Home Travel Can Pilots Tell If Passengers Don’t Have Their Seat Belts Buckled?

Can Pilots Tell If Passengers Don’t Have Their Seat Belts Buckled?

by SharonKurheg

If you’ve ever gone to a theme park, you may have seen there’s a system in place to ensure everyone’s seat belt (and/or shoulder harness) is fastened before the ride starts.

Disney and Universal parks, for example, have a variety of systems in place, depending on the ride. But for many of the attractions, there will be a panel of lights for the ride operator to check – each light represents a seat belt and if it’s not buckled, the light for that seat won’t be on.

Even your regular car at home has an electronic system set up – if you start your car up and a seat belt isn’t buckled, your car will probably start “yelling” at you (dinging, a fasten seat belt sign, etc.)

This leads one to wonder…if a ride operator for Star Tours can tell whether or not everyone’s seat belt is fastened, as can a personal car, can the pilot of a plane tell if all of their passengers’ seat belts are buckled, too?

In short, nope.

Making sure all seat belts are buckled is 100% the responsibility of the flight attendants. They visually look at each seat belt in every row they’re assigned to check, and tell passengers to buckle theirs if it hasn’t been done (I hear they can tell even if it’s buckled if it’s inadvertently hidden under clothing, a blanket, etc. That’s talent!). But nope, the pilot can’t tell at all.

Frankly, it’s just as well…when pilots are getting ready to fly, they’re checking way too many things on their pre-flight checklist to ensure that everyone’s seat belt is fastened.

Besides that, having a system set up so those in the cockpit could see that every single seat belt was buckled would require a bunch more wires and electronics. Remember that the goal of flying a plane is for it to be as light as possible – even to the point that they put fewer olives in martinis and cut fruit slices smaller than they used to – in the name of fuel efficiency. Those extra wires and electronics would add excess weight. And on top of that, there’d be one more thing for maintenance to check, something else to break and cause delays, etc.

Which isn’t to say that pilots may sometimes make it SEEM like they can tell some seat belts aren’t fastened…say you have a flight attendant who’s told a certain passenger or two that they need to fasten their seat belts before takeoff, but they still haven’t. The flight attendant may ask the pilot to intervene and say  over the loudspeaker they’re getting an indication that some folks haven’t fastened their seat belts yet and to please fasten them so they can take off.

But otherwise? Nope. Flight attendants check everyone’s seat belts, and except for maybe an “All’s clear” signal of some sort, pilots are pretty much none the wiser.

Feature photo: Piqsels

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