Showing posts with label commercial aviation. Show all posts
Showing posts with label commercial aviation. Show all posts

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

All Cathay Pacific cabin crew may now work until age 55

Cathay Pacific AirwaysEffective immediately, all flight attendants at Cathay Pacific Airways will be able to continue working at the airline until they reach the age of 55. Until now, cabin crew who began working for Cathay Pacific after 1993 faced mandatory retirement at age 45. Those hired before 1993 were allowed to work until they became 55. Under the new rule, the same retirement age will apply for all, regardless of hire date. The rule applies to both male and female cabin crew.

The change reflects recent negotiations between the Cathay Pacific Airways Flight Attendants' Union and the airline's management. The rule change will affect the 5,000 cabin crew currently based in Hong Kong, and also will be applied to the 1,500 or so new-hires that Cathay Pacific intends to add to its work force by the end of this year.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Air Canada to lay off 632 flight attendants, close bases

Air CanadaAir Canada has informed its flight attendants' union of plans to lay off 632 cabin crew in the coming months. The layoffs of 9% of the carrier's flight attendants are a part of its Air Canada's capacity reduction plans, announced last month, which will result in cuts of up to 2,000 positions across all levels of the organization.

Air Canada officials said that 300 flight attendant positions will be eliminated from Vancouver, due to a decrease in international long-haul flights from that base. In addition, Air Canada will close its flight attendant bases at Winnipeg and Halifax as of November 1. As a result, 145 flight attendant jobs in Winnipeg, and 187 in Halifax will be lost. According to news reports, Air Canada may offer some flight attendants who are losing their jobs at those bases an opportunity to transfer to Toronto or Montreal.

Air Canada flight attendants are represented by the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE). An article about the Air Canada layoffs on the CBC News website quotes Lisa Vivian Anthony, president of CUPE Local 4090 in Halifax, who said, "We are shocked and we are in a state of disbelief. Our base has been in operation in Halifax for 32 years, so this is essentially the end of an era for us."

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Flight attendant union protests Midwest Airlines pay cuts

AFA-CWA logoLate last month I reported that Midwest Airlines not only intends to reduce its flight attendant work force by more than half, but is asking those who remain on the job to accept massive cuts in pay and benefits. These proposals have infuriated the flight attendants at Midwest Airlines, and rightly so, since they already earn 19 percent less than flight attendants at other low fare carriers.

Last evening the flight attendants publicly protested these draconian reductions in pay, but it was not just Midwest Airlines flight attendants who participated in the event. Hundreds of flight attendants from 20 carriers joined in the protest as a show of solidarity with the flight attendants of Midwest Airlines.

The flight attendants -- all members of the Association of Flight Attendants (AFA), the union that represents Midwest Airlines flight attendants -- formed up at the Hyatt Regency Milwaukee and held a candlelight march to the Midwest Center. There they heard remarks made by AFA-CWA International President Patricia Friend, AFA-CWA Midwest President Toni Higgins and a guest from the Milwaukee Central Labor Council.

The AFA leadership explains the situation that prompted this public protest:

In June, in order to offset rising fuel prices and a failed business plan, Midwest Airlines management hired an outside consulting firm, the Seabury Group, to present the flight attendants with a proposal that included furloughing half the work force, over 55 percent pay cuts for those remaining and additional slashes to current work rules. AFA-CWA was given the proposal without any supporting information or documentation and told that, if not accepted, management would have no choice but to file for bankruptcy. After repeated requests by AFA-CWA, management finally supplied background on the proposal, however the information provided was inaccurate and incomplete.

According to the Seabury Group's plan, the proposed Midwest flight attendant pay scale was compiled by taking the average pay rate of flight attendants from smaller carriers and reducing the average by 15 percent. However, as management continued to insist that the concessions were "fair and equitable" for all work groups, calculations for management and non-union employee concessions were based on average salaries at larger, more profitable mainline carriers such as Southwest and Delta.

AFA-CWA has notified management of its intent to negotiate, but not under the current proposed terms. In 2003, Midwest flight attendants took concessions to help the company avoid bankruptcy. Shortly after the concessionary contract was signed, management rewarded themselves with pay restoration and increases, while flight attendants and pilots continued to work under the reduced wages and work rules.
Currently, Midwest Airlines flight attendants earn between $17,000 and $39,000 annually. Should the airline management's proposed pay cuts be implemented, the flight attendants would earn only $13,000 to $25,000 per year.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

American Airlines cutting 900 flight attendant jobs

American AirlinesAt it annual shareholder meeting earlier this year, American Airlines announced plans to cut capacity in the coming months, and acknowledged that the capacity reduction would result in the loss of thousands of jobs across every work group. This week, the Association of Professional Flight Attendants (APFA), the union representing American Airlines flight attendants, was notified of plans to cut 900 flight attendant jobs.

According to the APFA, the letter to the union stated that the 900 most junior U.S. based flight attendants are subject to furlough effective August 31, 2008. Several measures intended to mitigate the impact of the work force reduction requirements have been negotiated between the APFA and American Airlines.

The first of these measures is called the Voluntary Bridge to Retirement (a program similar to one offered by United Airlines to its senior flight attendants last month). Under the provisions of the American Airlines Voluntary Bridge to Retirement, the company will offer a severance payment of $15,000, plus medical and pass benefits to flight attendants who are at least 50 years of age who will have at least 15 years company seniority as of August 31, 2008. In addition, American Airlines will offer Overage Leaves of Absence and opportunities for Partnership Flying, a job sharing plan.

A Hotline message on the APFA website about the work force reduction said that the one-time Voluntary Bridge to Retirement will be awarded first, followed by leaves at bases with an overage. Where overages then still exist, partnerships will be awarded. After these three voluntary provisions are exhausted, and should any overage still exist, the company will then determine how many flight attendants will need to be furloughed involuntarily in order to meet flight attendant work force reduction target of 900.

According to the flight attendants' contract with American Airlines, “When there is a reduction in force, the Flight Attendant(s) with the least system seniority shall be laid off." Presumably the majority of those would be the former TWA flight attendants, who also were furloughed after the September 2001 terrorist attacks. American Airlines recalled 200 of those furloughed flight attendants in May of 2007, and another 460 in August of 2007.

As of the end of June, there were still 1,192 American Airlines flight attendants on furlough from the earlier layoffs. This week's announcement of new furloughs surely comes as a blow to those who have been awaiting recall for years.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Continental Airlines flight attendants injured in turbulence

wptv.com - Mike Jachles/Broward Sheriff Fire Rescue On the afternoon of Monday, June 30, 2008, three Continental Airlines flight attendants were injured in flight during the cruise phase of a flight between Houston and Fort Lauderdale. The incident happened when Continental Flight COA1448, a Boeing 737-300 aircraft, encountered turbulence at 31,000 ft above the Gulf of Mexico.

The Sun-Sentinel identified the injured flight attendants as Newark-based crew, and reported that their injuries happened when they either fell or hit their heads. News reports, quoting Broward Sheriff Fire Rescue spokesman Mike Jachles, said that the injured flight attendants were first treated at the gate area after landing, and then taken to Broward General Medical Center for treatment of non-life threatening injuries. No passengers were injured in the incident.

[Photo Source]

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

79 year old Continental Airlines flight attendant retires

Ray Hope (pictured at right) made his final flight as a Continental Airlines flight attendant this past Friday. He thought it was time to retire; he will be 80 years old in August.

According to a Houston Chronicle article about Ray Hope, this is his second retirement. Before he became a Continental Airlines flight attendant 16 years ago, he had a 40 year career as a commercial photographer.

Mr. Hope, whose daughter has been a Continental flight attendant for 22 years, was in his sixties when he applied for the cabin crew job. He told the Houston Chronicle that he had "some good days and some bad days." But the experience taught him patience, he said.

"It's just a good experience of meeting people and communicating with them," Hope said. "I think it's the best choice I've ever made in my entire life. I wish I would have done it sooner."
He called being a flight attendant a "rewarding job" that he hated to give up, but he felt it was the right time to do so.

The almost-80 year old now plans to spend time with friends at a retirement community, making wooden toys for children in Child Protective Services. He jokes, though, about a possible third career as a Wal-Mart greeter.

The Houston Chronicle quoted Ray Hope's daughter, Diane Peckham, who said of her father, "He's not one to relax very easily. He's always one to do something."

Best wishes to Ray Hope for his retirement years.

[Photo Source]

Friday, June 27, 2008

Cathay Pacific Airways turbulence incident injures eight

Cathay Pacific Airways A330-300On Thursday, June 26, 2008, eight people on a Cathay Pacific Airways flight were injured when the aircraft encountered severe turbulence during its landing descent. The incident happened when Cathay Pacific Flight CX708 , an Airbus A330-300 with 241 passengers and 12 crew on board, was within minutes of landing at Hong Kong after a scheduled flight from Bangkok.

According to several news reports, five passengers and one flight attendant were treated at Princess Margaret Hospital hospital for minor injuries and released. Two other cabin crew members remained in the hospital with more serious injuries.

An article about the turbulence incident on AviationRecord.com quoted a statement from Cathay Pacific, which said that "Flight CX708 encountered the turbulence when the 'fasten seatbelt' sign had been illuminated about 12 minutes prior to landing." The captain sent a message about the incident, so that ambulances were waiting to transport the injured as soon as the aircraft landed.

[Photo Source]

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Midwest Airlines flight attendants call proposed concessions 'ludicrous'

Midwest AirlinesMidwest Airlines is seeking to reduce its flight attendant work force by more than half, and also wants those remaining on the job to agree to massive cuts in pay and benefits. This week the Seabury Group, an outside consulting firm hired by Midwest Airlines, presented this potentially devastating plan to the Association of Flight Attendants (AFA), the union representing Midwest's flight attendants. The union called the proposed concessionary package "ludicrous."

The plan proposes to cut 217 flight attendant positions, meaning over half of the Midwest Airlines flight attendants would lose their jobs. Those remaining would be asked to agree to hourly pay rate cuts ranging from 34 to 56 percent, plus other concessions that would reduce their income even further.

The union leadership calls the proposed plan "ludicrous" because Midwest Airlines flight attendants already earn 19 percent less than flight attendants at other low cost carriers. The AFA points out that the proposed Seabury plan included no supporting evidence to indicate that Midwest Airlines flight attendants' pay is too high.

In response to the proposed plan, Dory Klein, President of the Midwest Airlines unit of the AFA stated:

"This proposal is insulting, irrational, and fails to be fair and equitable. Midwest flight attendants are currently working under concessions that were negotiated five years ago in order for management to have the resources they needed to return our airline to profitability. Since that time, management has failed to create a viable business plan. It should be their responsibility to carry the burden of restructuring, not the flight attendants'.

"We have made repeated requests to review management and non-contract employee concessions, but have not received this information, which is particularly critical in light of what happened during our last round of concessions in 2003. Shortly after we took pay and work rule cuts, management gave themselves a pay increase and restored the concessions from all other non-union work groups."
The union leader said, "As we wait and see what the future holds for Midwest Airlines, we will continue to do everything we can to protect the careers of Midwest flight attendants."

Monday, June 23, 2008

JetBlue passenger behaves badly -- REALLY badly

Hardly a week goes by when there are no reports in the news about passengers behaving badly in flight (and we all know that many such stories never get reported by the press). A recent story about a disruptive passenger on a JetBlue flight seemed worse than most. Of course, as is so often the case, the incident centered on an intoxicated passenger.

JetBlue AirwaysOn June 17, 2008, a 35 year old woman passenger on JetBlue Flight JBU643 decided to smoke a cigarette during the transcontinental flight between New York (JFK) and San Francisco (SFO). She was seated in an exit row on the Airbus A320, and that is where she reportedly lit up.

When a flight attendant intervened, asking the woman to extinguish the cigarette, she allegedly became belligerent and abusive. She was forcibly moved to a seat away from the exit row and was restrained. In fact, she was restrained twice, since she managed to break free the first time. In the course of the altercation, the intoxicated passenger allegedly punched a JetBlue flight attendant in the jaw, and also shouted abusive language at him, including racial slurs.

The flight was diverted to Denver International Airport, where the belligerent woman was arrested. All the awful details of this incident can be found in the FBI affidavit posted on SmokingGun.com.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Uniform Update for Emirates Airline Cabin Crew

Emirates Cabin Crew uniformsLater this summer, Emirates Airline will take delivery of its first Airbus A380 'superjumbo' aircraft. To coincide with the introduction of the new flagship A380 into service, the airline's cabin crew will begin wearing updated uniforms, pictured here. An Emirates announcement about the uniform changes says that crew flying on the A380 will be the first to wear the new uniforms.

According to Emirates, the most noticeable elements of the new uniform for women include "beige piping detail on the new red hat, subtle red pin stripes throughout, more fitted, chic blouses and eye catching, red kick-pleats in the skirts." Men will wear a "chocolate brown suit, also featuring pinstripes, with a cream shirt and a caramel, honey and red tie."

Women cabin crew wear beige, while the dark uniform is for the purser. The photo above shows the concourse look. The second photo illustrates how the new uniform will be worn on board during in-flight service.

Emirates cabin crewTerry Daly, Emirates’ Divisional Senior Vice President, Service Delivery, said: “The Emirates uniform has been the same since 1997, with a few tweaks here and there. In this new design we have addressed style, comfort, the suitability for different climates – for cabin crew and ground staff – and managed to retain the iconic and instantly recognizable hallmark of our uniform worldwide.”

Mr Daly continued: "I'm immensely proud of the in-house team from Emirates who worked with UK based uniform supplier Simon Jersey plc. Using a catalogue approach with mix and match items, they have produced a superb uniform that can be adapted to suit different environments and climates. This is vital when the conditions on the ground for staff can vary from Sao Paulo in Brazil to Newcastle in England to Hong Kong in Asia."

[Photo Source]

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Details of the United Airlines Flight Attendant 'Early Out' Program

United AirlinesLast week, United Airlines announced plans to retire 100 aircraft, end its low-fare Ted service, and cut over 1,000 jobs. In conjunction with those plans, the airline announced that it will offer "a one-time opportunity for eligible flight attendants to voluntarily separate from the company." Known as the Early Out Program, the voluntary separations will be made available for up to 600 senior United flight attendants.

The United Airlines announcement about the Early Out Program summarizes:

Flight attendants who are at least 45 years old and have at least 15 years of flight attendant service with the company as of August 1, 2008 will be eligible to participate. Participants will be entitled to severance payments based on years of service and retiree travel benefits.
Sounds potentially attractive on the surface, but is this a good deal for senior flight attendants or not? The answer is, "It depends."

Mostly it depends on whether the flight attendant has another source of income to rely on, and access to affordable health insurance coverage.

The present Early Out Program is based on a collective bargaining agreement reached between United Airlines and the Association of Flight Attendants (AFA), the union representing United's flight attendants. The details of the Early Out Program have been made available on the public section of the website of the United Master Executive Council (MEC) of AFA:
  • Eligibility
    • Flight attendants aged 45 or greater, and with at least 15 years service are eligible for the Early Out.

    • Flight attendants aged 55 or greater, and with at least 15 years service are eligible for retirement, plus the Early Out.

  • Early Out Severance Pay will consist of $500 for each year of service as a Flight Attendant up to 25 years ($12,500 cap). Total pay is distributed in 12 equal installments beginning January 2009.
    • Example: 18 years of Flight Attendant service equals $9000. This would be paid out at $750 per month, before taxes, for 12 months.

  • Travel Benefits - retiree travel pass benefits provided for all Early Out participants.

  • Life Insurance will be provided only for those who enter retirement at the time of the Early Out.

  • Medical Insurance will be provided for those Early Out participants who also retire, but not to those who are too young to do so. The latter will be able "to purchase COBRA for continued medical coverage for 18 months at the full cost of the insurance and administration."
United Airlines flight attendants who meet the age and length of service criteria for the Early Out Program would have been employed by the airline prior to and during the carrier's recent bankruptcy period. That means that they had their company pension plans terminated in 2005. At that time, United Airlines defaulted on its pension obligations, and the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC) took over pensions for workers at the airline, including the flight attendants.

Federal regulations limit the amount of pension payments the PBGC can make -- an amount far less than the original pensions -- and by law, that amount is further reduced if the worker retires early, i.e., before age 65. As a result, many flight attendants at United have since felt that they had no practical choice but to continue working until their 65th birthdays. To do otherwise would put them in serious financial straits.

In light of that situation, it seems that the current Early Out Program will be attractive mostly to those who already have a substantial second income, or whose spouses' or partners' income and health care benefits are sufficient to support them.

Monday, June 9, 2008

New designer uniforms for Singapore Airlines male cabin crew

Singapore Airlines male cabin crew uniform tiesWhen Singapore Airlines male cabin crew begin wearing their new designer uniforms later this month, it will not be a hat that makes the man -- it will be the tie. Designed by veteran French fashion designer Christophe Galibert, artistic Director of Balmain Uniformes, the new look features a smart new single-breasted navy blue suit, worn with a sky blue shirt and a striped tie. It is the tie that will distinguish one crew position from another.

The new ties are pictured at right. Each color represents a different crew rank. From left to right:

  • Purple – Inflight Supervisor
  • Red – Chief Steward
  • Green – Leading Steward
  • Blue – Flight Steward
The designer, Mr. Galibert, said, "The entire Balmain team was thrilled to embark on the mission of designing the Singapore Airlines male cabin crew uniform and bringing to it our own international touch.

"In designing this new look, our main aim was to retain the legendary elegance of the Singapore Airlines male cabin crew but at the same time make it more consistent with the iconic creation of Mr Pierre Balmain’s sarong kebaya. Our challenge was, therefore, to find a matching smartness and unique sophistication for the male crew uniform."

Singapore Airlines male cabin crewThe sarong kebaya uniform worn by female cabin crew at Singapore Airlines also is a Balmain design. The colors of the new male cabin crew uniform, including the ties, were chosen to coordinate with the colors of the women's sarong kebaya.

Mr. Tan Pee Teck, Senior Vice President Cabin Crew at Singapore Airlines added, "The new uniform projects a smart and professional image and will instill a sense of pride in the crew. This is even more so since many of our crew members were themselves actively involved in the selection and fine-tuning of the design concept and colour scheme of the uniform."

The current male cabin crew uniform, consisting of grey pants and jackets in several colors, was designed by Lanvin in 1991. Male cabin crew at Singapore Airlines will begin wearing their new designer uniforms on June 30, 2008.

According to Singapore Airlines, the carrier currently employs 7,375 cabin crew members, of which almost 40% are male.

[Photo Source]

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

New pay agreement for Aeromexico flight attendants

Aeroméxico logoFlight attendants at Aeroméxico have agreed to a new pay and benefits package that includes a 4.5% raise. This amount was a compromise: earlier the airline had offered 4.25%, while the flight attendants initially had asked for a 5% raise in salary. The new pay package, announced on June 1, 2008, "will cut benefits like parking and dry cleaning payments and subsidized uniforms," according to a Reuters article about the agreement.

Privately owned Aeroméxico, the largest airline in Mexico, employs some 1,500 flight attendants. The flight attendants' union had threatened to strike if a new pay agreement had not been reached by June 1, 2008.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Flight attendant jobs with charter carriers

Omni Air International DC-10 tailMatt Keegan over at CabinManagers.com has posted his monthly hiring forecast for cabin crew positions. The June, 2008 report focuses on flight attendant job opportunities with charter carriers.

We all know that, given the current price of fuel and the downturn in the overall economy, many airlines are struggling to continue operating, and there are fewer and fewer scheduled carriers recruiting for cabin crew vacancies. In his article, Matt makes a good point about charter airlines:

One question that prospective candidates have in mind when working for a charter airline is this — are they stable enough to survive the ups and downs of the business? Though it is impossible to predict how any airline will perform long term, the advantage for a charter operator is that their increased costs (namely fuel) are passed on to the customers.

Unlike scheduled airlines who must hold the line on costs or risk losing business, the pressure for charter operators is a bit different — they still want to offer the best service at a decent price, but they can only do this by recouping their rising costs from their customers.
If you are interested in a career as cabin crew on a charter carrier, go and have a look at the new article about working for charter airlines on CabinManagers.com -- and good luck with your job search.

[Photo Source]

Friday, May 30, 2008

Flyglobespan cabin crew to have union representation

Unite logoUnite, the largest trade union within the Civil Air Transport Sector in the United Kingdom, has officially gained recognition as the collective bargaining unit for more than 200 cabin crew at the low fare airline Flyglobespan. In a statement released by Unite, national officer Brian Boyd described the deal as a 'breakthrough'. The union has been involved in a long campaign for recognition at Flyglobespan which has been resisted by the company for more than a year.

The union submitted an application to the Central Arbitration Committee (CAC) in December of 2007 for recognition for collective bargaining at Flyglobespan. The CAC now has declared that the union should be recognized by the employer to conduct collective bargaining on behalf of all UK based permanent cabin crew including senior cabin crew at the following airports: Glasgow, Edinburgh, Durham Tees, Exeter, London Gatwick, Doncaster/Sheffield, Newcastle, Birmingham and Belfast. Flyglobespan is headquartered at Edinburgh.

Mr. Boyd said, "This is a breakthrough for cabin crew employees at Flyglobespan. They have sought nothing more than the basic right to be heard in their workplace. They are a dedicated and professional group of workers, who have served passengers well in difficult circumstances.

"They are now entitled to be rewarded for their efforts with improved terms and conditions of employment. We will now be entering into discussions with the company, with the intention of establishing a positive relationship, and one that acts on the concerns of Flyglobespan's cabin crew."

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]