Blankets used during takeoff & landing

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Can a passenger wrap a blanket around themselves during takeoff and landing? 

Use a blanket during takeoff and landing? The answer is yes, and that is if you can even get a pillow or blanket on a flight in the USA. For sake of discussion, this question can be looked at from a couple of perspectives.

  1. Can a passenger take off and land with the blanket wrapped on their body? Yes, they can wrap their legs with a blanket as there’s no regulation or policy to prohibit or restrict it from being done. However;
  1. Is it in the best interest of safety for passengers to allow passengers to do this? Probably not, as if there were a sudden need to evacuate, the blanket could interfere with the person wearing the blanket. They may trip, fall, or delay initial movement, and depending on where the blanket fell, it could interfere with another passenger trying to get out. causing their feet caught in the blanket as well.

There’s a balance between safety and customer service that airlines must address. Some airlines have one blanket on each seat, others hand out blankets prior to taxi, and others may begin to hand out blankets after they pass through 10,000 feet. It would be held to the highest degree of safety to not have passengers wrap their legs with blankets during takeoff and landing. Realistically, it would be very difficult to enforce a policy to collect blankets for landing when flight attendants have final cabin checks to perform.

Parallel to this question, there is information to support concerns about blankets around a person’s legs during takeoff: Advisory Circular 121.24 Passenger Safety Information Briefing and Briefing Cards contains supporting commentary.

APPENDIX 4. Brace for Impact Section e. says “Also, pillows and blankets could create additional clutter in the aisles which could be a detriment in an emergency evacuation.” While the paragraph speaks to the use of pillows and blankets in a brace position, the after-effects remain the same. Refer to National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) Safety Recommendations A-79-076, A-79-077, and A-79-078.

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