Are there any announcements that a captain of an aircraft must make that is reinforced by law or a rule? (This is concerning all countries)

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    Are you asking about Canadian regulations specifically (your profile says you're there), or are you asking if any country has that requirement? When you ask about regulations, please always tell us which country you're asking about. – Pondlife Jul 11 at 21:24
  • Thank you for your suggestion. I have changed the answer. :) – FallenUser Jul 11 at 21:25
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    It seems like my last flight on Spirit the pilots never came on the intercom at all. FA's were the only ones that said anything. I think pilot announcements were another $25 – TomMcW Jul 11 at 23:43
  • Requiring answers for all countries makes this much too broad. Any fully correct answer must cover more than 200 cases. – David Richerby Jul 12 at 9:52
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    Do you mean any country (as in, are there any announcements required by regulation in any country to be made specifically by the pilot) or do you really mean all countries (as in, are there any announcements required by regulation in each and every country in the world to be made specifically by the pilot)? – Michael Kjörling Jul 12 at 10:29
up vote 19 down vote accepted

The US does have specific regulations that require the pilot to ensure that passengers are briefed on certain safety issues, although there's no requirement that the pilot must do it personally.

Here are two regulations from the part 91 (all flights) and part 121 (scheduled airline flights) regulations. There may be others.

14 CFR 91.107(a)(2):

No pilot may cause to be moved on the surface, take off, or land a U.S.-registered civil aircraft [...] unless the pilot in command of that aircraft ensures that each person on board has been notified to fasten his or her safety belt and, if installed, his or her shoulder harness.

14 CFR 121.571:

Each certificate holder operating a passenger-carrying airplane shall insure that all passengers are orally briefed by the appropriate crewmember as follows [...]

I guess that other countries have similar regulations, but it would be difficult to list them all, so hopefully this example is helpful for you.

  • Regarding 14 CFR 91.107(a)(2): A pilot won't need to talk over the intercom for this. He/she can simply turn on the buckle up seat belt sign. – FallenUser Jul 11 at 21:36
  • @FallenUser until he gets that plane full of deaf and blind kids headed to the international pinball competition. Don't know for a fact, but the ADA may have an effect on whether the "just turn on the sign" is sufficient... hence the frequent (dunno if FAA mandatory or ADA requirement to airline or just coincidence and industry "best practice") "ladies and gentlement, the pilot has turned on the seat belt light..." announcement that comes right after. – ivanivan Jul 11 at 22:26
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    But if the pinball players are deaf too they won't hear the announcement. And if they're dumb they won't be able to ask the flight attendant :P – TomMcW Jul 11 at 23:39

ICAO Annex 6 covers the necessary content on briefings for international flights, and most countries have regulations that mirror those rules for flights within that country. The pilot-in-command (what airlines call the captain) is responsible for briefing all passengers on where to find and how to use:

  • the emergency exits,
  • the oxygen equipment and life jackets, if they're required for the flight (which they are on airline flights),
  • the safety belts or harnesses, and
  • passenger briefing cards, if carried;

and for ensuring that all passengers are familiar with the location and use of emergency equipment carried for collective use, for example life rafts or escape slides.

That's all that's required worldwide. Although it's the PIC's responsibility, there's nothing wrong with them delegating to other crew, and this is common practice on airline flights.

The airline will also have a standard operating procedure (SOP), and this may specify additional things the PIC has to say to passengers. Although the SOP isn't a law or regulation, if there's an accident in the flight, and it is found to have been caused by the PIC not following the SOP, the PIC will likely be blamed and this will probably cause them legal problems afterwards.

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    Is the PIC really responsible for briefing the passengers, or are they merely responsible for ensuring that the passengers are briefed? That's a big difference, and in the context of this question, I think it matters. See e.g. Pondlife's quote from US 14 CFR 91.107(a)(2), which is about PIC ensuring people onboard have been briefed, as opposed to specifically the PIC briefing them. – Michael Kjörling Jul 12 at 10:32
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    PIC isn't the same as "captain". If the captain gets up to go to the toilet during a long flight, he's still the captain - but he's not the PIC (or at least, he shouldn't be!) – Martin Bonner Jul 12 at 11:18
  • @MichaelKjörling The PIC is responsible for flying the aircraft too, but that doesn't mean they are always the PF. I don't think the regulations actually make the distinction you're trying to draw. – Dan Hulme Jul 12 at 14:10

Only if there is an emergency condition and the captain must tell the flight attendants and passengers to “Brace!” Of course, a pilot may choose not to tell the passengers.

All other announcements are up to the captain. Airlines request that welcome announcements be made, but it remains up to the captain. (source: USA - Today - Travel)

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    I don't quite understand what you mean by "Of course, a pilot may choose not to tell the passengers"? – FallenUser Jul 11 at 21:28
  • Why would it have to be the pilot in command telling the passengers to brace? Why would e.g. flight attendants be prohibited by regulation to do so? (Given, of course, adequate information themselves.) The pilots could certainly brief the lead flight attendant, who could then inform the other flight attendants who can yell at the passengers at the right moment, while the pilots are focusing on getting the plane onto the ground. – Michael Kjörling Jul 12 at 10:36
  • Only the pilots will know to within a second the time at which the plane will touch the ground. The passengers will have been briefed by cabin crew to listen for "brace" and what to do, if it's known well in advance that the plane is headed for a possible crash-landing. You want to brace with all your strength only seconds in advance because you can't stay like that for long. Also at that time the flight crew will be strapped in to their seats, because they must survive to operate the emergency doors and shepherd the passengers out if at all possible. – nigel222 Jul 12 at 15:06
  • @nigel222 That's interesting... it's probably different in an aircraft but I have heard that in a car it's actually more survivable in an accident to go limp than to tense up. – Michael Jul 13 at 3:05
  • In a car front seat you have a shoulder-strap and air-bags. Rear seat passengers might avoid broken collar-bones by bracing against the front seat, plane-style. In a plane you have to protect your head from the seat in front. – nigel222 Jul 17 at 16:50

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