The following are statements released by commercial airlines in response to our report “FAA Waiver Allows Some Airlines To Fly 100 Miles Over Water Without Life Rafts Onboard“.

Alaska Airlines

“Alaska Airlines does not currently use this waiver on any of our flying.”

Allegiant Air

“We do not exercise the use of the waiver.”

American Airlines

“We do have overwater (OW) flights, but we absolutely cannot operate OW flights without adhering to the FAA rules and there are very specific rules. And, the waiver doesn’t allow you to fly across the Atlantic or even to Hawaii; it’s very limited and even specific in different geographic areas. Crews must also be trained and an announcement made about life vests. (These are not all the specifics, just some of them.)

“If we are flying to Hawaii or even Miami to Brazil, we must use an aircraft that is certified for OW use and that has life rafts. NO WAIVER CAN BE USED FOR THIS FLIGHT.

“American Airlines abides by all required FAA safety rules, life raft rules, and regulations about where each aircraft can fly in relationship to land. Passengers can be assured the aircraft they are traveling on meets all safety regulations including life raft regulations.”


“We do not have life rafts on all planes. No aircraft that fly over bodies of water fly without life rafts. However, if an aircraft operates between two points i.e. NYC to Miami… it stays within the 50 mile rule and isn’t required to have a life raft.

“Delta doesn’t exercise the FAA exemption (life raft waiver) that’s been put into place for certain types of aircraft.

“If you want to know if a plane carries life rafts, ask the flight attendant… they have to know if life rafts are onboard and that information is conveyed in the safety announcement. A copy of Delta’s recent safety instructions are on You Tube.”

Spirit Airlines

“All of our aircraft are equipped with rafts and are over water certified.”

United Airlines

“United Airlines complies with all FAA regulations.”

US Airways

“US Airways doesn’t operate overwater flights from LAX.”


“The Op Spec applies to all LAX-Cancun flights and I would again note that most (if not all) domestic carriers operating the same route (with a lot more daily flights than us) would also have the same waiver as it is standard FAA practice which has been in place for some time (this particular Ops Spec has been in place for at least more than a decade). In addition, most flights over the eastern seaboard (from North Carolina to Florida with the same or longer over-water periods) would definitely have the same Ops Spec/waiver.

“We have this ops spec in place for these flights, as do most domestic airlines that serve routes where limited coastal over-water flying and shorter distances to land are involved… we do carry equipment above and beyond what is mandated, including inflatable slides that can be used for flotation and that offer life vest and life raft capability (all of our aircraft are new and equipped with these).”

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