On final approach into Vancouver, the flight attendants came by for a visual inspection to ensure that passengers were belted in, seat backs were in the upright position and (I assume) to make sure that carry-on items were stowed properly.
I signaled to the flight attendant that the backpack stowed under the seat in front of the middle seat of my row – placed there by the fellow in the aisle seat – was incurring the space between the seats.
NOTE: The picture above shows the bag’s placement AFTER I tried to kick it under the seat. When I pointed out the problem to the flight attendant, the backpack was completely blocking the space between the seats.
In response, both the guy in the aisle seat and the flight attendant looked at me like I was nuts. The flight attendant basically rolled her eyes, did nothing to rectify the problem and carried on with her (useless) inspection.
I guess these people don’t watch the news and missed the emergency evacuation that occurred on the Hudson River just recently. They definitely don’t watch MayDay.
Well here’s a flash bulletin for all the idiots who don’t get it.
Accidents happen and it’s up to each of us to do all we can to ensure our own safety and the safety of others when we travel.
More to the point… in the introduction to the “Carry-On Baggage Program Rule”, which requires United States airlines to develop and use approved carry-on baggage programs, the FAA stated that “excessive carry-on baggage can endanger passengers and crew members in a number of ways: carry-on bags that block aisles or the spaces between seats can slow evacuation of the airplane in an emergency; improperly stowed carry-on bags can block access to emergency equipment and to the under-the-seat lifevests; carry-on bags that fall from overhead racks or bins can injure passengers and flight crew members and hinder evacuation” (FAA Supplementary Information: Amendment 121-194, Federal Aviation Regulation 121.589).
So despite clearly understanding the threats to passenger safety, the airlines are encouraging passengers to carry more items aboard by charging for checked baggage AND failing to train their staff to confirm that egress is clear in the event of an emergency.
I call that dereliction of duty.
Additional note: United Airlines has been directly informed about this problem and invited to comment on this post.