Everyone is talking about FAs informing passengers to remove their personal belongings from their seat back pockets. (Budget Travel, The NYT, and SmarterTravel.com)

Well, you will all be happy to know I have solved the mystery!

I wrote a letter to the FAA, here is the first response I received:


Thank you for contacting the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Aviation Safety Hotline.

To the best of my knowledge I am not familiar with any FAA regulation that addresses your inquiry. Just curious, do you have anything in writing or know of something online that discusses the issue/rumor?

I then forwarded the information that has been circulating around the Internet and here is the second response:


Thank you for the reply and information. I have since researched and found out that it 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.

This solves the mystery! The FAA mandates FARs (Federal Aviation Regulations) that every airline must comply with. Each airline also has, on top of FARs their own set of company policies which in a sense become FARs for that airline because the FAA enforces each airlines individual company policies.

If you fly with an airline that has made this a company policy, the flight attendants will inform you to remove personal items from the seat back pocket. I am grateful that my airline has not made this a company policy but I wouldn’t go out and buy the organizer just yet;-)

(post pic courtesy of gadling.com)



  1. Thanks for doing the legwork! Great post!

  2. The Friendly Skies @ 2009-09-11 14:30

    mystery solved! thanks for finding this out. 🙂

  3. […] and mainlines. There was an argument that came out shortly before my Blog-post regarding (hinted in Flying Pinto's blog, where a pax was told to remove even a boarding pass because of the policy of one airline. […]