Why Do Cabin Crew Sit On Their Hands While In Their Jumpseats?

When you’re on a flight, you may have noticed that the cabin crew are seated in a fairly rigid fashion during taxiing, take-off, landing, and even during severe turbulence. But why is this? Well, it all comes down to safety.

The Brace Position

During these safety-critical times, cabin crew are instructed to take their positions on their jump seats. The brace position for cabin crew varies depending on airline safety procedures and the region. However, it is always different from the passenger brace position.

The purpose of the brace position is to keep the body in a rigid pose, minimizing the chances of injury in the event of an unplanned emergency or impact. The cabin crew member sits with their back and neck firmly against the jump seat, knees and feet together, and feet firmly on the ground. Their hands are placed either on top of the knees or under the thighs, with elbows held inwards. This position may vary depending on company procedure.


The cabin crew brace position may differ slightly depending on whether the jump seat is facing forward towards the cockpit or backwards towards the aircraft tail. Those facing forward should have their feet slightly positioned behind the knees, while those facing backward would have their feet slightly forward. Additionally, there is another variation for the forward-facing cabin crew that involves tipping their chin to the chest, which may protect against whiplash injury.

Silent Review

From the moment they lock into their crew seat until they receive the signal from the flight deck that it is safe to move around the aircraft, cabin crew go through a “silent review” during every take-off and landing. This review prepares them for an emergency situation and includes being aware of emergency equipment locations, understanding door operations, knowing the commands given, identifying able-bodied passengers nearby, and observing any visual clues outside the aircraft.

Bracing in a Planned Emergency

In the event of a planned emergency landing, cabin crew assume a different brace position. The lower body remains the same, but one hand is placed on top of the other behind the head, with elbows held inwards. This position allows the cabin crew to hear and shout emergency commands while protecting their face and head from any flying debris.

These brace positions may sound complicated, but cabin crew are trained in them. With experience flying different aircraft types and sitting in various jump seats at different doors, it becomes second nature. Some crew members even adopt these positions when flying as passengers because it has become automatic for them. Additionally, sitting in these positions also helps to keep their fingers warm, especially when operating an aircraft in colder climates.

So the next time you see cabin crew sitting on their hands in their jump seats, you can appreciate that they are prioritizing safety and preparedness for any situation that may arise during the flight.