Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Malaysia Airlines cabin crew win award

Malaysia Airlines cabin crewWhich airline has the world's best cabin crew? According to the results of a recent poll of passengers worldwide, Malaysia Airlines cabin crew were rated number one.

The poll, known as the World Airline Survey, is conducted annually by London-based Skytrax Research. The winners in each category receive a World Airline Award.

A New Straits Times article about the cabin crew award quoted Malaysia Airlines managing director and chief executive officer Datuk Idris Jala, who said he was very proud of the cabin crew and their outstanding performance.

"Our crew treat our customers as guests in our own home. They are natural, spontaneous and willing to demonstrate the best of Malaysian hospitality," said Idris in a statement.
Congratulations to all the Malaysia Airlines cabin staff for winning this award.

[Photo Source]

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Abusive Frontier passenger is indicted

Frontier Airlines plane at DENA woman accused of repeatedly hitting her children during a Frontier Airlines flight between San Francisco and Denver last week has been indicted by a federal court. Tamera Jo Freeman, 38, was indicted on two counts of assault on a child under 16 and one count of interfering with a flight attendant.

Freeman was traveling with her two year old son and four year old daughter on Frontier Airlines Flight 108 on July 16, 2007. ABC 7 News in Denver reports what happened during the flight:

According to her arrest affidavit, witnesses said Freeman was slapping and punching the children on their legs, shoulders and knees and that the children were crying and cowering on the floor.

She was using profane language, appeared intoxicated and had been drinking heavily on the flight, witnesses said.

When passengers alerted the flight attendant, the attendant intervened and Freeman told her to "mind her own business and provide her another alcoholic beverage," according to the affidavit.

When she was denied more alcohol, Freeman allegedly threw a drink on the floor and confronted the flight attendant in a common area.

The affidavit said Freeman became verbally abusive toward the flight attendant and the flight attendant had to took a defensive stance.

Freeman went back to her seat but the attendant requested that a corrections officer who was a passenger on the plane sit next to Freeman.

The attendant then grabbed duct tape and had to stand next to Freeman for the remainder of the flight to prevent her from causing further problems, according to the affidavit.
According to witness reports, Freeman's abusive behavior toward her children was evident even before they boarded the flight. They said that Freeman appeared to be intoxicated and violent towards her children while still in the gate area at the departure station.

Freeman reportedly told investigators that she had slapped her children because they were fighting over a window shade and because they had spilled her drink. She denied throwing a drink, saying she had set it down on the floor on the aisle, but she did admit that she "lost it" during the incident.

According to press reports, Freeman's children have been placed in the custody of family members in California. The judge has ordered that Freeman herself remain in custody at a jail in Jefferson County, Colorado. She faces a penalty of up to 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine for the interference charge, and up to one year in prison and a $100,000 fine for each count of assault.

[Photo Source]

Monday, July 23, 2007

Air Namibia cabin crew protest long work hours

Air NamibiaCabin crew at Air Namibia have petitioned their country's Ministry of Works to protest the long hours they say the airline is forcing them to work -- sometimes 48 hours at a stretch. They claim that current schedules do not give them enough time to rest between trips, and that safety is being compromised as a result.

Members of the Namibian Cabin Crew Union (NCCU) said that they took this formal action after their employer, Namibia's national flag carrier, would not listen to their concerns. NCCU claims that cost-cutting measures at Air Namibia have resulted in crews flying more hours, with a reduced number of crew members on board each flight.

An article on the AllAfrica.com news website quotes Ellaine Muinjo, President of the Namibian Cabin Crew Union, who said that Air Namibia crew do not get enough time for rest and this affects their performance. "There is no space for fatigue or mistakes. Should Air Namibia have one airline crash, then it is over for Air Namibia. As the frontline staff and the last ones to deal with Air Namibia's passengers who pay our salaries, we cannot jeopardize their safety," Muinjo said.

Air Namibia spokesman Ellison Hijarungu disputes the contentions of the cabin crew, claiming that crew rosters are optimally planned and managed.

Hijarunguru said crew flying on intercontinental routes such as Windhoek to London get an average rest of three and half hours in a specially designed and isolated crew rest area.

Once they reach their destination, he said, they are booked into upmarket hotels to rest for a minimum of 12 hours.

He said upon returning home the same crewmembers get three to four days off before their next flights.

"It remains a simple fact that no Air Namibia crew member has flown or operated and will operate for 48 hours before retiring for the mandatory rest at any given time," Hijarunguru said.
The NCCU president disagrees, saying that crew operating on overseas routes are on duty for at least 13 hours and rest "a few hours" before heading back in the opposite direction.

A related article about the Air Namibia cabin crew protest on Afriquenligne, mentioned the concern among crew members that compromising safety standards could ultimately result in the Air Namibia being blacklisted in markets such as the European Union (EU).

Air Namibia is wholly owned and operated by the Namibian government.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Lufthansa's economy 'Sleepers Class' idea for long-haul routes

Get a load of this: German flag carrier Lufthansa is exploring the idea of an all-sleeper configuration for economy-class cabins on long-haul flights, according to an article on FlightGlobal.com. The airline reportedly has sent an email survey to some customers asking their opinion about this concept:

The airline has generated a conceptual image of the proposed ‘Sleepers Class’ cabin, showing a possible arrangement featuring fully lie-flat bunks stacked three-high in a herringbone layout on either side of the cabin, with additional berths in a wide central aisle.

Star Alliance member Lufthansa is considering the sleeper-cabin for specific intercontinental services – possibly overnight flights, such as those to Johannesburg, Sao Paulo and Shanghai – although the carrier says that it has not progressed to the stage of examining potential specific routes.

Under the scheme a passenger would opt to book a bed for the flight rather than a regular economy-class seat. It is unclear whether the beds would convert from a seating layout.

A spokeswoman for Lufthansa confirms that the airline is formally looking into the idea, and running a customer survey, although she adds: “Of course there’s no final decision yet. There are, as such, no certain plans whether or not to realise an idea like this.”
Looks sorta like an airborne bunkhouse or hostel to me. Would passengers like to be stowed on multiple layers like that? It might add a whole new dimension to all the jokes about pax as 'SLF' (Self-Loading Freight).

I have to admit that one of the first thoughts that popped into my head when I saw the photo was what the implications would be for an emergency evacuation. Other safety-related questions come to mind as well. Do the berths convert to upright seats for takeoff and landing? And what if a passenger fell from an upper berth during turbulence?

What do you think?

[Photo Source]

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Air Tahiti Nui cabin crew suspended for alleged drug smuggling

Air Tahiti Nui has suspended more than 30 cabin crew who are suspected of being involved with drug smuggling. Australian travel industry website e-Travel Blackboard reports that police in Tahiti said they had evidence that the employees were smuggling drugs into French Polynesia:

According to police, a number of Air Tahiti’s cabin crew bought large quantities of cannabis, ecstasy and cocaine on stopovers in the United States. These drugs were later resold in French Polynesia for up to 15 times the original purchase price.

Out of the 100 employees that were questioned by police, 33 are due to appear in court at Papeete in September.
Another article about the drug smuggling investigation published yesterday in the Sydney Morning Herald notes that "no pilots or technical staff were alleged to have taken part in the smuggling."

Air Tahiti Nui provides long-haul service between Tahiti and locations in Japan, France, Australia, New Zealand, and the U.S. The airline is certified under the French Civil Aviation Authority.

[Photo Source]

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Passenger indicted for assault on AirTran flight attendant

A woman passenger allegedly assaulted several passengers and a flight attendant yesterday on AirTran Flight 904 while it was en route from Atlanta to Newport News with 116 passengers and a crew of five. TV station WAVY identifies the alleged assailant as Florida resident Valjean Marguriet, and reports that she was indicted earlier today by a federal grand jury on one count of interference with a flight attendant, a felony, and two counts of misdemeanor assault.

According to court documents, during the flight, Marguriet assaulted a fellow passenger by grabbing and shaking her arm. Marguriet also struck a flight attendant in his face and interfered with his duties.
WAVY quoted Marsha Johnson, a passenger who had been sitting next to Ms. Marguriet on the plane.
She says the woman was perfectly fine and friendly, at first, but a few gin an tonics and the woman began to change. "I could see the alcohol getting to her. As we talked, the mood changed," Johnson recalls it changed for the worse.

"She just all of a sudden went off the handle," and Johnson it got worse when the lady started yelling, "well she called me a man. You're a man, You're a man!" Johnson says the woman shouted, just before she hit her several times. "She grabbed my arm," commented Johnson.

Flight attendants rushed to help Johnson and others who were hit by the woman. "They tried to talk to the lady, she would not be subdued, so the attendants restrained her," said passenger Donna Hypse. She says the woman's behavior made everyone very uncomfortable and even frightened some passengers, but the flight attendants had the situation under control. "they were outstanding. They controlled the situation. we never felt in danger," said Hypse.
The unruly passenger was arrested when the flight arrived at Newport News.

If convicted, Marguriet could be sentenced to a maximum of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine for the felony interference charge, as well as 6 months in prison and fines of $5,000 for each assault charge.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Northwest flight attendants say Steenland must go

Flight attendants at Northwest Airlines are calling for the resignation of the airline's President and CEO, Douglas Steenland. Late last week the Association of Flight Attendants (AFA) released a statement to the press declaring that "severe staffing shortages, record flight cancellations, low employee morale and outraged customers are the direct result of poor management by Steenland."

How low is moral among Northwest flight attendants? AFA reports that a poll of Northwest flight attendants, conducted by the Wilson Center for Public Research, revealed that 89% of respondents describe their view of NWA management as "mostly negative" or "very negative."

"Northwest flight attendants sacrificed 40 percent in pay, work rules and benefits cuts and are 20 percent more productive, all in an effort to ensure the survival of Northwest Airlines," said [Northwest AFA MEC President Kevin] Griffin. "In return for our investment, Mr. Steenland pocketed a lucrative compensation package and has mismanaged our airline. It's insulting to flight attendants that he remains employed."
Mr. Griffin sent a letter to the Northwest Board of Directors on behalf of the 8,000 flight attendants he represents, expressing their lack of confidence in the airline's management. Accompanying that letter was a formal resolution calling for Steenland's resignation.

[Photo Source]

Friday, July 6, 2007

Emirates recruiting cabin crew worldwide

Emirates Airlines, based in Dubai, is the fastest growing airline in the world. According to a recent article in the International Herald Tribune about Emirates' expansion plans, the airline will take delivery of one new Boeing or Airbus plane a month for the next five years. Among these will the 55 super-jumbo A380s that have been ordered.

All of this rapid expansion means increased job opportunities for crew at Emirates. If you are thinking about seeking employment as cabin crew with a large international carrier, you may want to consider Emirates. In order to qualify, you must have at least a high school education, and have fluency in both written and spoken English. You must be at least 21 years of age at the time of application. All Emirates cabin crew are based in Dubai.

This month Emirates will be holding recruitment sessions in Argentina, Australia, Bahrain, Brazil, Egypt, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Mauritius, Singapore and Slovakia. Visit the Cabin Crew page of the Emirates recruiting website for more information, or to submit your application on line.

[Photo Source]

Thursday, July 5, 2007

Two Southwest F/As injured by inflight turbulence

Two Southwest Airlines flight attendants and a passenger were injured earlier this week when the B737 aircraft they were on encountered inflight turbulence. The incident happened on July 2, 2007 aboard Southwest Flight 1527 which was en route from Tampa to Fort Lauderdale with 76 passengers and five crew members aboard.

According to an Associated Press article about the turbulence incident, published by Forbes.com, reported that paramedics examined the injured people after the aircraft landed at the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport. The passenger was examined and released, while the flight attendants were taken to a local hospital. One flight attendant had an injured ankle, and the other injured her shoulder.

The FAA preliminary report about the incident described the injuries as "minor" and noted that there was no damage to the aircraft.

Monday, July 2, 2007

FMLA protection for flight attendants

Recently, a bill that would allow flight attendants to provide care for ailing family members without risking their jobs was introduced in Congress. The proposed legislation ( H.R. 2744) is known as the Airline Flight Crew Family and Medical Leave Act, and is sponsored by Congressman Tim Bishop (D-NY).

According to the Association of Flight Attendants (AFA), the original Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), which was passed into U.S. law in 1993, has excluded many airline workers from the FMLA protections enjoyed by every other full time working person in the United States by failing to take into consideration the unique nature of airline workers’ hours. The new legislation amends the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 (FMLA) so that flight crew members who have been paid for or completed 60% of their company's monthly hour or trip guarantee, annualized over a 12-month period, will be eligible for FMLA benefits.

The AFA is asking its members to voice their support for this important new legislation to their representatives in Congress. The union has set up a web page where you can fill in a form to send a message to your representative. Click here for more information and to voice your support for the Airline Flight Crew Family and Medical Leave Act.