We have been reading stories and seeing many complaints of passengers against cabin crew members. More so, they do blame flight attendants for every unnecessary commotion on board. Things like “if the flight attendants did their job, then there would not have been this….” and things like that even if the situation is beyond the control of these cabin crew members. We have seen passengers treat these cabin crew members as their butlers, asking them to stow their bags on the overhead bins even if the passenger is physically fit to dead-lift a 100 pound barbel.
So okay, let us play some imagination game. Let us imagine a flight totally without flight attendants. All there is are safety cards and reminders. Food and water are easily accessible at the galley of the aircraft. Passengers are free to use the bathroom anytime they want, even during take off. No one is walking around the aisle checking whether seat belts are fastened or not. Imagine yourself being a passenger of that flight.
No flight attendants on board.
Now the plane taxis down. Since there are no flight attendants to watch over, passengers stand up to use the lavatory. Some are putting on make-up. Some do not have seat belts on so they can stretch themselves better. Then the aircraft lines up on the runway as pilot announces, “passengers, prepare for take off”. Some passengers rush to the lavatory since they can’t hold it anymore. Plane goes on full power down the runway. Passengers standing to go to the lavatory are thrown to the aft due to the brute force of an aircraft taking off. Other passengers remove their seat belts in order to help fellow passengers stand up. As the aircraft lifts off, more passengers slide down to the aft. Some are clinging on the overhead bins. Some bags from the bins fall down as some passengers forgot to close them. A bag hits the head of a passenger who fell at the middle of the aisle during take-off.
No cabin crew members on board.
Passengers shout “is there a doctor on board”, and one rushes to help out an injured passenger. Then the aircraft enters heavy turbulence. Those passengers thrown down the aisle are attempting to get up back to their seats, but the crazy turbulence causes them to lose their balance. Some are thrown unto other passengers, some trips down, and some make it back to their seats.
All of a sudden, all that mean weather has caused engine one to flame out. Pilot declares an emergency and requests airport for an emergency landing. The pilot then speaks to the passengers through the aircraft’s PA system “passengers we are now experiencing engine trouble so please prepare for emergency landing. All procedures and instructions are on your safety cards so just follow them”.
No flight attendants on board
Passengers rush back to their seats on panic and reads quickly through all safety cards when all of a sudden, engine two flames out. Pilots proceed to restart procedure but to no avail. An emergency or crash landing is imminent. Passengers are all strapped, some on braced position, and those who think who know more just sits down. Pilot glides the aircraft down and says “brace for impact”. Then the aircraft slams but did not burst into flames.
No cabin crew members on board.
Pilot shouts evacuate aircraft. Passengers all stand up, some injured. They all scramble for the emergency exit door. But how the hell can they open them when elders are seated by them and are injured. Smoke suddenly enters the cabin, passenger grabs safety card to study how to open emergency exit door as a hundred more squeeze in. Some passengers are being stepped on. Injured passengers could not move. More smoke enters. Other passengers could not locate the other exit doors. Some even stop at the middle of the aisle to get their bags because their cellphones are more important than the lives of others.
Okay okay, no need to continue with this, but we now bet you can imagine the situation on board. No cabin crew to assist, no cabin crew to tell you to take your seats during take off, no flight attendants to remind you not to use the lavatory during take off, and even more, no cabin crew to assist during an emergency situation.
Sadly, these are things people do tend to overlook. They really do not see the importance of cabin crew members, and some treat them as just like servants, and not someone with authority on board an aircraft.
So let us run down a few points of what the cabin crew are NOT:
Flight attendants are like your first line of defense in an aircraft. They contribute a lot to why air travel is even safer than land travel. Their authority on board is for the benefit of every passenger. They are very stern when it comes to following rules because these rules were designed around the safety of passengers. Let us learn to appreciate their authority on board.
Every cabin crew member goes through stringent safety training, all regulated and approved by the ICAO and the IATA. All or most accidental situations have been simulated by these flight attendants. Even the way they move aboard during emergency situation like hoping around quickly through each seat, checking for injured passengers, applying CPR, carrying the injured and more have all been simulated. Of course, these are done in controlled environments. Now imagine the story above but this time, with flight attendants on board.
They are the last to leave an aircraft. They have their families and loved ones waiting too, but they are putting their very own precious lives on the line just to make sure each and every passenger are out of danger. Flight attendants will exert their authority on passengers just for them not to roll to the aft and get injured during take off. They are there to teach you how to use the safety equipment and how to open the emergency exit doors. They are there to tell you to put your seats up so incase of an emergency situation, it would be easy to exit. They are there to make sure evacuation is done in a proper and orderly manner to avoid injuries. They are there to carry the injured and disabled on their backs out an aircraft and will return back inside just to rescue others. Then when the aircraft is clear, they account for each and every passenger on the ground. Even if they are bruised or injured, flight attendants will do those just for their passengers.
We need not wait for an emergency situation to happen for us to learn how important the cabin crew members are. We need not wait for lives to be placed at risk. All we need to do is just to follow them. We need to realize that cabin crew members know an aircraft more than a regular passenger.
Let us never forget what cabin crew members really are:
Be happy that you have a flight attendant on board. Be happy that these people are willing to put their lives on the line just to save you.
No need to tip them nor to give them gifts.
Just respect them. And be thankful they are there.
A smile or a simple “thank you” after every flight means a lot to these cabin crew members.
Be happy there are cabin crew members on board.