Cabin safety for passengers
When you’re travelling on an aircraft, there are a number of rules that help to keep you safe. Read more below about safety briefings, seat belts, portable electronic devices, and more.
Knowing what to do in an emergency can increase the chances of your survival.
The safety briefing and the safety information card provided near your seat give vital information on the location of exits and emergency equipment. As this can vary from one aircraft type to another, it’s important to pay attention to the safety briefing and read the safety card every time you fly.
You should check the location of your nearest emergency exit, which may be behind you (count the rows). Safety equipment will typically include life jackets, oxygen masks, seat belts/harnesses and floor lighting.
The safety briefing will generally include information on the use of portable electronic devices, storage of hand baggage, and the need for your seat to be in the upright position with the tray table stowed and window shade open during take-off and landing.
Your seat belt must be fastened whenever the "seat belt" sign is on. This includes during taxi, take-off, landing, turbulence, and whenever the captain has illuminated the “seat belt” sign. You must comply with all the lighted signs and instructions from your crew, so if the seat belt sign is illuminated, you must fasten your seat belt.
If the seat belt sign has been on for some time, and the conditions appear calm, you can call a flight attendant to check with them how long the seat belt sign will remain on. In some cases the crew member can call the captain to find out this information for you. When the seat belt sign is not illuminated, it’s still recommended to keep your seat belt fastened.
You should adjust your seat belt so that it is tight but comfortable, with the buckle the right way round so that it can be released easily. If you use a blanket, fasten the seat belt over the blanket so cabin crew can see that your seat belt is fastened. After landing, you must wait until the seat belt sign is turned off before unfastening.
Portable electronic devices
Some airlines now allow passengers to use handheld electronic devices such as smartphones and small tablets during the entire duration of a flight. These airlines have conducted safety tests to ensure electronic gadgets do not adversely affect their aircraft. Given that not all aircraft are the same, it’s important that you always follow crew instructions.
All electronic devices must remain in flight mode when switched on, unless otherwise advised by cabin crew. The use of Bluetooth, such as for wireless headphones, and keyboards, is not permitted unless advised by the crew.
Passengers will always be instructed by cabin crew as to exactly what electronic devices can be used, and in what mode, at the beginning of a flight. If in any doubt, always check with a crew member before using a device.
Some airlines also publish details about travelling with portable electronic devices on their websites, as well as in their inflight magazines.
Fijian airline operators don’t allow smoking onboard, therefore the ‘no smoking’ signs will remain on throughout the flight.
Passengers aren’t allowed to smoke in toilets, and these are fitted with smoke detectors. Tampering with an aircraft smoke detector is a serious offence and may lead to prosecution.
Emergency exit seating
Some passengers may not be allowed to sit next to an emergency exit. This is to ensure that if the emergency exit is needed, the exit can be opened, and the aircraft evacuated, as quickly as possible.
Refusal to carry passengers
Airlines have a right to refuse to carry passengers that they consider to be a potential risk to the safety of the aircraft, its crew, or its passengers. Reasons could include if the passenger:
is under the influence of drugs or alcohol;
has refused to allow a security check to be carried out on them or their baggage;
has not obeyed the instructions of ground staff or a member of the crew relating to safety or security;
has used threatening, abusive or insulting words towards ground staff, another passenger or a member of the crew;
has behaved in a threatening, abusive, insulting or disorderly way towards a member of ground staff or a member of the crew of the aircraft;
has deliberately interfered with the performance by a member of the crew of the aircraft in carrying out their duties;
has put the safety of either the aircraft or any person in it in danger;
is in a mental or physical state of health where they pose a danger or risk to themselves, the aircraft, or any person in it.
Unacceptable behaviour onboard
Certain passenger behaviours are not acceptable or permitted while on board an aircraft, including:
endangering the safety of an aircraft
being drunk in an aircraft
disobeying a command from the captain of an aircraft, and
acting in a disruptive manner (including interfering with the work of a member of the crew).
If a member of the crew deems behaviour disruptive, they have the right to take measures they think reasonable to prevent the passenger from continuing that behaviour. When the aircraft lands, their actions may include:
making the passenger leave the aircraft, possibly under police escort
refusing to carry the passenger on the remaining sectors of the journey shown on their ticket, and
reporting the incident on board the aircraft to the relevant authorities with a view to prosecuting them for any criminal offences that may have been committed.
Serious offences could result in a large fine or imprisonment.
Please check with your airline for their rules about carry-on baggage. The weight and size allowance is to be strictly adhered to as aircraft overhead lockers are restricted in the weight and capacity they can carry. This is also for the wellbeing of passengers and crew.
While the chance of an aviation accident is extremely small, turbulence can happen at any time. So parents should make sure their children will be safe during such a sudden and risky event.
Ideally, every child has a seat of their own with some sort of robust restraint system.
The method of carrying and restraining infants and small children has not significantly changed since the beginning of passenger-carrying flights. In comparison, restraint methods in vehicles have undergone regular improvement.
We're re-examining how best to secure babies and children during flight, following research by ICAO.
Fiji's Air Navigation Regulations require that, as a minimum, a child or infant is held by an adult, with the child or infant secured by a safety belt attached to the adult’s safety belt (‘Supplemental Loop Belt’ – see below).
International crash studies indicate that there are safer options than the Supplemental Loop Belt in the event of severe turbulence, or an accident. Ideally, children should be in a seat of their own, held in an approved restraint.
In the meantime, here are the options for flying within Fiji.
Supplemental or Supplementary Loop Belt
The Supplemental Loop Belt prevents the infant being bumped from the adult’s lap during heavy turbulence.
Airlines allow infants, up to the age of two, to sit on a parent’s lap using Supplementary/Supplemental Loop Belt.
This is a device providing an additional seat belt with a stitched loop through which the adult lap belt is passed. The seat belt is fastened around the adult, and the Supplemental Loop Belt is then separately fastened around the infant/child who sits on the adult’s lap.
The Supplemental Loop Belt stops the child being bumped from the adult’s lap during heavy turbulence. But some countries have different regulations to Fiji over the use of Supplemental Loop Belts, so check with all the overseas airlines you intend travelling on.
Some overseas airlines don't allow the use of a loop belt, but do allow you to hold the child on your lap. It's been proven that you're not capable of holding onto your child during heavy turbulence, so consider one of the options below.
Children under 20 kg (approximately 4 years) use car seats when they travel in a car. These children would also be better protected in the event of severe turbulence or an accident, if they used a car seat appropriate to their height and weight when they travel on aircraft.
Many parents may already have a car seat that can be used on an aircraft. However parents should always check with the airline regarding what car seats they allow, as they may have specific standards (see below), and size restrictions.
An approved car seat is fastened to a normal passenger seat, and can hold very young babies who use it ‘rear-facing’, then forward-facing, as they grow.
Most airlines require children aged two and over to have a passenger seat of their own anyway, so a car seat will provide additional safety and comfort, particularly on long flights. Another advantage of using a car seat on the aircraft is that it is one less thing that needs to be checked in!
Look for a label on the car seat saying it meets the following standards:
TSO C100; or
New Zealand Standard 5411; or
United States Standard FMVSS 213; or
Canadian Standard CMVSS 213; or
European Standard ECE 44; or
Australia / New Zealand Standard AS/NZS/1754:2013.
CAAF approves the CARES Child Harness because it links to both a standard airline seat belt and has an extra strap.
CARES child harness
This harness is designed specifically for aviation use for children aged one year and older, who weigh 10 to 20 kilograms, and/or are up to a metre tall.
It links to both a standard airline seat belt and has an extra strap which is wrapped around the back of the airline seat.
This child harness is approved by CAAF, but check with your airline at the time of booking your tickets to make sure their aircraft accommodate them.
A CARES child harness provides a similar level of protection for the child as a car seat, but is a lightweight portable alternative.
Bassinets, attached to the airline cabin wall, provide comfort for both baby and adult during flight. But they are not meant to be used to secure the baby during take-off and landing. During those critical phases of flight, the infant will have to sit on their parent’s or caregiver’s lap with a Supplemental Loop Belt.
These seats have no built-in harness and use a standard aircraft seat belt. They are little more than plinths for children to sit on and are not an effective restraint.
Fabric slings, or manufactured infant carriers, are not suitable as a restraint. While they allow a child to be carried hands-free, they are carrying devices, not restraint systems. In typical impact tests, they have fallen well short of the required strength, and have ripped away from the adult.
Neither fabric slings, nor manufactured front packs, are acceptable ways of securing your infant during the critical phases of flight
For further information, refer to
- Laws of Fiji
- CAAF Standards Documents
- CAAF Application Forms
- CAAF Aeronautical Information Circulars
- CAAF Guidance Documents
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