Did you know that the FAA has a big role in my life as a Flight Attendant? Probably not. You probably think more about the actual airline or the pilots when you hear FAA, but they do have a big role in our lives as Flight Attendants. My company just issued a memo stating that the FAA is out and about doing their FA inspections. So, what does this mean to me? Well a few things:

  1. I need to make sure my inflight manual is current and up to date. FAs are required to carry an inflight manual that has everything from where to find emergency equipment to how to help in child birth. There are several revisions a year…..things in the airline industry are always changing….and our manual must be up to date. What happens if my manual is not current, and we have an FAA Inspector on board? A fine…..a big fine……$1000.00 per leg flown since that missing revision was incorporated…..to me personally and my company! You can bet disciplinary action is also in the cards! Needless to say, I keep my manual current.
  2. I need to make sure I have my required duty items: Flashlight, alarm clock, cabin key, inflight manual, watch, and I.D. What happens if I don’t have everything? Fine, again to FA and Airline.
  3. I need to make sure my Airline’s policy and procedures are being followed. This means, those annoying requests we have for you the passenger…..that really aren’t requests at all but instructions…..like, stow your luggage under the seat in front of you, completely under your seat…out of your aisle, and turn off your electronic device, and sit down and put your seat belt on or we can’t push back from the gate…….and yes, my favorite: bring your seat back forward…..all of these things….if FAA is on board and I as a FA don’t instruct you to do them? Fines, BIG..BIG…fines for me and my company. So, see I know we sound like irritating broken records, stating the obvious but it really is our job, and it really is required of us.

A couple other interesting facts:

  1. The FAA has criteria that they set for our inflight department, our company has the right to go above and beyond what the FAA requires when setting the airline’s policy and procedures and they often do. The FAA not only enforces the rules they implement on us but whatever the individual airline does above and beyond, is now enforced by the FAA. Essentially, company policy is an FAR…..(Federal Airline Regulation)
  2. Every aircraft has what is called minimum crew. Minimum crew is determined by the FAA. The standard is one FA for every fifty seats (not passenger’s, but actual seats). Sometimes, this varies a bit. Each year every airline has to have Flight Attendants demonstrate to the FAA that each type of aircraft they have can be evacuated with minimum crew, if they fail to demonstrate this within the designated amount of time, they add FAs until it is done. This becomes the minimum crew for this aircraft type at this airline.

So…..remember…..we’re just doing our jobs…..forget the dirty looks next time you think it is ridiculous that your bag is by your feet and has to be moved a whole 12″ under the seat in front of you: )



  1. flying mum @ 2009-04-14 21:29

    I’m actually working on a post similar to this one! Tired of the dirty looks, and snappy passengers when I have to ask the same people more than once to do something that know better. But it’s not my rules, it’s the FAA’s!

    Thanks for sharing.

  2. […] do flight attendants do if a fellow crew member is injured or ill? Flight Attendants all carry an inflight manual that has polices and procedures in place should a working flight attendant become injured or ill […]

  3. […] Mr. Nice Guy was told nicely that he had to move. Not the favorite part of my job, but that’s the way it is these days. Anyway, he would not hear of it. In fact, he demanded that he stay there. I then told him we had a couple minutes before the door closed if he wanted to take it up with the gate agent. “No!” he said. “I will be sitting here because it is a FAR (federal aviation regulation) that someone sit here in case of an emergency!” Well, it’s not a FAR and we had to go over that fact a few times before I got the lead flight attendant involved. The lead flight attendant then went over it few more times before he finally complied, but informed us he would be notifying the FAA (federal aviation administration) and letting them know that no one was sitting in the exit row. Click here to read more about the federal aviation’s role in the life of a flight attendant. […]

  4. […] me shed some light! The airlines are staffing planes at minimum crew more and more these days. Minimum crew is the amount of flight attendants the FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) mandates per flight. […]