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12 Things You Can Do To Give Passengers Their Most Comfortable Flight

Whether you're flying friends in your own plane, or flying passengers for an airline, these tips can be used for any flight.

1) Unlike You, They Aren't Used To It!

Keep in mind that the sensations of flying, especially in small airplanes, are not experienced by most people on a daily basis. As pilots, the little bumps and turns we're used to are completely foreign to most people.

Swayne Martin

2) Calm And Confident

From the moment you meet your passengers, be calm and confident. Ask them how their day's going, where they're from, and what they're excited to see on the flight. Be thorough during your preflight briefing and always remember to ask if they have any questions or concerns.

Swayne Martin

3) Give Them Expectations

If it's a rough day due to weather or turbulence, let them know what to expect and when. While you can't predict every bump, you can let them know where you're expecting to hit turbulence.

In Hawaii, we commonly let our passengers know that in cruise we'll have a smooth ride, but that down low near the mountains and volcanos it might get a little more rough.

Swayne Martin

4) Gradual Descents

Even if there's not a baby onboard, try to limit your descent rate in an unpressurized airplane to less than 1,000 feet per minute. That's much easier on the eardrums.

5) Get That AC On! (Or Climb To Cold Air)

Nothing's worse than flying in a cramped plane without air conditioning. If you don't have AC, plan to fly as high as you can to get cool air into the cabin. Cool air has a tendency to keep people calm and feeling less nauseous.

Boldmethod

6) Shallow Turns

If possible, you should always limit your bank to 30 degrees or less. There's no reason for passengers to be feeling excessive G-Forces in the back.

Swayne Martin

7) Share Your Excitement With Them

If you pass something interesting along the way, take a second to point it out. You don't have to be a tour guide, but a little announcement every now and then will keep people interested and engaged if there's something they'll enjoy taking pictures of.

Swayne Martin

8) Smooth Power Adjustments

When adding or bringing back power, do it smoothly. In our turboprop Caravans, there's a slight lag between adding power and the propeller spooling up. If you add power to fast, it's easy to jolt passengers into their seats.

Swayne Martin

9) Don't Slam On The Brakes, Unless You Really Need To

Unless there's a good reason to, avoid adding large brake inputs. People in the back will appreciate a smooth ride from taxi to touchdown.

Boldmethod

10) Slow Down For Ground Turns

Need to get off the runway fast? Slow down before taking those tight turns. Slinging passengers to the sides of their seats is a quick way to make them sick.

11) If Something Unusual Happens, Let Them Know

Last week, I performed a last minute, low altitude go-around when another plane failed to exit the runway on the correct taxiway. Don't talk to passengers about it during a critical phase of flight. Once you're on the ground and parked, briefly explain the situation and why you had the unusual circumstance. Odds are, they'll be wondering what happened.

12) Offer To Take Pictures

If you have a free minute after the flight is done, offer to take pictures of passengers. Kids love being in the cockpit, and parents love the pictures even more!

Swayne Martin

What are some other tips for keeping passengers comfortable? Tell us in the comments below.

Swayne Martin

Swayne is an editor at Boldmethod, certified flight instructor, and an Embraer 145 First Officer for a regional airline. He graduated as an aviation major from the University of North Dakota in 2018, holds a PIC Type Rating for Cessna Citation Jets (CE-525), and is a former pilot for Mokulele Airlines. He's the author of articles, quizzes and lists on Boldmethod every week. You can reach Swayne at swayne@boldmethod.com, and follow his flying adventures on his YouTube Channel.

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