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Until recently, my local airline made all their pre-flight and pre-landing announcements in Swedish and using an informal language. A few months ago they changed this and are now using all the standard phrases (Cabin crew ten minutes to landing, Arm slides, cross check and report, etc.)
Is such a change dictated by some authority or is it the choice of the company? Are the actual phrases defined somewhere, or is it convention?

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For U.S. Air Carrier operations various sections and subsections of FAR Part 121 regulations specify items that must be "briefed" at appropriate times during the flight. The FAA also provides "guidelines" with respect to other items that should be briefed and how the briefing should be conducted.

These requirements are outlined in an Advisory Circular (AC 121-24C).

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    $\begingroup$ For Europe, some things follow from EU Ops: skybrary.aero/index.php/EU-OPS $\endgroup$ – Florian Mar 26 '18 at 0:56
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    $\begingroup$ The question asks if the change from an informal delivery of the information to a more rigid, formalized delivery is mandated by regulation or if this was a company policy change. This answer only addresses what is to be covered in pre-flight announcements, not how it should be delivered, or if there are specific phrases that must be used. $\endgroup$ – FreeMan Apr 30 at 15:38
  • $\begingroup$ The regulations in the US for signage, placards, and briefings spell out what info must be included. I have not seen any stipulation on how it is presented. Since English is mandated as an official language for flight operations, there may be some inference that the briefing must be carried out in English. There is no prohibition on repeating it in another language. But, that country’s aviation authority may require it. It may also be required that any placard/signage listed in the AFM/Owners Manual be visible (like 91.517). There is a requirement for the Registration & AirworthinessCert. $\endgroup$ – Dean F. Apr 30 at 15:51
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I can only speak for carriers following FAA regulations. But, It was probably a company policy change. I have a copy of the 2017 FAR/AIM. I don’t remember there being a change since then.

One reason for an air carrier, whether large or small, to use a standard format and phrases is to make sure that every flight and cabin crew completes all of the required elements of a briefing without forgetting items. In the litigious sense, this sort of scripting is much more defendable than simply requiring the crew to mention the required information in their own way.

757toga has listed that guidelines are spelled out in AC 121-24C for US carriers. I would like to also include the locations of the regulations spelling out the requirements for passenger briefings. Other than the required information content contained in the regulations (FAR), and the guidelines in the Advisory Circular and other FAA publications, there is no further guidance on how the briefing is to be delivered. The regulations are in the following Title 14 CFR parts:

  • 91.519
  • 121.571
  • 135.117

Each has a version of the verbiage included below.

In addition to this, the FAA requires all aircraft PICs brief (or ensure briefings are done with all passengers) the operation of safety/seat belts per Part 91.107. The FAA Safety Team recommends following the S.A.F.E.T.Y. format when Part 91 General Aviation aircraft PICs brief their passengers. The acronym stands for the following:

  • Seatbelts
  • Airvents & windows
  • Fire Extinguishers
  • Exits, Emergencies, & Equipment
  • Traffic & Talking
  • Your Questions

This example guidance can be printed out at FAAST SAFETY Briefing

The example verbiage of the actual regulations is below:

§91.519 Passenger briefing.
(a) Before each takeoff the pilot in command of an airplane carrying passengers shall ensure that all passengers have been orally briefed on—

(1) Smoking. Each passenger shall be briefed on when, where, and under what conditions smoking is prohibited. This briefing shall include a statement, as appropriate, that the Federal Aviation Regulations require passenger compliance with lighted passenger information signs and no smoking placards, prohibit smoking in the lavatories, and require compliance with crewmember instructions with regard to these items;

(2) Use of safety belts and shoulder harnesses. Each passenger shall be briefed on when, where, and under what conditions it is necessary to have his or her safety belt and, if installed, his or her shoulder harness fastened about him or her. The briefing shall include a statement, as appropriate, that Federal Aviation Regulations require passenger compliance with the lighted passenger sign and/or crewmember instructions with regard to these items;

(3) Location and means for opening the passenger entry door and emergency exits;

(4) Location of survival equipment;

(5) Ditching procedures and the use of flotation equipment required under §91.509 for a flight over water; and

(6) The normal and emergency use of oxygen equipment installed on the airplane.

(b) The oral briefing required by paragraph (a) of this section shall be given by the pilot in command or a member of the crew, but need not be given when the pilot in command determines that the passengers are familiar with the contents of the briefing. It may be supplemented by printed cards for the use of each passenger containing—

(1) A diagram of, and methods of operating, the emergency exits; and

(2) Other instructions necessary for use of emergency equipment.

(c) Each card used under paragraph (b) must be carried in convenient locations on the airplane for the use of each passenger and must contain information that is pertinent only to the type and model airplane on which it is used.

(d) For operations under subpart K of this part, the passenger briefing requirements of §91.1035 apply, instead of the requirements of paragraphs (a) through (c) of this section.

[Docket No. 18334, 54 FR 34314, Aug. 18, 1989; as amended by Amdt. 91–231, 57 FR 42672, Sept. 15, 1992; Amdt. 91–280, 68 FR 54561, Sept. 17, 2003]

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  • $\begingroup$ The question asks if the change from an informal delivery of the information to a more rigid, formalized delivery is mandated by regulation or if this was a company policy change. This answer only addresses what is to be covered in pre-flight announcements, not how it should be delivered, or if there are specific phrases that must be used. $\endgroup$ – FreeMan Apr 30 at 15:38
  • $\begingroup$ @FreeMan - edited to address changes and delivery guidance. $\endgroup$ – Dean F. Apr 30 at 16:06
  • $\begingroup$ Better, thanks! So the short answer is "No", there are no regulations on precise wording, only the topics to be covered, but "Yes", it's likely that the company mandated standard phrasing for legal purposes. I don't know if they still allow it, but Southwest Airlines is quite famous for their rather entertaining pre-flight announcements... $\endgroup$ – FreeMan Apr 30 at 16:23
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    $\begingroup$ @FreeMan - About 20° of my flying as a passenger is on SWA. As of last year, they were still doing it their way. But, if you get the same crew leader on different flights, you will notice that they are still scripting. Even if it is a script they wrote themselves. I fly AA 70° of the time. The first few times seeing their briefing video, I really liked it. Then, it became like an old favorite song or commercial to which I could sing along. Now, it’s a tad bit annoying. Time for a reboot. Surely, they could do that occasionally. And no, I will not stop calling you Shirley. $\endgroup$ – Dean F. Apr 30 at 16:34

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