Written by Mond Ortiz
The picture above shows a Philippine Airlines flight attendant assisting a passenger in carrying her luggage unto the overhead compartment of an aircraft. When we say assisting, we mean both the passenger and the cabin crew lift the luggage, and is not left alone for one to do it. Flight attendants usually lend assistance to passengers who have any physical hindrance in lifting luggage by themselves, usually, PWDs, pregnant women, and elderlies. They are not obligated to solely lift luggage unto the OSBs and this is practiced by airlines all over the world!
Just today, Jumpseat Diaries posted a photo of a comment from some "expert" who I am sure never became nor even worked for the aviation industry. Please see photo below, taken from Jumpseat Diaries.
If you don't understand Filipino or Tagalog, it basically says that it is the flight attendant's job to lift passenger luggage unto the overhead compartment. It also says that the flight attendant is included in the air fare this passenger paid. I am even not sure if the one who wrote this is a passenger or just some idiotic troll who got nothing to do in life.
So to whoever wrote this and I hope you read this line by line as this is my answer in behalf of all the flight attendants and stewards you have somehow offended.
First and foremost, your air ticket never included the flight attendant. Please do check the summary of payment. You did not buy the flight attendant because if you did, you would be paying billions in Dollars which is enough to wipe out our country's debt as the training costs of these flight attendants are very steep! What you paid for is to get from point A and point B safely and comfortably, and flight attendants are there to implement and carry safety procedures and standards. They are there to save your life incase of an unfortunate emergency situation even if they have to put their very own life in great danger, and that is what you exactly paid for! SAFETY! Comfort is secondary.
Second, flight attendants are ENCOURAGED to LEND ASSISTANCE to passengers in need of HELP in the stowage of their carry-on items unto the OSBs. That means if you are an able passenger without any physical hindrance, then please you have to lift it by yourself unto the overhead stowage bin.
Let's look at the word "ASSISTANCE" or "ASSIST". By definition taken from the Meriam-Webster Dictionary, it means "to give usually supplementary support or aid to". To use it in a sentence, "She assisted the boy with his lessons". This is synonymous to "The flight attendant assisted the passenger in lifting her luggage unto the overhead compartment", in other words, BOTH the passenger and flight attendant lifted the luggage. This is far from "She did the lessons of the boy" or "The flight attendant lifted the passenger's luggage unto the overhead bin." Do you now get it?
So going back, flight attendant are simply encouraged by most airlines to ASSIST passengers who need help and these are usually PWDs, pregnant women, elderlies, or anyone with any physical hindrance when it comes to the lifting of luggage unto the OSBs.
You may now be wondering where is our proof. Well please do check all the pictures below.
There is a reason why airlines do not obligate flight attendants to lift passenger luggage unto the overhead compartments and the reason is due to health hazards. You see, your cabin crew have to be on tip top shape at all times in order for them to fulfill their primary role in saving passenger lives incase of any emergency situation. They may end up carrying injured passengers on their backs just like what happened with Asiana Airlines 214 where a flight attendant was carrying an injured passenger on her back and went back in to get more after the aircraft crashlanded in SFO.
"So if they can't lift hand carry luggage, what more carrying injured passengers?" Ma'am, an emergency situation does not happen everyday and we would never want that.
It has been proven countless times that the repetive lifting of hand carry luggage unto the overhead compartments usually results to back problems and injuries in the long term run. Let's do the math and maybe, you'd want to experiment on this.
The standard ratio of a flight attendant to passengers is 50:1, meaning for every 50 passengers on board at most, there must be 1 flight attendant. Each of thoese 50 passengers bring 7kgs or 15lbs of hand-carry luggage. If flight attendants were obligated to lift each luggage unto the overhead compartment, this would mean lifting 15lbs 50 times for every leg of flight. If the cabin crew is to fly two legs, that would mean lifting 15lbs a hundred times. If he or she would fly four legs, that would mean lifting 15lbs 200 times a day! If the cabin crew is to fly five times a week, that would mean lifting 15lbs 1,000 times ever week, or 4,000 times every month or approximately 24,000 to 48,000 times every year! Try doing that and let's see if you will not suffer any back problems in the long run. Add also the fact that not all will stick to the 7kgs limit, some go beyond!
To sum this second part up, flight attendants are WILLING to LEND ASSISTANCE to passengers in the lifting of luggage unto the OSB if they NEED HELP, and these again are usually PWDs, pregnant women, and elderlies. If you are an able passenger, why not stow it yourself if you can lift it from the house to your car to the terminal to the aircraft. If you are not comfortable with this, then have it checked-in.
You never bought the flight attendant when you bought your plane ticket, never! Yes part of the airfare you pay for goes to the salaries of your flight attendants but it does not mean that they are willing to do whatever you want. What you actually paid for is for the airline in order to fly you from point A to B safe and comfortable, and to do so, they placed flight attendants in order to ensure your safety and to attend to your needs.
Flight attendants went through months of rigorous training which mostly focused on passenger safety, comfort is secondary. If what a passenger may want for his or her comfort would be deemed as a safety issue, then it is definitely not granted nor would it be allowed.
I do suggest that you try applying as a flight attendant and get through training before we jump into conclusions. Moreso, let's avoid trying to be an expert especially if we never experienced becoming a cabin crew.
If you feel all what I said here was wrong, please do feel free to put your thoughts on the comments section, and better if you can provide us the source of your conclusions just like what we did.