Why we need to listen to cabin crew

Five people lost their lives earlier this week when the plane they were on collided with another aircraft on the runway in Japan. Absolutely heartbreaking news.

Miraculously all 397 on the Japan Airlines plane survived. How is that even possible? Well much is being made of the design of the aircraft, but an early report I read suggested a lot of it came down to the majority of passengers being Japanese and used to abiding by rules. A rule that on that flight will have said their bags must be stowed under the seat in front, seat backs up, tray tables away, small electronics secured. Rules that are not put in place to be awkward, but that are there for our safety.

They will have all listened to the safety briefing from the crew, how many of us say we do that and actually pay attention on every flight we are on. Do we know where the emergency exits are? Will we sit still in the event of a fire like these passengers or will we scream, jump up and start running for our lives down the aisle?

In light of the crash, it’s crucial to remind ourselves of the importance of aircraft safety briefings – briefings are not mere formalities; they are lifelines.

Understanding why personal items need to be stowed properly is essential. In an emergency evacuation, every second counts. Cluttered aisles can be a major hindrance, potentially blocking escape routes and endangering lives. The recent incident underscores this point starkly, as quick and unhindered egress from the aircraft can mean the difference between life and death. That evacuation took just 90 seconds. How much longer would it have taken if there had been wheely bags in the way?

But perhaps the most underrated aspect of air travel is the role of the cabin crew. Often perceived merely as attendants serving refreshments and meals, their real purpose is far more critical. They are trained professionals, equipped with skills to save lives in crisis situations. The Japan Airlines tragedy brings this into sharp focus, highlighting how cabin crew members are the first responders when things go awry. Their instructions and actions during such emergencies are pivotal in ensuring passenger safety.

It’s time to change our perspective on safety briefings. They aren’t just a monotonous list of instructions; they are a carefully crafted set of guidelines designed to protect us. Each directive, from securing your seatbelt to noting the nearest exit, is a step towards ensuring our safety. Or ultimately our lives.

This recent unfortunate event is a stark reminder of the unpredictability of air travel and the importance of being prepared. Yes, it is the safest form of travel but these incidents, though rare, do happen. Listening attentively to safety briefings, understanding the role of cabin crew beyond customer service, and following their instructions can significantly impact the outcome of unforeseen events.

Let us honor the lives affected by the Japan Airlines crash by committing to be more attentive, respectful, and responsive during safety briefings. It’s a small gesture, but it carries immense importance – the importance of life itself.

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