If you fly regularly you may be tempted to skim the in-flight magazine or plug in your headphones, rather than follow the safety briefing carried out by cabin crew before take-off. That's a mistake. Passengers really should pay attention to any pre-flight demonstration, whether run as a video or conducted live by crew.
Briefings are specific to the type of aircraft you are on
It is unlikely you will be sitting in exactly the same seat as on your last flight, so it is important to understand where your nearest emergency exits are.
- Long haul flights will use a significantly larger aircraft, with a more complex cabin layout, than those used for short-haul.
- Knowing how to quickly and efficiently exit the aircraft will help you and your fellow passengers.
Flying is of course the safest form of travel and the overwhelming majority of frequent-flyers will never experience any kind of safety incident. But this level of safety is built upon an understanding of the risks that exist and then dealing with them in advance. Aviation's safety culture has at its heart a range of detailed procedures that should be followed in response to any unplanned situation - procedures which have been developed over many years based on experience and research.
If the aircraft captain determines that an evacuation is required, this decision is not taken lightly, but only after assessing the circumstances and following all appropriate procedures. The reason for an evacuation may not always be immediately apparent, however this does not mean there is time to retrieve hand-baggage from overhead-lockers and then try to find the nearest exit.
The pre-flight safety briefing has only one aim, to keep passengers safe. Airline cabin crew work very hard practising and perfecting safety procedures. These include supervising emergency evacuations, fighting fires and providing immediate medical care to passengers who are unwell. Their professionalism and dedication will make all the difference when called upon.
So, when the briefing begins please listen up.