After any airline incident, flight attendants take on an even more crucial role. In the wake of the Germanwings tragedy, it is no different. Passengers want to know they are safe. As we carry on with continually-booked flights, it makes sense that we look to airlines and flight attendants to make us feel better. Here is what flight attendants everywhere would like you to know:
1. Flying is still safe.
We flight attendants know that we are all safer in the sky than in a car, and we know flying is still one of the safest modes of transportation. Do your own research and see. (If you look up car accident statistics compared with aviation accidents, you may actually become afraid of driving!) Another tool that eased my mind is Flight Aware, which allows you to view aircraft traffic around any airport. You will be amazed at how many airplanes are flying around that one airport, putting the sheer number of safe flights in perspective.
2. The media doesn't necessarily reflect our views.
One thing that needs to be addressed is that the media can sometimes compromise our security! Time and time again, more than a few reporters and news outlets disclose what is supposed to be secured information. We all need to stay vigilant. Publicizing airline security measures to boost ratings is not ok. Flight attendants would like the media to respect the boundaries of our security measures and not disclose this information to the public.
3. There are ways to calm your fear of flying.
Flight attendants are a family no matter the uniform, and any airline tragedy is devastating to us. Our hearts go out to our brothers and sisters at Germanwings, and our hearts hurt too. This incident causes flight attendants anxiety just like anyone else. In the U.S. most airlines thankfully have resources like the Employee Assistant Program (EAP) to help when needed. If you have fears about an upcoming flight, then practice a news fast before an upcoming trip, meditate before travel, and look to your flight attendants for reassurance. A book I always recommend is Gavin De Becker's The Gift of Fear. This book does much to empower you and helps you differentiate true fear from ongoing anxiety.
4. And we're doing our best to make flights safe, too.
Flight attendants work to not become complacent. Flight attendants attend mandatory training once a year to hone and review the skills they are taught in initial training. Flight and cabin crews attend crew briefings prior to the start of any trip. This is an important safety measure to make sure the entire crew is on the same page. Passengers can help by making the flight attendants aware of any concerns that they may have. While flight attendants are the eyes and ears of the cabin, they can't possibly be everywhere at all times. If you notice something unusual, let us know.
In any aviation incident we can take solace in the fact that from most tragedies come lessons and safety improvements. Let's hope this is true as the details unfold for Germanwings Flight 9525.