Wednesday, September 9, 2009

What's in that Seatback pocket?

A while back a discussion on a great twitter page ensued about what are the rules about placing things into seatback pockets on the airplane.  We've all done it....board the plane, get to our row, stow our carry-on, and then plop right down into our seat, search around in our bags for either those great magazines we just bought in the terminal, or pull out that book we just can't put down, then put it immediately into the seatback pocket.

Boarding continues and finally the announcement comes.  "Ladies and Gentlemen, the forward aircraft door is now closed.  All electronic devices need to be turned off and put away at this time.  Laptop computers may not be placed in seatback pockets, nor any other personal items including books, personal magazines, or even a boarding pass'...did I hear right, not even a boarding pass? 

So several of us Flight Attendant 'twitterers' started asking each other about the issue, until The Flying Pinto wrote to the FAA and asked about their policy and/or regulation about this issue.  I mean, it's not just us that were talking about it...Budget, the NYTs, and even Smarter Travel. EVERYONE was talking about putting items into seat-back pockets.  She actually got an answer!  I'm not going to go into detail here about it here, but you can read The Truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth on Seat-back Pocket items.

Basically what she found out was there is:

"currently only FAA "guidance," not a regulation . The agency is recommending airline companies consider the guidance as a way of developing their own set of company policies"

So, if a Flight Attendant asks you to remove something from the seat-back pocket, then it is part of that airlines' policy, and you should go ahead and remove the item and not argue with them about it. As silly as it may be, you can get in trouble for not complying with crew member instructions because it is part of that airlines' guidelines that have been set by the FAA.

For the most part, the only item that seems to be the biggest culprit are laptop computers.  It doesn't matter what airline I commute on, they all say that "Laptop computers are not allowed in seat-back pockets".

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