Specifically, on Norwegian 787s, you are briefed:

"In economy seats, reach for your mask. In premium seats, pull the streamer for the mask to drop the full distance."

Norwegian Boeing 787-8 safety instructions

Now the overheads in premium and economy appear identical:

enter image description here

And the premium seats are merely larger versions of economy, they're not beds or fully-reclinable. They're set 2 - 2 - 2 rather than 3 - 3 - 3. I'm guessing there are just two masks in each premium overhead where there would be three in economy, but that doesn't explain the "streamer" (which is just a piece of red cord).

So in premium there's an extra step; of course you end up with exactly the same mask. It puzzles me what the thinking is for the "streamer".

  • 4
    $\begingroup$ It's interesting that in the safety card the person using the streamer is shown with his seat reclined. And the seats shown in the picture do look like they could recline much further than an economy seat. My guess is that the streamer is there for people who have the seat fully reclined; it's probably too low to reach the mask directly. It would be dangerous to have people panic and try to stand up to reach a mask while there's probably an emergency descent in progress. $\endgroup$
    – Pondlife
    Dec 10, 2017 at 14:47
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Yes good spot. I suspect that's the answer. Some airlines will have more bed-like premium seats than others, so you'll need the streamer if you're nearly horizontal. $\endgroup$
    – Party Ark
    Dec 10, 2017 at 16:07

1 Answer 1


So in premium there's an extra step

For what I see in the picture you posted, not really.

There is always the step "grab the mask and pull firmly" to bring it from the compartment to your mouth (and break the supporting cable, that is now unneeded, in the process).

What I understand from the third picture (first row) inside the image you posted is that they made this step "easier" for the premium class, they attached a string/made the usual one longer, so that you don't have to reach up to the mask pulling yourself up, but you can make the mask come down the full distance by pulling the extra string that will come down near to you. Similar to what is shown in this other card found by mins.

I can't see how this is not an extra step though. Economy = grab the mask, Premium = pull the string, grab the mask.

I see where you are coming from, but in the economy version you still have to pull.
I agree that having to grab two objects in a sequence rather than only one seems to be counter-intuitive for an emergency situation, but without seeing the mechanism in action we cannot say much more than this.
The leaflets seem to indicate that the "premium" solution is made to be more comfortable to reach, nothing else.

  • $\begingroup$ Different point. I think it's good that they show the aircraft rapidly descending in the ANA card, since that might scare people more than when they're unprepared. Is there a procedure that determines when the pilot starts to reduce altitude, or does he do it right away as soon as he recognizes that there's a problem with the cabin pressure? In this case it might be better to put the picture closer to the first step. $\endgroup$
    – user7241
    Dec 10, 2017 at 8:22
  • $\begingroup$ I meant "scare people less". $\endgroup$
    – user7241
    Dec 10, 2017 at 8:47
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Thanks for the comments - I can't see how this is not an extra step though. Economy = grab the mask, Premium = pull the string, grab the mask. That's an extra step. In the fear and confusion and panic of a depressurisation event, where people have to react quickly, it's a big call to justify "doing something else". So, the question is why. The implication is that somehow the overheads work differently. But my observation (as in the question) is that in the 787 they're exactly the same as economy, except where the cabin slightly narrows. But not higher. $\endgroup$
    – Party Ark
    Dec 10, 2017 at 12:36
  • $\begingroup$ Added a pic link as comment to main question to hopefully clarify. $\endgroup$
    – Party Ark
    Dec 10, 2017 at 12:55

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