Turbulence
August 31, 2016 1:41 PM   Subscribe

"We were told to get out of our seats and sit on the floor." - why?

In this BBC News article about a very recent turbulent flight, passengers were advised to leave their seats and sit on the floor. Why is this better than staying in your seat and buckling up?
posted by gorcha to Travel & Transportation (15 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
 
Paul's Law: You can't fall off the floor.
posted by Faint of Butt at 1:47 PM on August 31, 2016 [4 favorites]


Not to mention that on a full flight, there isn't enough room in the aisles for passengers to sit down.
posted by TWinbrook8 at 1:50 PM on August 31, 2016 [1 favorite]


You can't fall off the floor.

You can if the plane drops very suddenly, though - I've heard tales of planes suddenly dropping and the refreshment trolley shooting up towards the ceiling. Interested to know the answer to this.
(Edit - on preview - as I see is mentioned in this story in fact... "People, including babies, hit the ceiling")
posted by penguin pie at 1:50 PM on August 31, 2016 [1 favorite]


Best answer: That doesn't make sense to me either...you can't fall out of a seat your buckled into, either.

Also, I thought the danger with turbulence wasn't falling to the floor, but hitting your head on the ceiling, which the article seems to support. I guess the floor is even farther from the ceiling than your seat, but it still seems like a seatbelt should protect you from both floor and ceiling.
posted by If only I had a penguin... at 1:51 PM on August 31, 2016 [2 favorites]


i can't find this mentioned in any other news report of the incident. i suspect the person being quoted misunderstood something.
posted by andrewcooke at 1:55 PM on August 31, 2016


From reading the other articles about the event, it seems that there were some people who were walking around when this happened and others who were not seatbelted and were thrown from their seats. It's quite possible that the instructions to sit down were addressed to those people.
posted by jessamyn at 1:57 PM on August 31, 2016 [32 favorites]


this interview reports the pilot saying people should sit in chairs and buckle up.
posted by andrewcooke at 1:57 PM on August 31, 2016


As someone who's been in very bad turbulence, you can absolutely fall off the floor if the plane suddenly drops underneath you.

This makes zero sense whatsoever. A tremendous amount of engineering has gone into making aircraft seats and seatbelts the safest possible place to exist in an aircraft. I agree with others that it sounds like a misquote or misunderstanding.
posted by pie ninja at 1:58 PM on August 31, 2016 [13 favorites]


This makes no sense to me - in case of turbulence, you want to be in your seat with seat belt firmly fastened and possibly braced against the seat in front of you. I'm guessing since the turbulence was unexpected that the injuries were from people who were not sitting down or not buckled in a that the time. Maybe people were told to sit on the floor immediately rather than returning to their seats?
posted by metahawk at 1:58 PM on August 31, 2016


I'd be willing to bet that the passenger misheard something like "If you're not in a seat, get down on the floor."
posted by Etrigan at 2:01 PM on August 31, 2016 [16 favorites]


Paul's Law: You can't fall off the floor.

The vast majority of people I read about having been injured (sometimes severely) by turbulence have been hurt by hitting the ceiling as the plane drops vertically underneath them (if they're not belted in)--it would be insanity to leave a buckled seat to sit on the floor. These instructions could only have been for anyone misfortune enough to have been caught standing in an aisle or using a bathroom when the turbulence began.
posted by blue suede stockings at 2:17 PM on August 31, 2016 [1 favorite]


Nth-ing misreported / misheard. No need to even wonder about it.
posted by intermod at 2:29 PM on August 31, 2016 [4 favorites]


Best answer: It's quite possible that the instructions to sit down were addressed to those people.

This makes the most sense to me. Judging from this posting it appears that it's common procedure for flight attendants who are unable to get back to the jump seat during intense turbulence to drop to the floor and hold onto the seat legs.
posted by Karaage at 2:33 PM on August 31, 2016 [7 favorites]


Totally agree the passenger misheard: every airplane safety briefing I've ever heard of specifically says to sit down and fasten seat belts in case of turbulence or other trouble --- if you're standing you're supposed to get right back to your seat and buckle up, stay out of the aisles/bathroom etc.

Even without all those briefings we're all sat through, the fact that three of the twelve injured were kids, makes me agree that being securely belted in is by far the best plan: I'll bet that those three were either babies being carried on their parents' laps (i.e., not secured!) or little kids who'd played with & unbuckled their belts.
posted by easily confused at 3:19 PM on August 31, 2016 [1 favorite]


I heard this instruction on a suddenly bumpy flight on Saturday -- "if you're in the aisle, lie down."
posted by MattD at 8:36 PM on August 31, 2016 [1 favorite]


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