Too Many Announcements – Do Passengers Care What The Pilot Is Called?

Inflight announcements can be crucial in providing important information. This might include delays, the local time at destination, and of course, emergencies. But beyond the “necessities”, are passengers being inundated with too many announcements over the course of their flight?

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Inflight announcements can range from emergency notifications to duty-free sales. Photo: ANA

The annoyance of announcements

Imagine boarding an aircraft late in the evening or during the early hours of the day, eager to get some sleep. After forcing yourself to stay awake for the safety briefing (which we should all definitely be doing), you fall fast asleep.

Suddenly, you’re in the air and something has stirred you awake. It’s the captain making an announcement. She’s telling you her name, her first officer’s name, the name of every flight attendant, and of course, the cruising speed and altitude. Oh – and because you’re traveling on an international airline from a country which has an official language that isn’t English, you’re going to hear that announcement all over again in the other language. Was this really necessary and was it worth being woken up for?

Some passengers are saying no.

“When I board a bus or train, the driver doesn’t introduce himself to everyone, nor does he tell me how fast we’re going to go and nor does he tell me the temperature,” says avid traveler Peter Lublink. “Why do pilots insist on their announcements? And then the cabin steward repeats the whole speech!”

IFE Screen - Aeroflot A350
Even if sleep isn’t your priority – constant inflight announcements almost always interrupt and pause inflight entertainment systems. Photo: Sumit Rehal / Simple Flying

It’s not just passengers trying to sleep that are interrupted. It’s anyone deep into a dramatic film or two passengers trying to talk to one another. In fact, inflight announcements automatically pause television shows and movies – sometimes coming through your headphones far louder than the volume of whatever you were watching.

Which announcements are necessary?

There is a myriad of inflight announcements that are absolutely necessary. Anything to do with safety and security is, of course, essential. Anything to do with delays and scheduling is also important to know. Inflight meal options? I think most people care about that as well.

However, anything beyond these is questionable.

Too Many Announcements – Do Passengers Care What The Pilot Is Called?
Are there too many announcements coming from the cockpit? Photo: Chris Loh/Simple Flying

Of course, the bulk of additional announcements are meant to better connect passengers to the flight crew, the airline, and the overall experience of flying. It, of course, seems polite and courteous to introduce yourself and the people who will be serving you. But in my opinion, this comes at the cost of the overall flight experience – especially if your flight is a short one.

In fact, Chris Chamberlain of Executive Traveller counted 23 announcements on his 95-minute flight between Taipei and Hong Kong. An average of one announcement every four minutes? That’s absurd!

In this day and age, airlines are also trying to bring in more ancillary revenue – “revenue that is derived from goods or services other than a company’s primary product offering”. In this case, everything beyond the airfare.

This is why we’re getting used to announcements about the duty-free cart rolling through the cabin, or lottery tickets being sold. Again, more announcements that interrupt the experience for everyone when only a few may be interested (we’ll give foreign-coin-collection announcements a pass since those donations do go to charity!).

Conclusion

So from my point of view, inflight announcements have gotten out of control and need to be reigned in. But I would love to hear from our readers about this.

Passengers: Do you feel like there are too many unnecessary inflight announcements these days? And to the current and former pilots and cabin crew reading this, we’d love to get some insight into the utility of these announcements! Let us know in the comments.

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