Life jacket demonstration
Photograph ©2010 by Greg Johnston. Used with permission.

Stupid Tip of the Day: Check For Life Vests

Note: Stupid Tip of the Day is a fairly new but no so new regular feature of The Gate which will not be featured regularly — if at all — after today.

I usually seem to be the only person in the immediate vicinity of my seat aboard an airplane who does this simple task; but I do it virtually every single time.

During the safety announcement as the airplane departs from the gate — especially at the part which discusses the instructions on how to use life vests in the unlikely event of an emergency — I usually take a moment to check the area where the life vest is located to ensure it is there.

If the flight route is primarily over land, I am not as concerned; although there is always the prospect of a water ditching in a lake or river…

…but there has always been a life vest equipped with the seat where I am sitting.

In addition to peace of mind, the few seconds it takes to check for a life vest ensures that I know where it is located and how to get to it, as its location can vary by airline, aircraft model and class of service. Sometimes the life vest is strapped under the seat. Sometimes it is stored in a plastic case. Sometimes it is under the console on the side of the seat…

…and sometimes there is no life vest and never was — especially on older aircraft. That is because the seat cushion can be used for flotation; and that should still be the case should your seat not be equipped with a life vest.

If I were ever to find that the seat in which I am assigned is supposed to be equipped with a life vest but is not, the first thing I would do is inform a member of the flight crew.

I also know how to inflate a life vest, thanks to being involved in a program called Road Warrior Training at the world headquarters of Delta Air Lines, where you can get a condensed and abbreviated sampling of the training session which members of the flight crew must endure in case of the unlikely event of an emergency. The cost is typically $350.00 for the day; but that depends on what is included — and location and deployment of the life vest is usually included in the training.

Anyway, this stupid tip of the day has garnered even more importance as a result of learning about someone who allegedly steals life vests off of commercial airplanes for fun — and that is nothing at which to sneeze

FlyerTalk members engage in practicing the deployment of life vests in case of emergency during the 2010 Delta Air Lines FlyerTalk Event. Photograph ©2010 by Greg Johnston. Please click here for additional photographs.

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