Singapore Airlines Changes Seatbelt Policy, Adjusts Route After Incident

Photo Credit: Singapore Airlines

Singapore Airlines (SIA) is implementing new safety protocols following a recent severe turbulence incident on flight SQ321.

This week’s inflight incident, which occurred with little warning, tragically resulted in multiple passenger injuries and a fatality.

The adjustments which the airline has subsequently implemented prioritize passenger and crew safety during such unforeseen air turbulence events.

Procedures when Seat Belt Sign Illuminated

The new measures see a focus on stricter adherence to seatbelt sign protocols. To prioritize passenger safety during turbulence, Singapore Airlines will now halt meal and hot beverage service whenever the seatbelt sign comes on.

Suspending meal service at these times ensures passengers remain securely seated, minimizing the risk of injury from unexpected turbulence.

Flight attendants will also prioritize remaining strapped in their jumpseats when the seatbelt sign is on.

They will only be available to directly assist passengers when necessary, ensuring their own safety and allowing them to respond more quickly to emergencies.

Route Adjustment

SIA flight SQ321 was operating between London and Singapore with 211 passengers and 18 crew when the incident occurred.

Flight crew elected to make a precautionary diversion to Bangkok following the severe turbulence encounter which came without warning.

Passengers and cabin crew who were not wearing seat belts at the time were flung through the cabin during the sudden event.

Since the incident earlier this week, Singapore Airlines has moved to make slight adjustments to the scheduled route.

The flight encountered a zone of severe turbulence whilst operating at flight level FL370 (37,000 feet) above the Irrawaddy Basin region in Myanmar.

The flight route transits a region known as the Intertropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ), which is characterised by air turbulence.

It should be noted that encounters with severe turbulence are extremely rare.

A Singapore Airlines Boeing 777 with wheels down.
Photo Credit: RHL Images from England, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons


In a statement on their social media channel yesterday, Singapore airlines provided an update on ongoing medical treatment for those affected in this week’s incident.

At the time of the update, 46 passengers and two crew members are still undergoing medical treatment in Bangkok.

Singapore Airlines have been proactive in making adjustments to in-flight policy following the SQ321 incident. These adjustments highlight SIA’s dedication to overall passenger safety.

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By Len Varley - Assistant Editor 3 Min Read
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