Ask the pilot

Ask the pilot: What is the standard for Takeoff?

The pilot answers the question we all wonder about.

How high do planes fly?
September 2022
What is really the standard for takeoff? We asked Pernilla Nilsson, Senior First Officer at SAS.

“The only exceptions are cabin crew members.”

Shortly before reaching the runway for takeoff, you tell the cabin crew to take their positions in different ways, depending on who the pilot is. Some companies say nothing at all, but we passengers hear a number of different peeping sounds on board. What is the standard way of doing this? And what do the different pings mean?


Hi Mario,

During taxi, takeoff and landing, everyone on board must be seated with their seatbelts fastened. The only exceptions are cabin crew members, who may perform safety related duties, such as safety demonstrations and then, only during taxi.

When the aircraft approaches the runway, the captain must make sure that everybody is seated before takeoff. A call comes from the cockpit approximately one minute before the final roll-up to the takeoff commences. This is a signal to the cabin crew that take-off is imminent, and it’s the “final call” for them to take their seat if they haven’t already done so. The procedure for how the signal is delivered differs between companies and aircraft types. It can be by voice via the PA (passenger address system) or by flashing the seatbelt sign which chimes (with a “bing bong” type sound) in the cabin.

Pernilla Nilsson
Senior First Officer

Pernilla Nilsson

Title: Senior First Officer
Home base: Copenhagen
Flies: A319, A320, A321
Flight hours: 13,500
Favorite airport: Most of the Norwegian airports. They can be very challenging in harsh weather but a beautiful day it’s unbeatable. The landscape is fantastic with the mountains and fjords. You’ll never get tired of this view.