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There have been ups and downs in the aviation sector. Kris Major, a British flight attendant, has worked in the field for more than two decades. He saw how aircraft companies battled during those years during crises like the Covid-19 pandemic, the SARS outbreak, and the foot-and-mouth illness.
Major claims that the aviation sector has yet to experience the worst crisis in decades, which will be the turmoil of the 2022 summer. Major claims that many firms’ flying crews are having difficulties. He is well aware of his fellow crew members’ suffering because he serves as the chair of the European Transport Workers Federation Joint Aircrew Committee.
“It’s completely unsustainable as a job,” said Major to the media.
Now that travel restrictions have been relaxed as a result of countries dealing with the pandemic, airports around the world are attempting to keep up with the increased demand for travel, and, according to Major, it is in shambles.
It’s “absolutely shambolic,” citing numerous flight cancellations, misplaced luggage, and other incidents that have caused travelers to lose faith in the aviation industry.
Agreement from others within the industry
“The lack of staff, delays, cancellations, no baggage — I think it’s a very difficult situation for everybody,” said Daniel Kassa Mbuambi, a flight attendant of the Lufthansa Germany.
“There’s some kind of breakdown happening that I believe should be preventable,” said Allie Malis, a flight attendant from the United States.
Many businesses cut workers to deal with the drastic drop in demand when the pandemic hit the tourism sector two years ago. Companies, meanwhile, are struggling to catch up now that travel demand is back on track and sharply rising every week.
Several crews had to sprint to their subsequent work due to the last delayed flight, according to Allie Malis, who also acts as the government affairs representative for the Association of Professional Flight Attendants. She added that the scenario makes them “uncomfortable.”
“Sometimes the passengers are cheering that you’re arriving because it means their plane’s going to go, or even that they’re upset — they think it’s your fault that the flight has been delayed when you can’t work for two flights at once, although I’m sure the airlines wish we could,” Malis explained.
Malis asserts that the circumstance has an impact on both their physical and mental well-being.
“Sickness levels have gone through the roof, fatigue levels have gone through the roof, not because [flight attendants are] rejecting or they’re protesting in any way. It’s just that they can’t cope — they just can’t cope with the constant changes,” said Major.
Many airlines claim that employee absenteeism is what causes the crisis. Malis rejects this idea.
“It’s kind of offensive that we’re being blamed for any type of labor shortage or operational mismanagement because the airlines have failed to adequately plan,” Malis stated.
“Flight attendants are being maxed out, working the longest days we’ve had, with the shortest rest periods overnight that we’ve had, and that does get you sick, that does lead to exhaustion and fatigue and weakens your immune system.”
Here’s what travelers need to do
Malis offers advice on how to deal with the current state of the travel business as a flight attendant to the passengers:
- Pack your patience
- Travelers should anticipate the likelihood of numerous delays. “I think that would at least set your expectations in the correct place,” she remarked.
- Pack snacks
- You should bring food from home to consume while you wait for your flight when there are delays. In addition, an empty water bottle that guests can fill up after passing security checks should be provided along with the refreshments. For instance, it is best to be prepared so you can rehydrate and fill your stomach if the airplane is grounded or if there is a long line in front of you. “If the weather’s bad, if it’s really bumpy, there’s no guarantee that we’re going to be able to safely perform a beverage service,” Malis said.
- Book early morning flights
- According to Malis, it would be advisable to use these timetables as early flights are typically uninterrupted.
- Leave buffer time
- If there are essential events, like a wedding, travelers should depart a day or two early because cancellations and delays can occur at any time.
Opinions expressed by CEO Weekly contributors are their own.