Wednesday, March 31, 2010

I'm sorry, but you have to wait for an agent...

It never fails that when I'm inside the terminal, checking the computer for my work information, in uniform, and a passenger walks up and starts requesting information about something I have no clue what they are talking about. Often it's about switching seats, or get a seat assignment because they are 'standing by' for a flight and haven't received a seat assignment.

One of the things to differentiate Pilots, Flight Attendants, and actual gate agents is agents do NOT have any sort of wings, or stripes on their uniform. These are reserved for pilots and flight attendants.

Both pilots and flight attendants will often have their roller-board bags with them, and are quickly checking the status of their schedule, or looking to see what is going on for their next flight. They don't have any ability to look at a seat map of the plane and check a passenger in, or switch seats to accommodate a family of four.

Sure, pilots may have a bit more information about a possible delay, but they usually don't know any more about seats than flight attendants do. Pilots, whether the Captain or First Officer, will have stripes on their sleeves, as well as epaulets on their shirts. Many pilots wear hats that have a lightening bolt on it (captains) or hats as shown on the left. Either way, we can't give information about Upgrades, seat-swaps, or anything like that.

The biggest customers who request info from Flight Attendants or Pilots are surprisingly the Frequent Flier. I'm always amazed because they fly so often, they know what a pilot or flight attendant uniform looks like (Wings, stripes, bags) vs. an agent who is actually stuck behind the counter being hounded by other passengers regarding their Upgrades, seat-swaps, or other questions.

I also wonder why passenger ask the TSA what gates their flights are leaving out of when there are monitors, 99.99% of the time right at the checkpoints. I've witnessed people getting mad at the TSA because their flight wasn't listed, or shows "Final Boarding", but why get upset at the TSA? They are there to screen bags, test for explosives, and make sure that potential terrorists don't make it to your plane, not know where your gate is.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

DCI Minnesota's Drum Corps at TCF Stadium UofM

I know I keep talking about Drum Corps or airline stuff, I just can NOT wait for July 17th to come. Even though there will be the annual drum corps show in Stillwater on June 27th, Minneapolis Pride will be taken place and I'll be pretty busy there. To give a little more info on the corps who will be in attendance on July 17th, I went to each corps' website to give you a brief synopsis of who they are.

In one of the biggest events to hit the upper Midwest since the 2006 DCI World Championships, the 2010 Drum Corps International Tour will roll through Minneapolis, Minn. on Saturday, July 17, for a first-ever event at TCF Bank Stadium in Minneapolis. Home of the University of Minnesota’s Golden Gophers, this brand new venue will host a whopping lineup of 24 World, Open and All-Age Class corps during one fun-filled and exciting evening.Taking place two weeks earlier, don’t forget to purchase your tickets to Drum Beauty in Stillwater, Minn. on June 27.

 The Blue Devils offer young men and women between the ages of 7 and 21 quality educational and performance experiences in the areas of musical and dance performance. Founded in 1957, The Blue Devils’ objective is to develop personal character through challenging physical, emotional, mental, and social activities while promoting the values of dedication, hard work, and commitment to a team effort. Over 450 young people currently participate in The Blue Devils programs, and over 8,000 young people, in 2,000 families, have been served by The Blue Devils organization since 1957. 
DCI World Champions: 1976, 1977, 1979, 1980, 1982, 1986, 1994, 1996*, 1997, 1999, 2003, 2007, 2009 

The story of the Blue Knights began in an improbable way. The corps was founded by Fred and Fae Taylor, ex-vaudeville comedians and musicians who had appeared at many east-coast nightclubs (including the famous Palace Theater) and on the Ed Sullivan Show. Growing tired of life on the road, the Taylors moved to Denver in 1951 to look for steadier work. Shortly after they arrived, Denver’s first television station, KFEL Channel 2, hit the airwaves and was in desperate need of programming to fill up its airtime. Fred and Fae talked the station’s owner into letting them produce a teen-age “Soda Shop” show, which quickly drew the loyal following of many Denver adolescents after they got home from school.

Blue Stars provide the membership with educational and performance opportunities in the area of performance arts to help them to develop life skills. Members learn through teamwork, dedication, a strong work ethic, setting goals, and discipline, that success can be achieved both on and off the performance field.

The Bluecoats Drum and Bugle Corps provides a program for youth in music and performance training. Leadership, personal, character and social development skills are emphasized through the challenge, excitement, and self-discipline presented by the corps through travel, competition, and pursuit of excellence.

The Boston Crusaders Drum & Bugle Corps, founded in 1940, is the third-oldest junior drum and bugle corps in the nation and is proud to be a founding member of Drum Corps International. The corps, composed entirely of brass players, percussionists and color guard members under the age of 22, travels over 10,000 miles each summer, performing in more than 40 competitions and exhibitions before a combined audience of over 300,000 fans.

The organization started in January 1988 as the Charlotte Drum Corps Association. Originally, the Carolina Crown organization resembled a fraternal organization, holding periodic meetings at the Holiday Inn -Woodlawn or a local Charlotte (NC) restaurant. The association members, made up of drum corps enthusiasts and/or alumni originally from the Northeast, Midwest and South, watched videos and discussed the happenings of the day in the activity.

 The Colt Cadets are an outstanding performing group primarily made up of members in middle school and high school from Dubuque and the tri-state area. Founded in 1967, the Colt Cadets are one of the few remaining cadet corps in the country!

The Colts are comprised of 135 members, 30+ staff, and hundreds of volunteers who all care deeply about this activity. Membership comes from all over the nation and overseas. We begin rehearsals and auditions in December, meeting one weekend a month, and twice in April, for a rehearsal “camp” until June, when we go on tour until mid-August.

Formed as a result of the merger in 1975 between two smaller corps in the outskirts of Philadelphia, the 507 Hornets and Keystone Regiment, The Crossmen Drum & Bugle Corps has grown to become a perennial Drum Corps International (DCI) World Champion Finalist, reaching the DCI Finals 22 times in the corps' brief 35 year history.

Dutch Boy experience is to provide a positive atmosphere to build leadership and citizenship qualities in youth through music, the arts, travel and competition.

 The GLASSMEN provide opportunities that promote and develop life skills and personal enrichment through education, participation and performance. 

As one of the oldest competing drum corps in the world and as one of only three competing drum corps in the state of Minnesota, the Govenaires are truly good will ambassadors for St. Peter, the State of Minnesota, and the drum corps activity.

The Legends Performing Arts Association was formed on September 18, 2006.  Those involved with forming this organization are Ibe Sodawalla of Thoughts In Progress Productions and Patrick W. Flynn of the Portage Central Bands. Their goal is to develop and promote opportunities in performance through music and movement. These ensembles are to include a drum & bugle corps, wind ensemble, and winter guard and percussion ensembles.  Members will be instructed in the areas of music and the visual performing arts and will learn important life lessons in leadership, commitment and teamwork.

For over 70 years the Madison Scouts has developed and shaped young men’s lives through musical enrichment and performance arts. Values such as honesty, integrity and accountability are taught and practiced through the activity that is modern day drum & bugle corps. A commitment to personal excellence and altruism serves as the foundation for the ultimate goal of teaching our members important life changing skills that will guide them now and in the future.
World Champions: 1975, 1988

 Minnesota Brass is a nonprofit volunteer charitable corporation. Each year members elect a board of directors which in turn appoints the administrative staff. "Admin" recruits the support staff and hires the design and instructional staff.

 The Phantom Regiment is a youth organization dedicated to the development of self-esteem and self-reliance. It encourages team work, sportsmanship, civic pride and contributions of one's personal best to a group effort. These lessons are learned through a musical and marching activity in which there is a blending of the arts and athletics.
World Champions: 1996*, 2008

Pioneer prepares and inspires young adults to serve as leaders and role models for their peers by maintaining a strong emphasis on instilling positive leadership traits and principles, the development of individual moral character, goal setting and teaching the importance of responsibility and maintaining a strong work ethic.
Founded in 1927, the Racine Scouts are the oldest, continually competitive Junior corps in North America. Originally formed as a Boy Scout organization, the corps continues to promote scouting values in today’s highly competitive marching music activity.
Drum and bugle corps is a highly specialized musical art form. Originally organized as a musical and social outlet by veterans returning from World War 1, most groups were community based. Drum corps of the 21st century draw members from around the world and represent many socio-economic backgrounds.

 Since 1967, the Santa Clara Vanguard has set the example and provided the opportunity for young men and women to grow, mature, and compete in the drum and bugle corps activity. Recently our programs have expanded to extend this experience into the winter guard arena and the Santa Clara community through "Children's Adventures in Movement."
World Champion: 1973, 1974, 1978, 1981, 1989

Established in the fall of 1976, Spirit Drum and Bugle Corps was the creation of Freddy Martin, a successful suburban Atlanta band director, and his wife, Lynda. That summer, That summer, they and Bob Hoehn partnered with a local network television affiliate to realize their dream of an Atlanta area junior drum and bugle corps.
The original corporate vision of the organization included new drum and bugle corps across the country, wherever sister television stations to the one in Atlanta were based. This dream was short-lived and, in fact, Spirit was on its own by 1979.

 The Teal Sound is located in the River City of Jacksonville, Florida and represents the state as “Florida’s Premier DCI Touring Drum & Bugle Corps”. The corps is made up of 135 of the top talented high school and college music students from all over the southeastern U.S. Each year we audition more than 200 prospective students from the ages of 15 – 21 for a chance to participate with the Teal Sound as we tour across the United States competing against other drum & bugle corps. These students come to us as dedicated musicians that want to excel at the visual marching arts.
We provide and offer top quality instruction by a staff that is made up of both college and high school band directors as well as others from the fields of dance and the arts. We would like to take this opportunity to introduce you to the activity of Drum & Bugle Corps and invite you to take a minute and learn about Drum Corps International (DCI); “Marching Music’s Major League”.

The Cadets are one of the oldest and most honored marching music ensembles in the world. Formed in 1934 in Garfield, N.J., as the Holy Name Fife and Drum Corps, the Cadets are nine-time Drum Corps International World Champions and 19-time National Champions.
World Champions:  1983, 1984, 1985, 1987, 1990, 1993, 1998, 2000*, 2005

The mission of The Cavaliers is to provide the members with life changing experiences, educationally and socially, which help each individual member gain realworld life skills, musical training and performance experiences. Through the development of the character traits of dedication, discipline and teamwork, each member of this close knit, all male fraternity learns what is required to be successful on and off the performance field. Participation in the Cavaliers instills confidence, quality of character and a strong work ethic that cannot be taught in any college or university and is desirable in the real world workplace. 
World Champions: 1992, 1995, 2000*, 2001, 2002, 2004, 2006

 The Troopers are the only competitive junior drum and bugle corps in the state of Wyoming. The corps was founded in 1957 by Casper businessman James E. Jones. The Troopers represent the state of Wyoming in numerous performances and events during the year and competes in the Drum Corps International Summer Music Games tour during the summer months. The Troopers are a 9-time DCI World Championship finalist and have a long history of excellence and innovation on the field.


The Top 13 Fast Food Chains

As a fast food junky myself, I must say that I was quite impressed with The Top 13s list of their Top Fast Food chain restaurants. I would much rather eat fast food than to cook something at home. Those who know me know I don't cook, but also know if I continually eat at fast food joints, I will gain weight like there is no tomorrow! So without further ado, here is the complete list from Top 13:

The Top 13 Fast Food Chains (this is copied from The Top 13 website)

Every day, roughly 45 million Americans will eat a meal from a fast food restaurant. Quite simply, fast food is an institution in American life, for better or for worse. Today's list counts down our favorite fast food chains. Since food is unquestionably a matter of taste and preference which can change on a whim, we narrowed this list down - and ranked it - by asking ourselves which restaurants we would stop at if we had our choice of any fast food chain. This list is limited to chains that operate in multiple states and either do not make food to order or offer the convenience of a drive-thru. In addition, we didn't take into account the healthfulness of the chains. With that out of the way, we present the Top 13 Fast Food Chains.

 This legendary California-based burger chain is a way of life for many living in the Western United States and is a must-stop on all of our trips to the Golden State. In-N-Out simply does burgers better than any other fast food chain. The chain is also beloved because it is still privately owned - there are no franchise locations - and the way it treats its employees, who are paid significantly more than minimum wage. The official menu is refreshingly simple, offering just three different kinds of burgers, as well as fries and shakes, but for those in the know, there is also a "secret" menu that allows you to order your burger "Animal Style" (with many toppings) or "Protein Style" (wrapped only in lettuce).

 Like In-N-Out, Chick-Fil-A pretty much only does one thing - in this case, chicken and typically of the fried variety - but they do it better than anyone else. Their basic sandwich, featuring a hand-cut and battered chicken breast topped simply with pickles on a buttered roll, is sublime, as are their waffle fries and chicken tenders and nuggets. They don't sell burgers at Chick-Fil-A, and that's fine. Our only complaint? All Chick-Fil-A locations are closed each and every Sunday.

 Wendy's narrowly beat out its arch-rival McDonald's for the third spot on this list. Each of the chains has its pros and cons, but Wendy's prevails here due to the consistently high quality of their food. Whether you order chicken or beef, Wendy's sandwiches consistently taste fresher and superior to those from the golden arches. Wendy's trump card is its fantastic spicy chicken sandwich, which has recently, at long last, been offered in chicken nugget form. We're also fans of the chain's thick shakes - known as frosties. Their fries, however, leave a little something to be desired.

 The 800 pound gorilla in any discussion of fast food chains, McDonald's employs nearly half a million people worldwide and is indisputably the king of fast food from a financial standpoint. In our view, this is just as much the product of the chain's superior advertising as it is the quality of their food. While McDonald's sandwiches are usually good - but not great - their fries are easily the best shoestring fries in the fast food game. McDonald's also has the best breakfast options of any of these chains. For many, however, none of their treats are as alluring as the classic McNugget, as the commercial below illustrates.

 Whataburger is like the In-N-Out Burger of Texas and surrounding states; it remains privately owned, it's focused on quality, and it doesn't try to be all things to all people. This chain keeps things simple, offering a basic menu of consistently solid burgers and other sandwiches which are supplemented by more varied promotional fare. For our money, Whataburger's shoestring fries are the closest competitor to McDonald's in terms of quality.

 Arby's will likely be a controversial choice for the sixth spot on this list, as people tend to either love or hate their roast beef sandwiches. Count us in the "love it" camp. In addition to those tasty sandwiches, Arby's also offers solid chicken fare and the best curly fries of any of these fast food chains. Arby's Sauce, which the chain puts atop their roast beef sandwiches, has legions of devoted fans, as evidenced by the many websites and discussions devoted to the condiment and how to make it at home. Plus, Arby's menu includes the terrific Jamocha shake, which isn't offered at other chains.

 Hands down, Taco John's is the best fast food Mexican chain, serving up better tasting and more original items than their chief competitors. The signature dish at Taco John's however, is actually a side item: Potato Olés - circular, seasoned tater tots - that can also be added to the chain's burritos (the famous Meat & Potato Burrito) or served up as "Super Potato Olés" (similar to deluxe nachos but with the Olés substituting for the chips). Unfortunately for our readers in the south and on the coasts, this Cheyenne, Wyoming-based chain is mostly located in the north and midwestern states.

Checkers (which is also known as Rally's in certain areas) has many solid food options, but they make this list primarily due to their uniquely delicious fries, which are spicy and crispy despite being larger than your typical shoestrings. Checkers' sandwiches are above average and are often available for low prices during frequent promotions. Their locations also typically sport a dual-drive through, a nice touch for getting your food fast.

 This staple of rural American fast food has many surprisingly good hot food choices (including chicken strips, burgers, and hot dogs), but it stands out enough to make this list by virtue of its frozen Blizzard shakes. The combination of whipped soft serve and sweets of your choice was a childhood favorite for us, and temptation strikes every time we pass a DQ. Plus, Dairy Queen offers the best birthday cakes in the business.

Fatburger, another California-based burger chain, offers somewhat unique burger options - it's the only one of the chains on this Top 13 that features a turkey burger as a regular menu item, and adding a fried egg is an option as well. While we prefer In-N-Out, Fatburger is not far behind by virtue of the quality of its ingredients, which seem to be a cut above most fast food chains. Several prominent hip hop artists are proud owners of Fatburger franchises, including Kanye West, Pharrell, and Queen Latifah

 Fried chicken is one of the oldest and most popular types of fast food in America, and for our money the New Orleans-originated Popeye's - which serves theirs in boxes, not buckets - is the best of the bunch. This is largely due to the presence of a spicy chicken option, flavored with Popeye's humorously named "Cajun Sparkle" seasoning. Their sides are hit-or-miss, but the red beans and rice and onion rings (where available) trump the choices you'll find at KFC.

Sub-style sandwich shops are among the most popular fast food options in America and around the world; Subway, the largest of the bunch, is the biggest single-restaurant chain in the world, even bigger than McDonald's. While we do enjoy a good sub, we rarely pick them over the less healthy, fried foods that dominate this list, and that is why you'll only see one sub chain here. Despite the ubiquity of Subway and its competitor, Quizno's, we prefer the midwest-based Jimmy John's, where the sandwich options and toppings fall somewhere between the two leaders and the bread is superior.

 Let's get this out of the way - nothing about the Kansas-born White Castle is premium in quality. In fact, the food is quite poor, but somehow White Castle, unlike virtually every other fast food chain, is able to turn this into a perceived strength by offering large quantities of those little, good-in-a-bad-way burgers for low prices. The chain has been repeatedly name-checked in movies, music, and television, most notably in songs by the Beastie Boys and in the film Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle. Aware of its low-budget charm, some White Castle locations even offer reservations for a sit-down dinner on Valentine's Day, complete with table service and sodas served in champagne flutes.

Now, two of my favorites to bring the Top 13 to the Top 15:

Chipotle Mexican Grill is a fast-casual dining establishment that serves authentic San Fransisco-style burritos and tacos. Founded and based in Denver, Colorado, Steve Ells opened the first Chipotle near the University of Denver in 1993. As of March 2009, there were more than 830 Chipotle restaurants, all of which are company owned, not franchised. McDonald's Corporation used to own a majority interest in Chipotle but they sold their entire stake in 2006. Steve Ells serves as chairman and CEO of Chipotle.

Potbelly Sandwich Shop began in 1977 as a small antique store run by a nice young couple. Despite the fast-paced, never-a-dull-moment world of antique dealing, the couple decided to bolster their business by making sandwiches for their customers. What began as a lark, turned out to be a stroke of genius. Soon, people who couldn't care less about vintage glass doorknobs were stopping by to enjoy special sandwiches and homemade desserts in this unusual atmosphere.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

What's in a Tattoo?

Over the years, I remember my dad telling me how disgusting it was seeing people with tattoo's. Well, he really never officially said it, but he had a dislike for tattoo's themselves. It was kind of funny because one of his good friends owned a tattoo shop and I remember visiting him often at the shop on several occasions.

Fast forward a few years. I've thought about getting a tattoo close to 20years now...geez, has it been that long now? Well, anyway, I've been thinking about getting a tattoo that has a lot of meaning for me. One that would remind me of the two best years of my life. Those years happened after I graduated high school and marched with The Cavaliers Drum & Bugle Corps from Rosemont, IL.

I wasn't sure what type of tattoo I wanted, but several had come to mind.

One was what we called the "Standing Man". In 2003, a few alumni and I were talking and we thought about getting this tattoo somewhere on our bodies. Well, one actually did it and put it on his calf, while the other two chickened out. Of course it turned out really cool and I really wanted to get one, but I was way too nervous to actually do it. I didn't know if I wanted this or not as well as know where I would put the tattoo, would I put it on my calf, arm, shoulder-blade? I just didn't know.

Another option was to get the "Guido" head shot. This is a little more detailed and up close, but again would remind me of the hard work, dedication, the many miles we traveled, marched, and the countless number of new friends (brothers) I would make not only during my two years of marching, but the new friends I would make over the years from the great organization. The idea again went to where would I put this tattoo? I couldn't come up with a good idea, and just never thought about it again.

Two other options I thought about which linked to the Corps itself: a 'Rainbow' tattoo (as one of the two corps songs is "Somewhere Over the Rainbow"), or a 'Rose' tattoo (because the corps has been sponsored by The Village of Rosemont, IL since 1982.) Neither of these really struck me close to home, but I kept thinking to myself how I could remember those wonderful years. What am I missing that when I look at this tattoo (which will be forever) that I could say "yeah, I worked hard for that tattoo, and made some very lasting friends and grew up because of them"

It finally donned on me during 2003. I got laid off of work for 5 months, and it couldn't have come at a better time for me. It was Summer time! That meant the corps was already on tour, and I could finish out the rest of the season volunteering my time with them giving them my 'expertise' (or help) with administrative duties, or better yet, help drive one of the Support Vehicles, or Souvenir truck.

A few of the current marching members had tattoo's that resembled another 'nick-name' that was associated with the corps. "The Green Machine".  The Cavaliers marching was so precise, that when they marched around the football field, they literally looked like a moving machine. You could usually hear a pin drop in the stadium because the crowd was so intent in what the corps was doing, or waiting to see what kind of drills would be made.

Some of the young guys had 'Gear' tattoo's. Gears resembled this well oiled machine. We received 1 gear for each year we marched with the corps, and a separate gear for being initiated. These gears would be worn around our necks. New guys didn't have any gears as they haven't completed a full year marching. Some only had 1 gear, while the 'old guys' would have 5-10 gears.

Since 2003, I knew I wanted a tattoo, but just couldn't bring myself to actually getting it done. Now that I've narrowed it down to either the 'Guido', 'Standing Man', or 'Gear', the question became where was I going to put it. I couldn't put it too far down my arm due to work (they look down on tattoo's), and I didn't want to have it always covered up when I was off duty. Did I want to put it on my leg? What about my shoulder blade where I've seen other tattoo's?

One of my great friends here in Minneapolis already has several tattoo's, so we were talking about me getting one finally. He has a tribal band around his arm that he altered to put a lightening bolt in, as well as a dragon tattoo down his forearm.

As we were talking, he kept asking me what I wanted, or where I wanted to put it. I mentioned the shoulder blade, but he made a very good point as when would I ever be able to see it and enjoy it. He knew this tattoo meant a lot to me, so why not put it in a place where I could see it. So, I finally made my decision. The upper part of my left arm. I chose the gear along with the two years that I marched. I chose the Green, Black, and White as it's the corps' colors as well, but I didn't think the white would really come out well. The Tattoo artist at Saint Sabrina's did an outstanding job!

I gave her two idea's of what I wanted. I wanted the gear to be 3-D, as well as colored. I told her about the significance of the gear and years and this is what she came up with. I'm extremely happy to finally have something that forever links me to an organization that means so much to me.

I was surprised that it didn't hurt as much as I was expecting. I suppose that the technology has changed so much over the years that it's gotten a lot better than it was in year's past. The funny thing is, I'm already thinking about putting the 'Guido' tattoo on my other arm where the feather would go off onto my back....what do you think?

Sunday, March 7, 2010

When the seatbelt sign goes on, it doesn't mean to get up and stretch

One of the things that continues to amaze me as a cabin safety professional is how the general public does not regard the safety precautions that are in place for their own safety.

Per Federal Aviation Regulation 121.317, Passenger information requirements, smoking prohibitions, and additional seat belt requirements states: A certificate holder may operate a nontransport category airplane type certificated after December 31, 1964, that is manufactured before December 20, 1997, if it is equipped with at least one placard that is legible to each person seated in the cabin that states “Fasten Seat Belt,” and if, during any movement on the surface, for each takeoff, for each landing, and at any other time considered necessary by the pilot in command, a crewmember orally instructs the passengers to fasten their seat belts.

I am continually amazed at how when the flight starts to get turbulent, and the crew members are having difficulty walking about the cabin performing their duties, and the captain will turn on the seatbelt sign, it never fails that at least 3-5 people will get up and stretch. They do this as if "HAHA, look at me, I can defy the seatbelt sign". 

Well, here are some reports to show that one should NOT get up out of their seat while the seatbelt sign is on. (well, it is common sense isn't it?)

People were flying around 
Three people were injured due to turbulence 
Seven slightly injured after Qantas plane plummets due to turbulence 
26 passengers injured by turbulence on Continental plane 
 Flight Attendants and passengers injured due to turbulence on Air Canada 

Even when the sign is not on, you should always keep your seatbelt on because you never know when that "Clear Air Turbulence" is going to hit. It may be an extremely smooth flight, you forget that you are flying in a metal tin can and BOOM, you drop 500-1000ft in seconds without any notice.  

Whenever I travel, I keep my seatbelt on just like I do while driving or riding in a car. You never know when another idiot is going to sideswipe you and you could be in a serious accident. Yet, people don't care for not only their own safety, but the safety of those around them. 

Please use common sense and just remain in your seat. Remember that if you do get up and the cabin crew are strapped in their seats, it's probably a good idea to immediately take your seat. They are required to inform you that "Per the FAA, the seatbelt sign is illuminated". Don't just ignore them and do your own thing, it is not just for your safety, but to those around you as well.