Tuesday, May 20, 2008

New Dance Craze: Flight Attendants Do the Safety Briefing

A little Tuesday morning fun from YouTube:

(If the video does not play or display properly above, click here to view it on YouTube.)

Monday, May 19, 2008

Woman who assaulted Horizon Air flight attendant is sentenced

Horizon Air logoA woman who assaulted a Horizon Air flight attendant during a flight last August has been sentenced by the U.S. District Court in Seattle. The assailant, identified as Krista Bauer, 23, of Hanford, CA, had pleaded guilty earlier this year to interfering with a flight crew member. An additional assault charge was then dropped.

Bauer was sentenced to 96 days in custody, three years of supervised release and 200 hours of community service. In addition, Bauer was ordered to undergo mental-health and substance-abuse treatment and write letters of apology to Horizon Air and the flight attendant she assaulted, according to a Seattle Times news article about the sentencing.

The incident happened on Aug. 25, 2007, on a Horizon Air flight between Seattle and Billings, MT. According to news reports, Bauer was traveling to Billings to attend her sister's funeral.

Bauer flew from California to Portland, and then to Seattle to catch a connecting flight to Billings, where she was to make funeral arrangements and find care for the dead woman's children. Bauer admitted she drank several glasses of wine on an empty stomach. She said she remembered nothing else until she woke up in the psychiatric ward at Harborview Medical Center the following day.

According to court records, Bauer left her seat on the plane, which was carrying 36 passengers, and walked up the aisle toward the flight deck. A flight attendant told her to return to her seat, which is when Bauer said, "If anyone is going to die tonight, it'll be you," and grabbed the attendant in a headlock. Other passengers had to restrain her, and the flight returned to Sea-Tac.
In addition to her legal sentence, Bauer has been banned from flying on Horizon and its parent airline. An attorney for Horizon told Bauer in court: "You are not welcome on any Horizon Air and Alaska Airlines flight. Should you purchase a ticket, you will be barred from boarding the flight."

Friday, May 16, 2008

Flight attendant allegedly sets fire to aircraft lavatory

newspaper iconThis is just mind boggling: Remember the recent story about the in-flight fire in a lavatory on a Compass Airlines plane? It turns out that one of the flight attendants working the flight allegedly set the fire intentionally.

When the news broke yesterday I couldn't believe it. I thought it was a sensationalized rumor. But now the Associated Press is reporting that not only has the young man been arrested, but he also has confessed to the FBI that he started the fire. In fact, he made his first court appearance yesterday, and has been ordered held without bail.

The AP article, citing court documents as a source, claims that the 19-year old flight attendant "told authorities he was upset at the airline for making him work the route." He brought a lighter on board the flight he was working. The lighter was later found inside an overhead bin. Court documents say that as "he was preparing his cart to serve the passengers, he set the cart up, went back to the lavatory and reached in with his right hand and lit the paper towels with the lighter."

A short time later an indicator was activated on the flight deck, showing smoke near the rear lavatory. A pilot alerted the flight attendant to check the lavatory. Both flight attendants then used fire extinguishers to put out the fire. Yes, that's right -- the flight attendant who allegedly started the fire then had a heroic role in extinguishing it.

The aircraft, which had been en route from Minneapolis to Regina, Saskatchewan, diverted to Fargo for an emergency landing. Fortunately no one on board the aircraft was injured.

The thoughtless bonehead flight attendant has been formally charged with setting fire aboard a civil aircraft. If convicted, he faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Cabin fumes cause Air Canada flight diversion

Air Canada A321-200Earlier this week, an Air Canada flight en route from Vancouver to Ottawa diverted to Winnipeg due to what news reports variously referred to as smoke or "an electrical odor" inside the aircraft's cabin. The incident occurred on Monday, May 12, 2008, on board an Airbus A321-200 aircraft, operating as Air Canada Flight ACA138. The aircraft made a safe emergency landing at Richardson International Airport in Winnipeg.

The Winnipeg Sun quoted an Air Canada official who said that one flight attendant required medical attention after breathing in fumes. No one else was injured. The incident was attributed to "a malfunction in the electrical system." Other news reports specified that the fault was in a fan motor.

[Photo Source]

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Flight attendants fight in-flight fire on Northwest Airlink regional jet

Compass Northwest AirlinkA fire broke out in a lavatory on a Compass Airlines Embraer 175 regional jet, operating as Northwest Airlink Flight CPZ 2040 between Minneapolis-St.Paul and Regina, Saskatchewan on the evening of May 7, 2008. The aircraft diverted to Fargo, North Dakota, where it landed safely. The 72 passengers and four crew members on board were not injured.

According to news reports about the incident, the flight attendants reacted quickly to extinguish the fire. They donned Protective Breathing Equipment (PBE) [smoke hoods] and used fire extinguishers to control the fire , which was in a lavatory in the rear of the aircraft. They also moved passengers forward to an area where the smoke was not as heavy, and prepared the cabin for the emergency landing.

An article about the incident in the Calgary Herald quoted passengers who were on the flight. One man said:

"I heard the commotion, turned around. (There was) a lot of smoke, a lot of people looking really terrified. The next thing you know, the last probably eight or nine rows were running to the front of the plane because of the smoke. Next thing you know they were all sitting in the laps of the people up front ... (A flight attendant) came on (the intercom) and said, 'Electrical fire and we're going to be making an emergency landing.'"
Another passenger said:
"One of the attendants had on big headgear or something and was yelling and running up and down the aisle. Some people were getting up (to help) and they were yelled at and (told) to sit down, put their seat belts on, stay sitting ... We just kept declining fast. I was thankful the pilot, he was great. He went right down, he got us there quick."
According to various news reports, crew members and passengers were interviewed by local police and FBI agents at Fargo's airport. The cause of the fire is still being investigated. The aircraft has been taken out of service.

[Photo Source]

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Etihad Airways receives award for best cabin crew

Etihad Airways cabin crewEtihad Airways has been voted "airline with the best cabin staff" at this year’s Business Traveller Middle East awards. The Abu Dhabi based carrier also won for "airline with the best economy class."

In a news release announcing the awards, Geert Boven, Etihad Airways’ executive vice president sales and services, said: "It is a tremendous honour for Etihad Airways to win two Business Traveller Middle East awards, especially when you consider that the airline is still relatively young and has only been in operation for four years.

"Etihad is extremely proud to be voted the 'airline with the best cabin staff' because the cabin crew are the public face of the airline and play such an important role in serving our customers."

The award is based on the opinions of thousands of readers of Business Traveller magazine. Congratulations to Etihad Airways and the Etihad cabin crew.

[Photo Source]

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Air Jamaica flight attendants awarded retroactive pay for their work on the ground

Air Jamaica cabin crewFlight attendants who worked for Air Jamaica between 2003 and 2005 are going to be paid retroactively for duties they carried out on the ground before and after flights, according to a recent news item on Radio Jamaica. The payments were awarded by an Industrial Disputes Tribunal (IDT) ruling handed down in February this year, following a five-year dispute between the airline and its cabin crew.

The article quoted President-General of the Bustamante Industrial Trade Union (BITU) Kavon Gayle, who said, "[Payments will be made] beginning this month, May and June...this payment will also be made to flight attendants who have left the company and those whose positions were made redundant in 2005 bearing in mind that the payments are retroactive from 2003 to 2005."

More than 500 flight attendants will receive retroactive special duty allowances that Air Jamaica failed to pay them for duties carried out before and after flights.

The premise of this case is similar to another I wrote about last month. In that case a flight attendant sued Israeli carrier Arkia Airlines for pay she says is owed her for work she did while on the ground. Two cases don't exactly make a trend, but these disputes do call attention to the widespread practice of not compensating flight attendants for work they do on the ground before and after flights, much of which is directly related to flight safety. Kudos to the Industrial Disputes Tribunal for their decision in the Air Jamaica case.

[Photo Source]

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Flight attendant hiring forecast for May, 2008

Emirates cabin crewLast month I wrote an article here on Cabin Crew News about a useful website for those seeking work as flight attendants. That website, CabinManagers.com, is run by Matt Keegan, someone I have known for quite awhile. Matt has been involved in the aviation community for a long time, and I know he keeps his finger on the pulse of the industry as well as anyone can in these tumultuous times.

In April, Matt launched a new monthly hiring forecast feature on CabinManagers.com to provide up-to-date information, identifying cabin crew hiring trends in major markets around the world. The May 2008 Hiring Forecast was posted to the website today. The guidance provided by this monthly forecast feature is particularly welcome these days. With so many carriers filing for bankruptcy protection or going out of business altogether, it is important to choose a financially healthy employer.

Highlighted in the section on where to look for work are Etihad Airways and Emirates Airlines, two growing international carriers based in the Middle East that are currently recruiting cabin crew. Also mentioned were Virgin Atlantic, and the all-premium class carrier Silverjet.

To understand just how timely this information is, you only need to look at a few recent news headlines. For example, while premium-class trans-Atlantic carrier Eos ceased operations just days ago due to financial difficulties, its competitor, Silverjet, just announced an investment pledge of $100 million -- good news indeed. Meanwhile, Emirates just reported record profits in its annual report, released yesterday. The Chairman and CEO of Emirates Group commented, "As we plan for the next decade, our biggest challenges will be to find more pilots, engineers, cabin crew and skilled staff across our various business units."

In addition to news about which airlines are hiring cabin crew, CabinManagers.com also has a wealth of useful information, such as résumé advice and interviewing tips for prospective flight attendants. It's all free, too, so go and have a look.

[Photo Source]