The biggest risks for an airplane are during takeoff and landing. Safety rules are designed to ensure that passengers have unrestricted egress to exits, and that loose items in the cabin don’t become physical threats if knocked around or thrown.
Sometimes the safety rules seem extreme to passengers, for instance you can’t have items larger or heavier than a cell phone or glasses in the seat pocket during takeoff or landing. The FAA explains,
If a seat pocket fails to restrain its contents, the contents of the seat pocket may impede emergency evacuation or may strike and injure a passenger.
- “no passenger may board an airplane if his or her carry-on baggage exceeds the baggage allowance prescribed in the air carrier’s approved program.”
- “An air carrier may not allow… passenger entry doors of an airplane to be closed in preparation for taxi or pushback, unless at least one crewmember verifies that each article of carry-on baggage is properly stowed.”
The FAA now allows you to keep out and use cell phones and tablets during takeoff and landing — ‘small portable electronic devices’ — but not larger items like laptops.
Yet larger items like emotional support animals can be found in the aisles of aircraft, or at the feet of a passenger in the aisle rather than under the seat.
Reader Rich shares,
I was on a Delta flight [New York LaGuardia to Ft. Myers] last week that had about 10 dogs on it that kept barking at each other !
And this big one stood higher than the arm rest on the seats that blocked the aisle the entire flight , he was in the bulk head and came to me two rows back and had his his head in my crotch !!
He says that despite sharing his concerns with Delta via multiple channels he’s heard nothing in response.