Safety information cards are found on all commercial aircraft, corporate as well. Information contained on these cards tells passengers about the safety features of the aircraft, location of flotation devices when applicable, the donning of emergency oxygen in the event of decompression, and other important information. Often passengers take for granted that when they board an airplane that they will arrive at their destination safely. Thankfully airline accidents are relatively rare occurrences, however, passengers do need to be ready and knowledgeable how to evacuate an airplane should the need arise.

It is important for passengers to read and review on each flight the safety information card located in the seat pocket in front of them. Some passengers may be frequent flyers and feel they know everything there is to know about the safety demonstration, but the aircraft they frequently fly on may occasionally be different.

Commercial airlines are required to provide one safety information card at each seat location, and have spares on the airplane in the event some disappear, either through aircraft cleaning for safety information card collectors (you shouldn’t be taking the cards off the plane!).

As an operator of an aircraft, there are many regulations you need to know, and there are many that you may not know or understand. This is where our expertise comes in. One example is a question I received about safety information cards on aircraft and their requirement.

“Is there a regulation with regards to the Safety Information Card requirement on board the aircraft? We have some conflicting information regarding the minimum required. Is it 1 per seat or 1 per row/seat grouping?”

My response:
Regarding safety cards being at each seat, in the United States there’s a regulation that requires the certificate holder to have a safety information card located at each exit seat. Keep in mind that your regulations may differ.

§121.585 Exit seating.

The specific paragraph reference: (d) Each certificate holder shall include on passenger information cards, presented in the language in which briefings and oral commands are given by the crew, at each exit seat affected by this section, information that, in the event of an emergency in which a crewmember is not available to assist, a passenger occupying an exit seat may use if called upon to perform the following functions:

However, for all other seats, 121.571 applies, and you’ll find that the requirements for passenger safety information card quantity is rather vague per regulation, as it states below “in convenient use for of each passenger,” not “one per seat.”

§121.571 Briefing passengers before takeoff.
The specific paragraph reference:  (b) Each certificate holder must carry on each passenger-carrying airplane, in convenient locations for use of each passenger, printed cards supplementing the oral briefing. Each card must contain information pertinent only to the type and model of airplane used for that flight, including-
That said, there is another factor to consider – airplanes must be configured in accordance with the LOPA, submitted during certification of the aircraft and/or configuration change. The condition it was in at the time of certification, including emergency equipment, briefing cards, etc, is how an airplane is to be configured for flight, except otherwise excepted by the Minimum Equipment List (MEL).

In the event the plane is lacking one safety card per seat, following the requirements of 121.571, a row of three seats could share two cards; a row of four seats could share three cards, or two, depending on circumstance, and place the cards so all passengers in that section of seats could gain access to a safety information card. This would not be for normal operations, rather in instances when an aircraft is away, out of country for an extended period of time, and the spare safety card supply runs out. This would be an acceptable, but not best way, of complying with the regulation. Ideally, each seat should have its own safety information card.