Last week, I flew on four different flights. While the flight times varied from between 75 minutes and 90 minutes, we were on the plane for 2 hours each time, counting from the time we boarded till the time we left the jetway.
Each flight was smooth; in fact the pilots always announced that the flights were expected to be smooth. But the seat belt sign never came off, on any of the four flights.
I have noticed when I fly on a non-U.S. carrier, that the seat belt sign usually comes off within 10-15 minutes of takeoff, but it is rare that the seat belt sign on a U.S. flight goes off sooner than 30-40 minutes into the flight. Sometimes, it does not come off at all.
For those of us who need to move around because of hip or back issues, or both, this can be a problem. For those of us in the “Flomax Generation” this can be a problem. Especially when we are on the plane a full 30 minutes before it even leaves the gate (as much as 45 minutes for an international flight).
I don’t know why that seat belt sign stays on so long on U.S. carriers and can be taken off so much sooner on a non-U.S. carrier. (And I should say I have never been in a situation on a non-US carrier when the sign was off, but really should have been on.)
I don’t know if this has to do with our litigious society, some insurance regulation, or something else. But I don’t like it. Do any of you?