Keeping Passengers and Employees Safe at All Times
At American Airlines, no commitment is more important – or pursued more pervasively or with greater energy, day after day – than its commitment to the safety of customers and employees. Indeed, safety is at the very core of the airline, and American has developed an array of initiatives to help it meet its safety imperative, both in the air and on the ground. No task is more important – or receives greater attention – than this one.
In any number of ways, the safety commitment is focused on the physical well being of customers and employees. But there are other important dimensions to safety that also focus on customer service, and on a variety of transportation initiatives aimed at ensuring that every experience with American Airlines is both safe and enjoyable. Day in and day out, in every aspect of its operations, American and its people do all they can to create an environment that allows customers to fly with us – and employees to serve with us – in complete confidence, no matter where they may be in the global network.
Buckle Up for Safety
- Turbulence is the leading cause of injury to customers and flight attendants in nonfatal accidents.
- Each year, approximately 60 airline customers are injured during turbulence while not wearing their seat belts.
- Federal Aviation Regulations (FAR) require customers to be seated with their seat belts properly fastened during takeoff, landing and any time the “fasten seat belt” sign is lighted during flight. The regulations apply to several circumstances:
- When the aircraft leaves the gate and until it climbs after takeoff.
- Whenever the “fasten seat belt” sign is lighted.
- During landing, and until the aircraft reaches the gate and comes to a complete stop.
- During severe weather conditions, such as storms or strong headwinds.
For all of these reasons, American urges all customers to keep their seat belts fastened across their lap while seated. During turbulence, customers should always buckle up and be aware that flight attendants may suspend cabin service to protect themselves from injury. The safety of every person, including the flight crew, is our number one priority.
Ground Proximity Warning System (GPWS) and Enhanced Ground Proximity Warning System (EGPWS)
As part of its safety commitment, American equips its cockpits with the very latest technology. Two systems – the Ground Proximity Warning System (GPWS) and the Enhanced Ground Proximity Warning System (EGPWS) – assist pilots in avoiding terrain and also provide them with additional terrain awareness information.
The GPWS provides visual and aural warnings for:
- Descending too quickly
- Flying too quickly toward terrain
- Losing altitude after takeoff or go-around
- Clearing terrain in flight situations other than landing
- Descending on a path below the prescribed landing path (glide slope)
The EGPWS incorporates some major enhancements to the GPWS system, including:
- The addition of a worldwide runway database, which provides specific terrain alerts for runways that are more than 3,500 feet long.
- The capability to display terrain data from a worldwide terrain database.
- The capability to issue alerts if the system predicts a conflict between the airplane’s flight path and terrain in the area.
- Automated landing callouts to keep flight crews aware of their height above ground as they approach the runway.
Following FAA approval in 1996, American was the first airline in the world to begin installing the Enhanced Ground Proximity Warning System on its entire fleet.
We expect, as you do, that American Airlines and American Eagle will operate flights on time. On occasion, the weather or other challenges can make it difficult, if not impossible, to stay on schedule. When a delay or cancellation does occur, the goal of American and American Eagle is to get our customers to their destinations as safely and as quickly as possible.
A special section of advice and guidance for customers, entitled “Tips For Assistance When Your Flight Has Been Delayed or Cancelled,” can be found elsewhere in the Corporate Information pages of our AA.com Web site. To access these travel tips, click on the “About Us” tab of AA.com, then click on “Corporate Information.” The “Tips” document is at the bottom of the “Resources” section.
In 1997, American Airlines became the first U.S. carrier to begin equipping its aircraft with automated external defibrillators (AEDs) and later was among the very first U.S. airlines to equip its entire fleet – about 700 aircraft – with the units. Over the years, the devices have helped American and its flight crews save many passenger lives.
American also provides state-of-the-art enhanced medical kits as standard equipment on its airplanes, and has physicians “on call” 24 hours a day, seven days a week, for in-flight medical emergencies and to offer assistance with passenger boarding questions. These physicians provide real-time assessments of in-flight medical problems, including treatment and recommendations when a medical problem is serious enough to divert the flight.
Cabin Air Quality
There are three issues that affect air quality in the cabin:
- Ratio of outside air to recirculated air
- Ratio at which outside air is replaced
- Oxygen content
American Airlines controls the air in its passenger cabins to keep customers as comfortable as possible, and focuses on air purity through the filtration of recirculated air.
The air in passenger cabins always contains more oxygen than is needed. Oxygen makes up 20 percent of fresh air, and the normal oxygen requirement for sedentary activities, such as sitting on a plane, requires only 2.4 percent of the amount American provides – 10 cubic feet per minute (cfm).
The cabin air that passengers breathe is a mixture of fresh air drawn from outside the aircraft and air that has been recirculated within the airplane. Outside air is changed at the rate of 10-15 times per hour. This rate exceeds the rates found in trains, hospitals and office buildings.
- American Airlines and American Eagle spend approximately $14 million a year to “clean” the wings and control surfaces of their aircraft for safe flight in cold weather.
- The deicing process involves spraying various fluids on the control surfaces of an airplane’s wings and tail, the wings themselves and, in some circumstances, the fuselage.
- FAA regulations require the deicing process to be completed no more than five minutes before takeoff. The fluids used for the process do not pose significant health risks to American’s employees or passengers.
- American’s ground services employees receive extensive training to ensure that all phases of deicing are done properly and effectively.
Transporting Hazardous Goods
To ensure passenger safety for all flights, American Airlines has approved detailed guidelines and restrictions for the transport of certain materials.
Electronic devices approved for transport include:
- Heart regulators, hearing aids and medical devices are accepted during all phases of flight.
- Portable oxygen concentrators (POCs) are accepted for use in flight, but not for taxi, takeoff or landing. This is provided that the customer brings enough spare batteries to last the duration of the flight, plus extras for potential delays or diversions. The batteries must be packed and secured to prevent the terminals from arcing. There is an FAA approved list of POCs, and the SAC (Special Assistance Coordinator) desk knows which ones are accepted. Any items outside this FAA list will not be accepted.
- Cell phones may be used while parked at the gate. They must be turned off during taxi out, takeoff and in flight, but their use is permitted after landing, once the aircraft has exited the runway and is taxiing to the terminal.
- Portable electronic devices such as personal computers, electronic games and toys, audio/video players, and portable typewriters may be carried onboard and used after takeoff. Any spare batteries customers might bring for their laptops, cameras, cell phones, iPods, games, POCs, etc., must be carried on-board rather than in their checked baggage. These batteries should be in their original sealed and unused packaging from the manufacturer whenever possible. When not possible, the batteries should have electrical tape over the electrodes to prevent arcing. Defective batteries that have been recalled by the manufacturer can not be brought on board. Power ports on board the aircraft cannot be used to recharge batteries. The power ports should be used only to keep the batteries from discharging while the laptop or other items are in use.
- Law enforcement officials may carry weapons in the passenger cabin with proper authorization.
- Unloaded firearms, packed in a crushproof container or hard-sided, locked suitcase, are allowed in checked baggage only, and must be accompanied by a declaration form. A passenger is allowed to check a maximum of 11 pounds of ammunition, properly packed in the same container as the firearm.
- Recreational paint guns, without the CO2 cartridge, are acceptable as checked baggage. It is recommended that passengers alert the airport ticket counter agents if they are transporting a paint gun.
- Stun guns, knives and military swords must be in checked baggage and do not require a declaration.
- Dry ice in quantities not exceeding 5.5 pounds per person may be transported in carry-on baggage when used to pack perishables not subject to U.S. Hazardous Materials Regulations. The package must permit the release of carbon dioxide gas. Dry ice may be transported in checked baggage with American’s approval when each package is marked “Dry Ice” or “Carbon Dioxide, Solid” and marked with the net mass of dry ice, or an indication that the net weight is 5.5 pounds or less.
- Laser pointers should be included in checked baggage.
- Tool boxes may be transported as checked baggage only, but may not contain hazardous goods such as aerosols.
- Medical-assistance devices with magnetic properties require clearance by special assistance coordinators.
- Butane hair curlers, without refills, are acceptable.
- Carbon dioxide cylinders, with two cylinders fitted in a life jacket plus two spares, are acceptable. Please note: Although items such as these are deemed acceptable by the FAA, the Transporation Security Administration (TSA) may confiscate them. If customers have another means of transporting these items, or can obtain them at their destination, we recommend that they do so.
- All items listed as Prohibited Articles on aircraft: Aerosols (spray cans), fuels, paints, solvents, starch, alcohols, nail polish, lighter refills, camping gas, fireworks, flares, black powder, bleaches, drain cleaners, lead-acid batteries, bottles of acid, strike-anywhere matches, gas-powered tools, self-heating meals, model-rocket motors, hydrogen peroxide 40 percent or greater, mace, and pepper spray.
As a result of Federal legislation effective July 1, 1997, all American Airlines and American Eagle flights are nonsmoking. In addition, the activation of electronic “e-cigarettes” is not allowed nor is smoking permitted on any of the flights operated by American’s codeshare partners, including those who belong to the global oneworld Alliance. However, SNCF French Rail in Europe still allows smoking, and American codeshares on many of SNCF’s rail routes to and from Paris.
Updated July 2008