Browsing Tag: Rules

Seatback pocket with BAD, BAD things in it.

Seatback pocket with BAD, BAD things in it.

Recently Joe Sharkey, a columnist for the New York Times, had an interesting experience with regulations, the FAA, and seatback pockets on a flight from Denver to Tucson.

While the flight attendants were doing the safety announcements, they stated something new. Passengers could not put any items in the seatback pockets. No water, garbage, newspapers, phones, personal magazines etc. The only items allowed were the airline materials placed in there before the passengers boarded.

At first Sharkey had a difficult time finding out why this was happening. Was it a new rule the airline was enforcing? Did the FAA start regulating seatbacks? What was going on? When he first contacted the FAA, they didn’t seem to know that the rule existed.
In 2007, the FAA wrote a directive on cabin safety that states, “nothing can be stowed in the seat pockets except magazines and passenger information cards.” This was news to Sharkey and to many passengers who have recently heard this new rule.

The Flying Pinto confirmed with the FAA that they aren’t going to regulate items in the seatbacks and airlines have the ability to choose their own policies. As a flight attendant, she is happy that the airline she works for is not enforcing this suggestion. “I am grateful that my airline has not made this a company policy but I wouldn’t go out and buy the organizer just yet,” stated the blogger.

Alright, so this might become more of the standard in the future but why? There doesn’t seem to be many people out there to answer that question. It has been on the books since 2007, so why start regulating now? I can see where it might encourage people to bring more carry-ons and limit the airline’s profits for checked baggage. It could speed up the deboarding process with passengers not having to look in so many places, as well as decrease an airplane’s turnaround time, since there will be less to clean.

But is this really worth the time and effort to regulate? Flight attendants already have a hard enough job trying to keep passengers happy. Is having to nag folks to remove their personal items in the seatback really going to build a positive rapport with the customer? Probably not. Is this a big enough deal for passengers to pick a different airline (and pay more) to have a seatback pocket? Again, probably not.

Alright, so this might become more of the standard in the future but why? There doesn’t seem to be many people out there to answer that question. It has been on the books since 2007, so why start regulating now? I can see where it might encourage people to bring more carry-ons and limit the airline’s profits for checked baggage. It could speed up the deboarding process with passengers not having to look in so many places, as well as decrease an airplane’s turnaround time, since there will be less to clean.

But is this really worth the time and effort to regulate? Flight attendants already have a hard enough job trying to keep passengers happy. Is having to nag folks to remove their personal items in the seatback really going to build a positive rapport with the customer? Probably not. Is this a big enough deal for passengers to pick a different airline (and pay more) to have a seatback pocket? Again, probably not.

Image: dyobmit