ECONOMY CLASS MEMBERSHIP
Passengers have to obey the legal instructions of any crew member who act under the legal authority of the Captain. Fortunately, the days of seeing them as Trolley Dollies and airborne waitresses are long gone and rightly so. They are highly trained and are trained not only cabin service but in safety procedures, medical emergencies, fire fighting, unruly passengers, and importantly for you, passenger well being.
Apart from their primary duty of passenger safety, they are also responsible for catering and in-flight service. Something though that is not visible is the extent of their medical training … they will be able to deal with most things in-flight including panic attacks and the feelings of claustrophobia. Each year they will undertake training involving first aid and fire fighting skills, and long-haul crews will have to practice their dinghy drills each year. You should never hesitate to report anything you are unsure about to the crew.
Crew training and practice is normally conducted at a training centre where there are mock-ups of the aircraft which they are licensed to fly on. Training is rigorous and the standards are high. They are trained in crowd control and their role in the evacuation of the aircraft is as important as any of the pilots’ responsibilities. They may need to get the aircraft evacuated without instruction from the pilots and in the unlikely event of one pilot being incapacitated they are trained in using the checklists so that they can integrate with the pilot’s normal and non-normal procedures. The cabin crew are legally responsible to the Captain for the safety of the cabin and the passengers. Many airlines combine cabin crew and pilot training where their team skills in simulated emergencies are developed and assessed.
In the event of medical emergencies, the crew are able to radio through to diagnostic and help facilities on the ground. By the way, don’t watch their faces for signs! I know that a lot of fearful flyers watch the faces of the crew carefully and make a broad assessment of the safety of the flight from what they observe. It is important to remember that the crew have lives outside their work and it maybe that for a moment they are thinking about a sick relative or paying an unexpected bill. They are human beings and as a general rule do a difficult job with considerable skill and patience.
One of the improvements in crew training in the last few years is that pilots and cabin crew attend courses together. The crews usually undergo human factors training together.
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