Flight attendants do much more than just serve food and drink on board a flight, and in fact, they are primarily there for passenger safety. This means that if an incident were to occur on board, crew members would be on hand to help.

They also have the power to ask passengers to follow specific instructions on board, particularly if they relate to safety.

Although the pilot is the one who activates or deactivates the seat belt signal, it is the crew members who must ensure that all passengers obey the instructions.

Failure to follow these instructions could have serious consequences, as revealed by an anonymous flight attendant in a dedicated Reddit forum.

Posting as HausOfDarling, the stewardess said: “You can, and probably will, be arrested for disobeying crew instructions.

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“Yes, the seat belt sign is on and we had a PA indicating turbulence.

“No, it’s not bumpy right now, but that doesn’t mean you can get up and use the toilet, you’re an adult and can hold out for five minutes.

“Yes, I saw a passenger crack a vertebra for disobeying our instructions to remain seated before hitting clear air turbulence.”

In other situations, in the event of a major disruption or violence, the crew has the authority to detain unruly passengers until they land and the police can be brought on board.

Speaking to The Washington Post in August 2021, Jeff Price, professor of aviation management at Metropolitan State University in Denver, said, “It’s common to use duct tape to secure someone who poses a threat to theft or for others.”

However, this type of action is only taken in extremely serious circumstances and under the direction of the pilot.

According to Article 10 of the Tokyo Convention, which still governs much air crime today, in a situation where a person on board “is about to commit an offense likely to jeopardize the safety of persons or property on board or who compromises good order and discipline” have the right to take “reasonable preventive measures” without requesting authorization.

According to the International Air Transport Association: “Cabin crew are trained in de-escalation and restraint techniques and equipment (if carried) by their airline.

“There is no industry standard restraint equipment, so it is up to the individual airline to decide.

“Some airlines may equip their cabins with kits that include retainers.”