What happens in a commercial airliner, when a passenger finds the seat belt to be broken. Does the crew de-plane the passenger or do they provide him something like a child/infant seat belt?

I'm also curious as to FAA's regulation on this area, if any.

  • 2
    $\begingroup$ The infant seat belt is attached to the actual seat belt, so not an option (besides being way too small). Regulatory the seat belt needs to be there, so I assume if there is no other free seat the passanger will be either removed from the plane or one of the pilots takes them on their lap. $\endgroup$
    – JustSid
    Commented May 30, 2016 at 10:29
  • $\begingroup$ What about the seat belts used by crew during safety demonstration? $\endgroup$
    – Firee
    Commented May 30, 2016 at 10:39
  • $\begingroup$ @Firee If you look closely, you will see that all of the equipment used in the safety demo is marked "for demonstration only" or similar since it is not maintained. $\endgroup$
    – Simon
    Commented May 30, 2016 at 10:48
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    $\begingroup$ The seatbelt is either replaced with a spare or the seat is "deferred" (put out of service) until it can be repaired. $\endgroup$ Commented May 30, 2016 at 12:11
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ This happened to me once. The crew relocated me to another seat. You cannot fly without the basic security gear. $\endgroup$
    – jean
    Commented May 30, 2016 at 12:42

1 Answer 1


Options would be to either move the passenger to another seat & placard that seat as unusable, or go back to the gate and have maintenance fix what's broken. In the former case, the seat would most likely be fixed by a mechanic at the next station.

The seatbelts used in the F/A demos are seatbelt extensions, which still need the installed seatbelt itself to be intact. They are fully functional as such, though, unlike the demo life vests & O2 masks, which indeed are "demo only" and of no use at all in a real emergency.

For a mechanic, the seatbelt is quick & easy to replace, although without needle-nose pliers (and a spare male or female belt), rather difficult for the crew -- who wouldn't be allowed to anyway.

The FAA requires that every passenger has a seatbelt and has been told how & when to use it, and that the crew has verified that they have it on before takeoff.

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    $\begingroup$ Also, the crew would have a hard time doing the required maintenance paperwork, including returning it to service... $\endgroup$
    – Lnafziger
    Commented May 30, 2016 at 16:11

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