In-flight safety when flying to Canada

Updated: Jan 09, 2024 | Tags: Flight Safety

The flight crew and attendants have a significant role in ensuring your safety during air travel. The crew ensures that you get to your destination safely while the attendants keep the environment safe and sure that passengers are quickly evacuated from the airplane if necessary. Whether in a local Canadian flight or an international flight, it’s important to make sure that you understand all the safety features of an airplane like the location and how to use emergency kits, and the evacuation procedures whenever there is an emergency.

Flying to Canada, like any air travel, necessitates adherence to certain safety protocols to ensure a secure and comfortable journey. With the aviation industry's stringent safety standards, passengers also play a crucial role in maintaining their own safety and that of others on board. This article delves into the various aspects of in-flight safety, providing insights and tips for travellers flying to Canada.

In-flight safety when flying to Canada
In-flight safety when flying to Canada

Understanding Aviation Safety Regulations

Before delving into specific safety practices, it's important to recognize the role of aviation safety regulations. These are guidelines and procedures established by aviation authorities, like Transport Canada and the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), to standardize and enhance safety in air travel. These regulations cover everything from aircraft maintenance and crew training to emergency procedures and passenger conduct. Airlines operating in and to Canada are required to adhere to these stringent regulations, ensuring the highest safety standards.

Pre-Flight Safety Measures

Choosing the Right Airline

The first step towards a safe flight experience begins with choosing a reputable airline. Most airlines flying to Canada have strong safety records, but it's always a good idea to do a quick check. Resources like the Airline Ratings website provide insights into airline safety ratings and product offerings.

Understanding Safety Policies

Prior to your flight, familiarize yourself with the airline’s specific safety policies. This includes baggage restrictions, prohibited items, and check-in procedures. Many airlines provide this information on their websites or through their customer service channels.

On-Board Safety Practices

Listening to Safety Briefings

One of the most critical safety practices during a flight is paying attention to the pre-flight safety briefing conducted by the cabin crew. Even if you are a frequent flyer, it’s important to listen carefully as safety procedures may vary between different aircraft types and airlines.

Seatbelt Use

For safety reasons, Transport Canada’s recommendation about the use of safety belts is that you should keep your safety belts fasted throughout the flight, even if the seatbelt sign is off. An inactive seatbelt sign only shows that you may leave your seat temporarily.

Although rare, the primary cause of injuries for passengers and crew during flight is air turbulence. Air turbulence is mainly a result of differences in atmospheric pressure, jet streams, cold or warm fronts, thunderstorms, or mountains. Such incidents occur without warning.

You will need to keep your seatbelts fastened during take-off, when landing, during turbulence, and at any other moment when the crew members find it necessary. The seatbelts in a plane are different from what you are used to in a car, so make sure that your belt can fasten easily, adjust tightly, and release quickly. A common mistake that passengers do is to fasten their safety belts around their waist instead of securing it around the hips. Passengers who require a seatbelt extension should inform the airline before the flight departure time.

Safety Features Card

Most airlines place a safety features card at the aircraft seat pocket to provide passengers with important information about the safety features of the aircraft they have boarded. The information is mostly about operating the exit and using the emergency equipment in case of an emergency. You should read the card and ensure that you understand everything about the safety features because different aircraft may have a varying operation for the exit, or the operations for the front exit door may be different from those of the back exit of the same aircraft. Understanding the safety features will help ensure a safe evacuation in case of an emergency.

Other instructions in the safety feature card include a guide about how to prepare for impact. The brace for impact position is known to help passengers and crew members increase their chances of survival and reduce the risk of injury during emergencies.

The best way to brace for impact is by positioning your body against the surface that you will most likely strike when there is an impact. Having your body close to the surface reduces the intensity of the impact, hence minimizing the injuries you may have. The best brace depends on factors such as your physical limitations, your size, and the interior design of the aircraft. You should also consider the course of the crash force, the emergency type and the scale of the emergency.

Managing Carry-On Baggage

Properly storing your carry-on baggage is crucial for safety. Overhead bins should be used for larger items, while smaller items can be placed under the seat in front of you. Ensure the aisles and exits are clear of any baggage to avoid tripping hazards or blockages in case of an emergency.

Handling Turbulence

Turbulence is a common occurrence during flights and is generally not a cause for concern. However, it can pose a risk of injury if passengers are not seated with their seatbelts fastened. During turbulence, remain seated and follow the crew's instructions.

Oxygen Masks

Most commercial flights have oxygen masks that deploy automatically whenever there is a decompression. The flow of the oxygen will only start if you pull down on the mask. Wear the mask around your entire mouth and nose and secure its position by fastening the elastic band behind your head. The oxygen flows to the mask, even if the bag does not inflate. If you are seated next to a person who may need assistance, such as someone who is disabled, elderly or a child, you should start with securing your mask on first before you assist them. Do not remove your mask unless when advised by a crew member.

Exit Row Seating

Passengers sitting close to the emergency exit have the responsibility to open the exit whenever there is an emergency. So, if you are sitting in that position, you should be more attentive and ask for an explanation for the things you don’t understand. If you doubt your ability to assist during an emergency, request a seat change.

Emergency Exits

Different aircraft have their emergency exits in varying locations. Check your seating position’s proximity to the exits to know the direction to follow and evacuate the plane as fast as possible in case of an emergency. You should at all times follow the crew member’s instructions during the evacuation.

Emergency Evacuations

During an emergency evacuation, you should leave your luggage behind and do as instructed by crew members. Trying to carry the baggage from the overhead bin or under the seat will delay the evacuation, hence putting yourself and the others at risk. You can also reduce the risk of common injuries during emergency evacuations by wearing safer clothing and shoes.

Health Considerations During Flight


Alcohol adversely changes how our body works and how we behave by decreasing the brain’s ability to utilise oxygen and impairing your reaction to time, your judgement, reasoning and memory. The effects are even worse while in flight than when at sea level. To promote moderation during flight, airlines may not allow you to board your flight if you appear intoxicated.

Staying Hydrated and Nourished

The cabin air can be dry, so it’s important to stay hydrated by drinking water regularly. Avoid excessive consumption of alcohol or caffeine, as they can lead to dehydration. Eating light and nutritious meals can also help in maintaining your well-being during the flight.

Movement and Stretching

For long-haul flights to Canada, sitting in one position for an extended period can increase the risk of developing deep vein thrombosis (DVT). It’s advisable to periodically stand up, stretch, and walk down the aisles when it’s safe to do so.

Managing Air Pressure and Ear Discomfort

Changes in cabin pressure during take-off and landing can cause ear discomfort. Techniques like yawning, swallowing, or chewing gum can help equalize the pressure. For infants, sucking on a bottle or pacifier can be helpful.

Emergency Procedures

Knowing Your Nearest Exit

Always identify the nearest exit to your seat, keeping in mind that it may be behind you. Count the number of rows to the nearest exit as a reference in case visibility is reduced during an emergency.

Reviewing the Safety Card

Each seat is equipped with a safety card that illustrates the specific safety features and procedures for the aircraft. Take a few minutes to review this card before take-off.

Following Crew Instructions

In an emergency, the cabin crew will provide instructions on how to proceed. It’s crucial to follow their guidance promptly and calmly. Remember that the primary goal of the crew is to ensure the safety of all passengers.

Mental Well-Being and Comfort

Managing Flight Anxiety

For those who experience anxiety or discomfort during flights, there are several strategies to help manage these feelings. Deep breathing exercises, listening to music, or engaging in activities like reading or watching movies can be helpful. Informing the cabin crew about your anxiety can also ensure that you receive additional support if needed.

Ensuring Comfort

Wearing comfortable clothing and bringing items like a neck pillow, blanket, and noise-cancelling headphones can enhance your comfort during the flight. These small preparations can make a significant difference, especially in long-haul flights to Canada.

Remember that you are not flying alone

Everyone needs a sense of safety during flight, meaning no one should display any behaviour that threatens the safety of the crew members and other passengers. Some of the unacceptable behaviours during flight include harassment, disregard of smoking regulations, verbal abuse, physical assault, failure to follow the instructions from the crew, sexual offenses and disorderly conduct. If such behaviour occurs, the crew may decide to divert the aircraft and transfer the matter to the police upon arrival. Such an offense is punishable by law.


Maintaining in-flight safety is a shared responsibility between the airline and its passengers. By understanding and adhering to safety regulations, being mindful of health considerations, and preparing for potential emergencies, travellers can contribute to a safe and pleasant flight experience. As you embark on your journey to Canada, keep these safety tips in mind for a stress-free and secure flight. Remember, the key to a successful trip is not just reaching your destination, but doing so safely and comfortably.