Saturday, February 8, 2014

Flight Attendants in Aisle during Taxi

Why don't we see more Flight Attendants in the aisle during taxi-out/in to/from the gate?  Simply put, only safety related duties are permitted to be accomplished during aircraft surface movement. (Safety Demo, ensuring baggage is properly stowed, medical emergencies, ensuring electronics are either properly stowed-or in airplane mode, picking up any service items that were handed out during boarding)

Check out the legal version of this requirement of the FAR.

During taxi, flight attendants required by this section must remain at their duty stations with safety belts and shoulder harnesses fastened except to perform duties related to the safety of the airplane and its occupants.

What about the Galley?

While most flight attendant adhere to this requirement, unfortunately some (more often “Galley FAs”) are accomplishing duties not related to safety during taxi. This message is not about picking on the “Galleys.”  

After all, they are the miracle workers of the kitchen. Instead, the focus is to raise awareness that accomplishing non-safety duties during this period is risky. Here’s why.
While the aircraft is whisking along towards the departure runway, you (along with any other unsecured items) are being held in place by simple laws of gravity. Should the flight deck crew make a sudden stop, the laws of inertia quickly trump gravity -- thus placing you (and those loose items) in a precarious situation. In fact, the more distance from any fixed object (galley wall/surface), the greater the risk for severe injury.  What about those unsecured items (inserts/carts/rack of glasses)?  Applying the aircraft brakes “firmly” will result in those items very quickly on the floor -- even worse, possibly striking you!  Look at it this way….,
·        Greater Distance/Speed = Greater Inertia = Harder Impact
Don’t think it happens?  Guess again because in 2013 (for one airline) over 25 flight attendants were seriously injured due to surface movement accidentsSadly, most were avoidable had these flight attendants been seated and buckled-up.
 Let’s Talk $$
The FAA has taken a very clear position on this topic. During recent Town Halls, cabin safety inspectors have publicly stated that flight attendants can be personally fined for noncompliance with FAR 121.391. Your Cabin ASAP reports confirmed the FAA is watching since inspectors do not have to make themselves known to crewmembers when onboard.
But more importantly, you could be injured. Please don’t chance your personal safety. During taxi, all flight attendants not performing safety related duties must be in their jumpseats (focused on cabin safety) with lapbelt and shoulder harnesses fastened.
Opening wine bottles, linen lining inserts, tray unwrapping, and all the other fabulous things you do for our customers can wait.  On the other hand, your personal safety can never wait; it must always be #1.