air crash investigations, we know that's the best position to be in at the moment of impact.

If there's a medical incident mid-air instead, we have equipment on board, including a defibrillator and a resuscitation kit and we can also do CPR.

We will always ask if there's a medical professional on board the plane who can help us and in some circumstances, we can reroute the aircraft to the nearest airport and get the passenger medical attention on the ground.

If our efforts aren't succesful and the person sadly passes away, it's about being as respectful and discreet as possible.

We would return the passenger to their seat, where we would strap them in and cover them with blankets.

If they were sat near the exit, we would reroute passengers around them once we had landed, to limit the amount of contact other passengers had with the deceased person.

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Some airlines have a special name they use to let dead passengers fly undetected.

The phrase HR could also mean there is a dead body on the flight.


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