Saturday, October 2, 2010

The Communication Gap

Ever since Mr. Steven Slater made his spectacular exit, the  relationship between passengers and Flight Attendants (FA) has come under scrutiny, but precious little has been done about it. Well, The Crew Lounge a podcast hosted by two FAs Sara Keagle and Bobby Laurie that discusses current industry news, listeners' questions and other related topics are now on Daytime TV Show with a mission statement;

To bridge the communication gap between flight attendants and their passengers and therefore create a more pleasant inflight experience for everyone.

Indeed, life at 40,000 feet has changed especially since 9/11 in terms of security requirements and the rapid development of technology related to mobility and connectivity (mobiles and other related hi tech gadgets). 

Flying is a stressful experience for a lot of people, add to this long lines at security check points, new rules about the carriage of liquids, new rules about baggage and carry on luggage and you have frayed nerves. 
On the other hand you have the FAs, who not only have to cope with ensuring that the aircraft safety and security requirements are met, but with a few other unpopular tasks (restricted movement in the cabin and of course the infamous switch your mobile off for take off among others) and ensuring that the cabin is secured for an on time departure.

The industry as a whole have failed in the last few years to reach out to passengers and explain how things have changed and most importantly the implications of these changes. If your mobile is switched on during take off you are basically putting your life and everyone else in danger because of interference with electronic equipment or jokes about security, bombs etc. can cause aircraft diversions and can land one in trouble and indeed in a foreign jail. There is no time during the pre take off briefing to explain all this. This is something that has to be done systematically outside an aircraft.

Aviation is such that any small incident will be reported by the media and most of the time blown out of proportion. And while not all passengers and FAs are angels or devils, there will always be the odd incident that will hit the news big time to remind us that there is a communication gap that we need to bridge, each in his own way and capacity.

Kudos Sara and Bobby for taking the effort to bridge the gap.

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