United Airlines will require cabins to be prepared for landing earlier in order to protect cabin crew from injuries. Starting December 1, flight attendants will have to be belted at their jumpseats, prepared for landing, at around 10,000 feet when the double chime sounds.
An internal memo shared shared by Live And Let’s Fly explains the move,
This new standard operating procedure (SOP) was developed by the collaborative hard work of multiple departments, including Inflight, Flight Operations, AFA, ALPA, Corporate Safety and was approved by the highest levels of United leadership. United conducted Line Operations Safety Assessments (LOSA) with the help of AFA and ALPA. This included pilots observing turbulence SOPs in the flight deck and flight attendants in the forward and aft cabins. These observation narratives and other data were analyzed to help create our new SOP.
At lower flight altitudes, the pilots are conducting approach maneuvers and aircraft sensor data has shown an elevated risk for turbulence. Flight attendants have sustained significant injuries in the final approach phase of flight, and data indicates a higher risk when they are not buckled in at this point. Simply put, it’s not safe to be up. The goal of this new procedure is to reduce flight attendant low altitude injuries.
This change requires final passthroughs of the cabin earlier. The final “please prepare for landing announcement” will come prior to United aircraft descending to 10,000 feet so that crew can finish their duties and be seated by the time the plane hits 10,000. For customers this means,
- cabin service will end earlier
- beverages will be collected earlier
- seats will have to be placed in their upright and locked position earlier
- carry on bags and personal items will have to be stowed earlier
For awhile I used a convertible notebook instead of my more traditional ultraportable laptop. I don’t care about using a tablet most of the time. The only reason I liked my Lenovo Yoga was so that I could move into tablet mode during takeoff and landing when you’re supposed to have laptops stowed.
I frequently want to eke out every last minute of productivity from my flights. Even though the size was probably larger than it should have been to continue use, when converted into a tablet that’s the mental bucket crewmembers always put it in and none ever asked me to put it away.
I’ve been back to a Lenovo Thinkpad X1 Carbon, and while noting that not all crew enforce laptops away, I always put it away when asked to do so and then just switch to my phone. I don’t like the idea of putting the laptop away earlier than necessary. Here it won’t be for landing as much as ‘earlier so that flight attendants see it’s away before they themselves sit down’. Notably, other carriers do not see a similar safety issue.
I especially don’t like the idea of putting my laptop away earlier on a United flight, because those are my least productive flights. Internet on United is generally worse than on Delta, JetBlue, American, Alaska – and even Southwest.