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cabin vrew- flight attenadant- safety-uniform-appearance- standard - operation - proceadures

Commercial aviation Cabin Crew: The first line SAFETY defense - By Ahmed Haouaria

14 Nov 2019


If someone, even he/she travels a lot on planes is asked to describe the main duties and responsibilities of the cabin Crew, you will probably get this answer ‘’to provide a first-class level of customer service to passengers during their flight, while ensuring their comfort with a joyful and helping way attitude’’. Some would add ‘’serve passengers food and drinks, sell Duty free products...All about customer service care. Some would probably speak admirably about their airport synchronized fashion, walks as they walk in style to the aircraft.  Some even describes flight attendants as being one of the best dressed people because of their uniforms and exceptional appearance. 

Most airlines passengers, do not consider that flight attendants are there to do more than serve a drink and ensure comfort and that during their recruitment process they were selected primarily for having other skills.  The essential part of their job is about having confidence and knowledge level to deal with any safety, security, medical cases and emergencies that may arise during the flight.  But as a follow-up,let's make it clear,even if customer service is central element in commercial aviation, when we put Safety Versus Passenger Service there is NO place to Dilemma. Safety naturally comes first. 

Monitoring passenger’s safety: The first concern

Passengers do not know about behind the scene actions, that prior to a flight, a cabin crew must ensure that all safety and emergency equipment are present, in good condition, adequately stowed referring to their cabin layout while respecting the type of aircraft and immediately ready to be used in case of need.

Starting from the beginning, what was the reason which led to the establishment of Cabin Crew job? Without any doubt, first of all it was an obvious concern about passengers’ safety and health.

Ellen Church who is considered to be first stewardesses, or "sky girl" could fly as a pilot, but the San Francisco office of Boeing Air Transport (BAT), weren’t interested in women as pilots in 1930. 

Ellen Church, who was as well a registered nurse suggested that nurses could be hired to perform some of the tasks then were initially handled by co-pilots, like hauling luggage, as well as to help put the passengers at ease about the eventual medical cases treatment and probable dangers of flying.

Ellen Church and her colleagues, all registered as nurses, responsibilities were to ensure all the aircraft passengers’ health condition during the flight. Boeing Air Transport (BAT) their employer has noticed that passengers feel more safe and relaxed when there is a person, able and qualified enough to take care of them on the airplane. 

Who better than nurses to put passengers at ease? Or as Church put it, per theTimes, “Don’t you think that it would be good psychology to have women up in the air? How is a man going to say he is afraid to fly when a woman is working on the plane?”

Soon, this tendency has been progressively introduced in many airlines and then became mandatory in commercial aviation.

Today, passengers’ safety, security and health assurance are among the main cabin crew duties and responsibilities, included in passengers’ safety procedures. During the training, all cabin crew members have to pass a special training of First Aid in order to be able to properly deal with inflight emergency situations.

Dedication to Standard Operating Procedures 

First and above all, the role of Cabin Crew is to ensure safety and security on-board.  

Cabin Crew follow strict documented SOP’s Standard Operating Procedures and Airlines set rules to maintain the safety of the aircraft and everybody on-board.  Under pressure which is one of the airlines industry characteristics Cabin Crew should remain calm and able to respond appropriately to any challenge they will be facing. Each specific flight brings its specific challenges according to the destination, passengers profile, weather, flight time with jet lag conditions etc.  In particular emergency situations, Cabin Crew are trained to deal with different cases including Extinguishing Fire, First Aid, violent or disruptive passengers, severe turbulence, emergency evacuations and more.

Cabin Crew need to be willing to accept instructions and take orders from the Captain and their Senior Cabin Crew.  They work as a team to prevent and, eventually, resolve problems. But as a trained Cabin Crew they also have to take personal initiative when needed.

Building and integrating Safety knowledge

Each candidate, wishing to start a cabin crew career is required to either follow a Cabin Crew training in a specialized school, holding the state Aviation Authority authorization or to pass an Initial Cabin Crew training course once recruited by an Airlines. Even if you go through a cabin crew training course prior to recruitment you will need to go through the Airlines initial training process internally developed by commercial airlines. The course and the associates examination should be developed in accordance with Airlines state competent Aviation Authority regulation. 

Once the basic safety training qualification is completed the trainees will have to complete aircraft type, operator procedures and conversion training for at least one aircraft type in accordance with the operator's Operations Manual. Furthermore, the initial training provides guidelines, examples of current best practice in addition to instructions and internal regulatory requirements. 

This course is also aimed to develop practical skills, required to perform safety procedures in in-flight normal and abnormal situations.

Practical training will include the use of Safety equipment and procedures, Dangerous goods, medical cases aspects and first aid, Survival, Firefighting and smoke training, which are all related to passengers’ safety subjects.

It is very important that each new candidate with the intention of becoming a flight attendant would seriously consider the huge and demanding safety responsibilities related to the job before even applying to a cabin crew openings. 

Self-confidence is also a major quality needed while making the decisions on board given the fact of in-flight space and time constraints. Sometimes, there are only 30 seconds to make some critical decisions, which could save or cost hundreds of people lives.

Prior to initial training the candidates should first comply with the requirements of the Aircrew regulation regarding medical fitness to discharge the assigned duties and responsibilities as a medically fit crew member. Upon completion of aircraft type and operator conversion training the successful trainees will be provided with a record as evidence of that training. In the form of a specific card.  The record will indicate all training related information including courses modules, aircraft type, the date of the coming recurrent training and checking Records.


As you might have certainly observed reading this post, safety is a key aspect of cabin crew job as well as the related training. Flight attendants are principally on the aircraft for the safety and assistance of the passengers and secondly for their comfort including all customer services aspects. If there were no services or extra comfort on board, we would still be able to survive the flight. However, without cabin crew properly trained to prevent safety issues and, when needed, act to timely and efficiently to deal with these issues at any second, it would be far more complicated coping with an emergency effects. It is then convincing to have international common safety and security standards related to cabin crew training, implemented and practiced by all airlines and states legislative authorities.



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