An emergency can be described as any abnormal situation that may endanger the safety of the aircraft, its crew and passengers. This is exactly what happened to United Flight 328, Boeing 777-200 that was bound for Honolulu, however shortly after takeoff from Denver on Saturday (20.Feb.21) suffered an engine failure. The pilots operating the Aircraft managed to return to Denver and land safely. Reports say that there were 231 passengers and 10 crew members on board. All are thankfully safe and no injuries on board the flight have been reported. It is important to mention that the National Transportation Safety Board and the FAA are investigating this incident. Therefore this blog will not be elaborating the causes for the incident. I will elaborate the part that is concern for the Cabin Crew aspirants and that is: What do Cabin Crew do in scenarios like this?
Before we dive into our subject, it is of utmost importance to know that every emergency situation is unique. What do I mean by saying this? Simply, no instructions can cover all possible emergency situations nor it is possible to detail the precise steps to follow in each situation. However, important parameter is that most emergencies can be dealt with more easily when recognized at an early stage. In the aviation literature, we classify the emergencies into two categories: planned an unplanned. Planned emergency mainly arises during the cruise phase of the flight where the crew have enough time to brief the passengers and prepare the cabin for an emergency landing and possible evacuation. On the other hand, the unplanned emergency arises during take-off, approach and landing where the crew do not have time to brief the passengers and prepare the cabin. The unexpected incident deems it necessary to immediately land/stop the aircraft and also may require an evacuation. It is important to know that not all emergency situations lead to an evacuation of the aircraft. The one that happened to United 328, certainly lead to evacuation as it was an engine fire.
After reading this two definitions, it is not hard to guess that what actually happened to United 328 was actually a unplanned emergency cause it happened during climbing, at approximately 13 000 feet, the time when the Aircraft stopped climbing and the crew requested to return to Denver. Guided from my 10 years of experience and knowledge as Cabin Crew, in the Airline where I was working, we usually were released to start our in flight duties somewhere at 10 000 feet. If this was the case over here, the Cabin Crew must have been out from their seat, however if an instruction from the flight crew has not been given (usually the seat belt sigh is recycled), than they might be still on their seat. As discussed previously, a time to prepare the cabin for an emergency landing has not been sufficient, however since we have a situation that creates a lot of panic among the passengers, as we can see from the pictures, the cabin crew must have observed a lot of fear and panic among the passengers. It is absolutely understandable as that is a life threatening situation. I can not elaborate the procedure whether the Cabin Crew have entered the flight deck and got briefed by the Captain, but my experience says that there can not be time for that. The Flight Deck crew at those moments must have been dealing with the situation and could not give more information to the Cabin Crew. However, the Cabin Crew knew that it was an engine fire as that could have been seen. What also I can not elaborate is who saw the engine fire first. The Cabin Crew or the passengers. But what is very sure over here, whoever has saw it, has ensured that the Cabin Crew informed the Flight crew immediately.
In emergency scenarios, it is of utmost importance that the Cabin Crew are prepared to deal with any emergency situation that may occur during any phase of the flight. Cabin Crew must remain calm, organized and issue clear and concise instructions. A crew member’s attitude, good judgement, initiative and thorough knowledge of emergency procedures play a vital role in successfully handling emergencies.
If we take a look at the outcome from this scenario and the most important fact that all crew and passengers were safe, we can conclude that the Cabin Crew have ensured that procedures were stickily follows when securing the cabin before take-off as they were required to execute an evacuation shortly after take-off.
So what did the Cabin Crew do in this scenario? My understanding says that they ensured everyone is seated with their seat belts fastened, their tray table have been stowed, the overhead bins have been all closed, the exit rows were free of items, ABPs(Able Bodied Passengers) were seated accordingly. Lavatories have been empty and locked, aisles have been free and all window shades have been opened. Yet, this is just my understanding as I do not know if the Cabin Crew stood up from their seats and did they showed the brace positions to the passengers. I do not know did they had the time for that. I think not, yet the official report will tell us the right information. What is important to highlight is that prior to every flight, all the Airlines in the World conduct something called Safety Demonstration. And scenarios like this are unfortunately, a statement confirmation that we all should take a moment and remind ourselves that we need to alway pay attention to the same before we fly.
I hope that you have liked this blog. Do share all your questions in a comment bellow.
Yours sincerely, https://www.instagram.com/excrewnextcrew/ by Julia George