Every time we fly, flight attendants recite the same line. “Your seat should be in its upright and locked position and your tray table closed,” etc. But I’m not really sure why we have to follow these instructions during landing and take-off.
So I decided to visit Maryhop, a friend of mine who is a travel blogger and also a flight attendant to answer some questions for me. I arrive in Ampelokipous at Maria’s Kalymnou new office (The VIP Excellence) where she will explain the reasons why we have to follow these security regulations to me.
– Maria, what exactly are you doing here?
– I have created a career center in Athens that’s been operating for six months now where I help people who want to enter the aviation field. I organize seminars for VIP flight attendants, as I’ve been in this field for the past 10 years. They are the only seminars of this kind in Greece and even in the rest of Europe these kind of seminars are rare. Apart from that, I provide counseling for anyone who wants to build their resume or prepare for an interview with a major airline.
– So, can you explain what the deal with flight security regulations is?
– As a flight attendant, you learn from the beginning of your training one rule; that the aircraft must be evacuated within 90 seconds, so all security regulations and procedures are based on this. Our tray tables must be closed and our seats upright as, when there is nothing blocking passengers’ attempt to exit, the evacuation takes place faster. So that is why we restore everything, to make room, even in the aisles, so that passengers can get out fast.
Why do flight attendants ask us to open the blinds during the landing and take-off?
– Passengers should be able to assist the crew in case of an evacuation of the aircraft, so they must have a general sense of the external environment, as well as the environment of the cabin, and the reason that the crew request that we roll up the window shades during take off and landing is for passengers to be able to see outside and inform the crew if something goes wrong, or if something should be reported to the captain, who has no visual contact of the engines or the wings. Also, this is why we turn off the cabin lights during landing and take-off during night flights, because our eyes should get used to the dark and if we need to evacuate the aircraft at night, this should also be done very quickly, and this gets us ready for this kind of a situation.
– And what about electronic devices?
– As regards electronic devices, the reason we ask passengers to disable them during take-off and landing is because they can sometimes interfere with the cockpit control system, so devices that use a mobile network and/or WiFi must be avoided. The second reason is to prevent us from being distracted during the demonstration of the survival equipment, so that we are able to pay attention to what the crew is showing us and not watch a movie or listen to music. The same goes for headphones, they ask us to take them off so that we are able to pay attention to the safety instructions, but the main reason is because passengers must hear the sounds of the aircraft in order to inform the crew if something goes wrong.
– Why do all flight attendants have their hair tied back?
– The reason that flight attendants have their hair up is because of hygiene rules, as they come into contact with food and drink, but also for aesthetic reasons because many companies want to show a clean face and well groomed hair.
– And why is this profession dominated by women?
– I think it’s in a woman’s nature to pamper and take care more than men, and this profession requires a very high level of service and customer care. And when this profession started there was a big contribution by women. However in recent years, we have seen many men choose this career. But they are not called air stewards anymore, they are called flight attendants.