Letters to the Editor: This is why a Boeing 787 pilot tells you how to use the seat belt

A United Airlines captain watches as his Boeing 787 is pushed back from the gate at LAX on June 11, 2020.
(Los Angeles Times)

To the editor: I fly a Boeing 787 passenger plane for work and a small Cessna 182 for leisure travel. The seat belts, which columnist Nicholas Goldberg believes no one really needs to be told by flight attendants how to use, are substantially different from those installed in modern cars. Aircraft crew make no assumptions about a passenger’s knowledge.

I often fly people for a charitable causes in my Cessna, and many of them really have no idea how to fasten these seat belts. By performing this simple briefing before the flight, I let the passenger know I am taking nothing for granted and care about their safety.

While I know that for many passengers this briefing repeats information they have heard perhaps hundreds of times, participating in this simple ritual gives them a sense of belonging and comfort.


Mike Jesch, Anaheim


To the editor: Goldberg is annoyed at the mandatory instructions by flight attendants on how to work the airplane seat belts because they seam “crazy” and “insulting.” To most of us, this is the case.

But just last month I caught my boyfriend teaching his 18-year-old son how to use a baggie to store his leftover sandwich. This kid also didn’t know what to do with a handwritten check he received for his birthday.

Don’t assume, as I did, that everything is obvious.

Rochelle Perlman, North Hollywood


To the editor: Let’s say it’s 2022, and the airlines no longer have any seat belt instructions. Among the passengers is a precocious preschooler who is learning to assert his independence.

His dad told him he must have his seat belt fastened for the five-hour cross-country trip, but he is having none of it. Last year, he might have listened to the voice of the flight attendant who restated Dad’s warning concerning the need to remain buckled. Instead, he is wriggling and screaming as he attempts to run the aisle all the way to JFK.


I hope neither you nor I find ourselves in the seat in front of this child.

Michael Levin, Long Beach