The Role of Cabin Crew in Aircraft Safety Procedures

The Duty of Cabin Crew in Aircraft Safety Procedures


It is recognized by the aviation industry that, cabin crew is important to the safety and welfare of clients. This article illustrates the crew members’ safety role, and explains the crew members’ responsibility in aircraft safety.


The Crew members play an important role in the safety of the passenger aircraft. According to the legislative authorities of Aviation, such as ICAO1, it has set up the standards requiring a minimum of well-trained crew members who have met the safety requirements on every aircraft. They also make sure that the safety responsibility of crew members is their initiative.

2. The safety role of cabin crews

For instance, checking safety equipment, checking security, making sure passengers are seated correctly (with the belt fastened properly), giving safety presentation, indicating emergency exits with clear obstruction, stowing hand-baggage safely, securing galleys and work fields, observing passengers reactions, and all sides of the airplane are standard.

Especially in larger aircraft which carry the mass of passengers and longer travel distances, with more than 17 hours travelling time, the cabin crews’ role in passenger welfare and safety has tended to be significantly crucial.

These days, the air travel is now accessible to the public, including all age groups and all social levels. In this case, in terms of medical aspects, it is necessary for the crew members to have first aid skills, basic medical training is becoming essential for them. These kinds of skills are required of both short haul crew members and long haul cabin crews.

In regards to the area of airplane emergencies, such as crash landings, ditching, aborted takeoffs, decompressions and fire, and so on, the cabin crew members’ training, experience and ability tends to be more crucial for the survival of the heaps of passengers.

We will present a general picture of emergency circumstances and situations, which might happen on an airplane, in those circumstances, how cabin crew members are supposed to respond to them and we advise some solutions.

Federal Aviation Administration( Federal Aviation Administration Lessons Learned From Transport Airplane Accidents Home),

2.1 Failure of Decompression

According to FAA(Federal Aviation Administration) (2010)2, decompression failures happen when modern aircraft fly at altitudes which are too high to support human life. Failure of pressurization in the airplane shows various disasters according to speed of the loss. The loss of pressurization may lead to physiological effects of passengers in aircrafts from the very cold temperatures and not enough oxygen.

It can happen occasionally, when it occurs, cabin crew members must react immediately. Initially, they must get onto oxygen, getting to their own convenient supply of oxygen by the passenger drop-down masks. They have to stay still once on their supply of oxygen, waiting till the Captain tells them they can walk around safely. It needs to be under control. They must reinstate order and keep calm on board. They have to help those who are injured quickly, and those who have medical issues caused by the lack of oxygen. It is vital for them to coordinate with the Captain while the airplane has gone back to the level flight, as it is the securing of the cabin(Andreas, 1997).


2.2 Uncontrolled Fire

Of all accident threat categories, uncontrolled fire shows one of the most significant safety threats. It can threaten the aircraft and safety of the passengers during the flight operations, or after a crash. The threat is relevant to the fire and the related heat and smoke. An uncontrolled fire is normally caused by a source of ignition (for example, electrical arcing), and a considerable source of fuel (for instance, airplane fuel). The accidents caused by uncontrolled fire put forward the legislative authorities set up the standard of the safety requirement and policies relevant to the fire threats (FAA, 2010)3.

Once again, it can happen occasionally, Cabin crew need to be warned and aware of it all the time. When it happens, the cabin crew has to be warned and react fast and firmly beat out the fire. To accomplish this task, they need to have in-depth information of the equipment that is available to them, how to use them, the location of the nearest proper fire extinguisher, maybe gloves and masks. They should turn off electrical equipment, and shift the occupants away from the place which is on fire. They also need to cooperate with the flight deck. All those are vital to the safety of the occupants. After the fire is put out, they need to reestablish order in the flight, and keep serene, and comfort the occupants. In order to achieve the successful result, training, instruction, the correct equipment and exhaustive information of the tools are important to the crew cabin (Andreas, 19974).


2.3 Unpremeditated crash Landing/aborted takes off

Historically, take off or landing runaway excursion has caused heaps of high profile accidents.
It is caused by high energy departures from the end of the aircraft, or sides of runway during the aircraft take off or land, this kind of accident happens a lot of times, and has caused disastrous consequences. In regards to the runway excursion accidents, the aviation authority has created new standards on the aircraft operation and the certification requirements to reduce the occasions of runway excursions and diminish the hazardous results (FAA, 2010)5.

In this situation, the cabin crew needs to react quickly, combined with deep-depth information of the tools, equipment and procedures, and a capability to analyze the situation response accordingly. They must not open the exits where the structural damage exists, or where the fire hazard might threat the shift of passengers and cause the fire. Especially in a patently disastrous situation, cabin crew should be able to initiatively shift themselves, or start to shift when they are told by the flight deck or senior cabin crew member. Significantly, cabin crew should be capable to make sure passengers get out of the airplane as soon as possible, and assist them with affirmative support, directing them to stay away from the airplane and to collection fields where is appointed as the emergency services. In order to shift a large amount of passengers out of the aircraft successfully, it needs the cabin crew to be clam, self-controlled, professional, committed, and fearless and knowledgeable about the aircraft. To achieve this, training is crucial, and after the training, the cabin crew members should perform intuitively. “Seconds mean lives and the cabin crew are the lifeline” (p.415, Andreas)6.

Accident Threat Categories-take off or landing runaway excursion

2.4 Inadequate Safety Training

It is realized that insufficient ‘Safety Training’ of Cabin crew has caused passengers’ fatal accidents and suffering in non-fatal crashes. Most countries have set individual benchmarks of safety training, which can vary extensively.
No doubt that it is important for the cabin crew to receive proper training and regular practice, get familiar they cabin crew are with the aircraft type, the emergency exits, and the equipment available to them in order to fulfill their duties on board. And also, for that cabin crew who hold several aircraft type licenses, it is highlighted that they should work each type of aircraft in a regular amount of time, so they can get familiar with the differences in exits, stowage and equipment on different airplane types.

2.5 Miscommunication between cabin crew -CRM training

The consequence of many accidents is poor communication between crew members. Miscommunication between cabin crew and pilots happens, particularly when they hardly fly together for more than a couple of regions, more often, when cabin crew have been replaced on the same schedule.
It is strongly recommended that CRM training is crucial for both cabin crew and pilots. It is vital that flight deck and cabin crew communicate and understand each others duty, responsibility, and role on the airplane. In order to keep away from misunderstandings in stressful circumstances, it is crucial that both cabin crew and pilots have received the CRM training (FAA, 20107& Andreas, 19978).

Accident Threat Categories-CRM

2.6 A group of un-experienced cabin crews

It might be hard for a group of new cabin crew to react the emergency and they might not be familiar with the aircraft and situation. In the past, there have been incidents, when inexperienced crew members have misunderstood the importance of the situation: shacking, engine fires or unusual noises; however, if they have understood and reported, the disaster might be avoided. An important strategy to cope with the emergency situation is to mix the cabin crew with different age groups and experiences (Andreas, 19979).

2.7 Unsuitable uniforms-Authority

As the competition between airlines hot up, most airlines are willing to enhance their marketing and competitive advantage, pursuing ‘the better image’, through the most unsuitable uniforms for their cabin crew. In most situations, it is hard for the cabin crew to fulfill their duties to ensure passengers’ safety with the unsuitable uniforms. In the highest emergency situation, such as fighting fires, evacuating, and cold weather after evacuation, it might cause the crew injuries. The eventual results of the unsuitable uniforms which the crew members wear could contribute to loss of control and leading to loss of life and injuries in an emergency. Therefore, a sensible uniform, presents cabin crew as crew members, which is important.

3. Conclusion and Recommendations

As a global trend, it is realistic to have common safety benchmarks in aviation training, pursued and implemented by all airlines and legislative authorities. Crew Resource Management (CRM) has been taught to pilots and crew members to better combine human factors with the technical techniques for airline operations (FAA,2010& Andreas,199710). And also, CRM training should be conducted, coping with the survival and emergency procedure training together. As part of their training, the cabin crew are expected to have essential knowleage of cockpit management and theory of flight. All in all, ‘the safety role’ of cabin crew must always be the initiative. The cabin crew role in the field of aircraft emergencies must not be underestimated.


1. Andreas K. (1997) The responsibility of Cabin Crew in Aircraft Safety Procedures, in H.Sockkha(Ed.) Aviation Safty(pp.413-417) Utrecht, The Netherlands, 1997.

2. Federal Aviation Administration(2010)Lessons Learned From Transport Airplane Accidents Home
Federal Aviation Administration( Federal Aviation Administration Lessons Learned From Transport Airplane Accidents Home)

Want to know more?

1. Federal Aviation Administration( Federal Aviation Administration Lessons Learned From Transport Airplane Home): Federal Aviation Administration Lessons Learned From Transport Airplane Accidents Home

2. Accident Threat Categories: Accident Threat Categories

3. CRM CRM definition

4. International Civil Aviation Organization. Human Factors Digest: about Human Factors documents ICAO: Human Factors documents

5. ICAO: ICAO Definication
6. ICAO:ICAO homepage
7. FAA webpage
8. [[]]: Photoes of Aviation Disasters

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Authors / Editors

Alice LiuAlice Liu

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