Introduction to manual design
The flight attendant manual is the foundation of the inflight operation. In order for the operation to run smoothly, procedures need to be carefully crafted and in the proper sequence. You know you have a very well-designed flight attendant manual when you can read a procedure, and every step can be complete, from start to finish, based upon what is written. As each step is processed, if you need to make accommodations or adjustments for what is written, the procedure is not correct and needs revision.
Topics missing or short on detail
Here are topics that are most likely to be missing or short or insufficiently detailed in a flight attendant manual. General statement: if it’s in your flight attendant manual, it’s expected the crewmembers get trained on all content. The only exception is there’s no requirement for all trainees to read aloud all announcements in the announcements section. They only need to be aware of their existence and when it would be appropriate to read them. During training, the most common read announcements by all are the “welcome onboard” announcement and the safety demonstration for safety demo practice by all students.
Consider teaching the variables that may affect when they should or should not read them to the passengers. The suggested scripted announcement topics all manuals should contain for irregular and emergency situations will be at the end of this page.
Frequently found inside of airline operations manuals, including flight attendant manuals, are warnings, cautions, and notes, designed to bring emphasis to the procedure or equipment operation. For consistency of use and application, the warning, caution, and Note needs to be defined in the manual. If not defined, the manual author may make random selections of the alert level without a firm basis. Consider using the following definitions in the manual and then validate the alert level against the definition to ensure the correct definition is applied.
- WARNING: items that justify a warning statement are defined as those items where personal injury or death may occur if the terms of the warning are not observed.
- CAUTION: items that justify a caution statement are those where equipment or airplane damage may occur if the terms of the caution are not observed.
- Note: Notes are used to emphasize information and enhance understanding of specific subjects.
For flight attendants to perform their day-to-day routine effectively, the flight attendant manual needs to clearly define exactly what you want to have occur. Flight attendants should not be in a position where they have to guess what they should do during a certain phase of flight or expected normal and recurring situations. Remember, flight attendants are the front line face of your airline. They need to all be competent at their job upon graduation from initial training. Yes, it takes time for them to digest everything they learned and apply it, but they must have the minimum expected level of knowledge when they work their first flight, and the minimum level is actually quite high. They will gain experience as they fly often, but they need to be ready for everything, even on their IOE flight. Accidents and incidents do not consider “there’s a new flight attendant on board, no abnormal operations today.” They can happen on any flight. Write your procedures well!
Flight attendant jumpseat, specifically the seatbelt
- Verify the manual explains, and flight attendants are taught, the proper use of a jumpseat seatbelt. Seatbelts must be secure low and tight across the waist. Some flight attendants have been seen wearing the seatbelt fastened, but with the quick-release buckle positioned high, close to the sternum. If an accident is encountered, the buckle can potentially cause physical harm to the crewmember, injuring or breaking the sternum. Lack of a secure seatbelt can cause “submarining,” sliding down and out from under the seatbelt, while the buckle presses firmly against the person’s abdomen or sternum. The risk of this happening is greatest for flight attendants seated in forward-facing jumpseats. Reduce or eliminate the risk of injury caused by this situation by specifying how to use and fasten the jumpseat appropriately, and having flight attendants trained to properly secure themselves in their jumpseat for takeoff and landing.
Sterile cockpit / Sterile flight deck
The regulation known as sterile cockpit, now also called by some sterile flight deck, was put in place to prevent pilots from being distracted with non-essential communications during critical phases of the operation. This was to stop pilots from unnecessary, non-flight related chatter, as well as stop flight attendants calling the fli crew for information not essential to the flight during times where the flight crew need to give their undivided attention to their primary task – operating the plane.
While this is important and must be respected, it does not mean flight attendants cannot call the flight crew, regardless of circumstance. Teaching flight attendants the sterile cockpit rule without testing judgement is inadequate.
- Ensure the policy is clearly established for flight attendants to know when to communicate safety issues to the flight crew, even during sterile cockpit. It’s OK to call the flight crew during sterile cockpit, but it has to be for good reason. They need to be given a variety of example situations and decide Yes, or No. Have a discussion to explain why their answer was correct or incorrect. Doing this helps teach judgement on what information can wait, and what is urgent.
Here is an article detailing an example of an excellent judgement call by the flight attendant to speak up and interrupt sterile cockpit. The flight attendant advised the flight crew there was snow buildup on the wings. The pilots checked the wings, and he was right. The flight attendant’s actions, informing the flight crew about a serious safety-related condition potentially averted disaster after takeoff. The article is useful for classroom training discussion.
Pre-COVID, between 150,000 and 250,000 flights takeoff and land worldwide every day. On most of those flights, they are generally uneventful. Regardless of the low likelihood of things going wrong, flight attendants need to be adequately prepared for when something out of the ordinary occurs. While some irregular situations may be of little trouble, others can go from being a small matter to large problems if not properly addressed. This is where the importance of having a well-written and comprehensive flight attendant manual comes in. Some inflight departments are very thorough with their training, while others take a different approach. They believe all that needs to be done is provide a general foundation of information and the flight attendants can figure out the rest for themselves. There is some truth to that, as it would be extremely time-consuming to teach every single scenario with every variable imaginable. Flight attendant trainees would be turned into never-ending students.
- In order to provide initial trainees and annual recurrent flight attendants a solid foundation, detailed procedures explaining what to do when a certain situation occurs need to be designed. It’s also helpful to have trainees role-play to gain proficiency and learn good judgment and decisionmaking skills. Why is this so important to address in the flight attendant manual and training program? Once flight attendants graduate and complete their Initial Operating Experience per 14 CFR 121.434, they are considered equally capable to deal with any situation that happens to all flight attendants at the airline, regardless of seniority. While they may not have the experience more senior flight attendants have acquired from years of flying, that will not exempt them from having to face an irregular situation or emergency during a flight, such as explained in the NTSB Report of Tower Air flight 41, scheduled to fly from JFK to MIA on December 20, 1995. Write a detailed manual and teach them well, as if an accident or incident occurs, your entire operation will be reviewed and detailed, published to the public of what you did, and what you didn’t do in training and recordkeeping.
Flight Attendant jumpseat and medical emergencies
Training should emphasize the importance of having flight attendants secured in a jumpseat during an emergency landing and guidance for mitigating hazards to passengers affected by an inflight loss of seating capacity.
- It’s possible that a medical emergency may occur during flight. The critical time would be someone having a heart attack during an approach to landing. The flight attendants will have to make a decision whether to proceed with medical assistance and be out of their jumpseat to try and save the passenger or be in their jumpseat for landing, where technically they should be as they are responsible for all passengers, not just one. Clearly, this type of situation puts the flight attendant in an uncomfortable position, having to use their own judgment to decide what is best to do. When more than the minimum crew is on board the aircraft, such a decision is more easily made as all exits are covered by the minimum crew. There is no clear answer or solution to this situation. If the flight attendant chooses to the one passenger, and the landing is uneventful, the crew may be criticized for being out of their jumpseat during landing. If they’re in their jumpseat and don’t assist the person with a medical condition, they may be subject to criticism for not helping the passenger.
- Describe what sounds might be heard in the plane, what aircraft motions may occur, and what flight attendants should do to address passenger concerns. Consider having a scripted announcement prepared so flight attendants can address the passengers directly and quickly as needed.
Inoperative jumpseat procedures during flight
- Although the likelihood of a flight attendant jumpseat breaking during flight is rare, flight attendants need to know the required steps to take for them to have a usable seat, the securing of the jumpseat in the upright position, and possible placard for the inoperative jumpseat. Also, have procedures for the crewmember to be seated in a substitute passenger seat, and the required placard, “For Crew Use Only” on the passenger seat per the Minimum Equipment List.
- Whether an entire jumpseat becomes inoperative or only one half of the jumpseat becomes inoperative, depends on the problem and whether it involves the seat bottom. Some double jumpseats have one single bottom, others have two individual seat bottoms. If the problem was with the overhead supplemental oxygen system from for the flight attendants, that can make the entire jumpseat station inoperative.
Seat blocking procedures due to slide failure and unable to repair the slide prior to departure
- Depending on the aircraft model, it is possible to dispatch an aircraft with one evacuation slide inoperative. In order to do this, there are appropriate seat blocking procedures that must be in place and implemented. The Minimum Equipment List specifies what needs to be done, however, the procedure generally requires blocking 50% of the seats forward and aft of the exit with an unusable slide, with placards to indicate the seats are unusable.
Relocation of passengers during events that require passengers to be reseated during a full flight and less than full flight
- In the unlikely event of a decompression which involves some structural failure, be it of the aircraft skin itself or a window, procedures should be written in the manual and discussed during training what flight attendants are expected to do with passengers nearby the area of danger. A typical procedure for this includes the relocation of passengers two to three rows away from the damaged area. If the flight is full, some passengers will need to double up on a seat and share a seatbelt. In these instances, the spare seatbelts for passengers of size would be of good use to accommodate their relocation and secure all persons sharing a seat.
Equipment failures during flight – placarding requirements
- It is possible that during flight, lavatories may become unusable for a variety of reasons, a passenger service unit may open during flight, or seats may become unusable. When this occurs, the information must be presented to the flight crew and they will advise flight attendants what needs to be done, if anything. Of the three possibilities below, the one most likely to occur would be an inoperative lavatory. When a lavatory is blocked off, there are specific requirements that need to be accomplished, which includes posting a placard outside the lavatory. It is not necessary have to be a pre-manufactured sign, it can be on a paper towel if needed. The overarching point is that the placard has the required phrase written on it and is attached to the lavatory. Additionally, flight attendants are still required to do regular inspections on the inoperative lavatory periodically to check for fire when they do compliance checks at regular intervals.
Detail what conditions can cause equipment unusable, and specify the required placards for:
- Inoperative lavatories
- Failed/broken PSU
- Unusable seats
Galley cart requirements
Flight attendants should have knowledge of requirements when the aircraft is not equipped with a full complement of carts. Is it acceptable or not? How does a flight attendant know if the plane can be operated with carts missing? Typically, within the galley cart area itself, there will be a placard that indicates whether all, some, or none must be present. Check your aircraft galley for the galley cart requirements.
Passenger seat or Passenger Service Unit (PSU) becomes inoperative
- If a passenger seat breaks and becomes inoperative during flight, describe steps for the flight attendant to take to inop the seat and the placard requirements. If a tray table can’t stay upright, describe procedures to use to address the problem, and state any placarding requirements to block the seat, if needed.
- If the overhead passenger service unit is inoperative for any reason, the applicable seat section – not just one seat, the seat group – must be blocked off from passenger use, due to the lack of supplemental oxygen availability. There are placard requirements per the Minimum Equipment List, which should be taught during flight attendant training.
Interphone and/or PA inoperative considerations
- There must be inoperative interphone and alternate communication procedures between the flight deck and cabin described in both the flight attendant manual and the general operations manual.
- There must be inoperative and alternate communications procedures within the cabin should one or more interphone system fails. Content belongs in both the flight attendant manual and the general operations manual so the flight crew can effectively communicate with the flight attendants should an emergency arise.
- Inoperative PA procedures for when one or more PA handset becomes inoperative.
Alternate communication procedures
Do you have alternate procedures for communications between the flight crew and flight attendants during events where members of the crew are under duress?
- This content can only be requested through your airline’s email address. We will not send this information to any other address, no exceptions.
Class D fires: engine or brake fires when on the ground
- Teach flight attendants during fire training that if they see a fire in aircraft wheels while on the ground, the halon fire extinguisher from the main cabin is ineffective to extinguish the fire. Only airport firefighters have the appropriate equipment to extinguish an aircraft brake fire. The reason is, magnesium, titanium, and other metals used on landing gear generate their own oxygen, allowing a fire to continue. Halon is incapable of stopping a fire that generates one of the three elements of fire – oxygen. All flight attendants can do is get the passengers and themselves away from the plane.
Evacuation duties/responsibilities of each crewmember in the General Operations Manual and Flight Attendant Manual
- All crewmembers are trained on emergency evacuations. They must also be trained and know what to expect of each other in an emergency evacuation on land or water. As an evacuation happens, that is not the time for crewmembers to try and figure out what the others are doing or will be doing, or make assumptions that others will remove equipment and/or be responsible for getting supplies off the aircraft.
Door closing prior to pushback
- Are the interfaces between the pilot General Operations Manual, Flight Attendant Manual, and Stations Operations Manual complete? Can you read through the door closing procedure and perform every step that needs to be accomplished as written with a continuous flow? If you have to take any action that is not written in order to accomplish the task, that element needs to be added into the manual missing the step.
Door opening upon arrival
- Are the interfaces between the pilot General Operations Manual, Flight Attendant Manual, and Stations Operations Manual complete? Can you read through the door opening procedure and perform every step that needs to be accomplished as written with a continuous flow? If you have to take any action that is not written in order to accomplish the task, that element needs to be added into the manual missing the step.
Crew change with passengers on board
- Ensure the procedure requires the change to occur one-for-one at each flight attendant station to prevent an inadvertent unauthorized and regulatory violation of having less than minimum crew onboard during intermediate stop crew changes.
Inoperative equipment and placards
Aircraft maintenance is responsible for ensuring all aspects of the aircraft meet the airworthiness & serviceability requirements. Sometimes they may not be aware there is a problem with certain equipment. Occasionally during a preflight inspection of the aircraft and equipment, flight attendants will find things that need to be addressed, such as missing weight restriction placards, tray tables that do not remain latched upright, emergency equipment that does not meet the preflight requirements, or something within a lavatory that makes it inoperative.
While on the ground, aircraft maintenance can and usually will address the problem and make it operable again. If the problem cannot be addressed in time, aircraft maintenance personnel will turn to the minimum equipment list and deferred the repair in accordance with applicable regulations, and they are supposed to apply the appropriate placard according to the minimum equipment list. Sometimes parts of the aircraft may break during flight, like a tray table latch. Even though the plane is not on the ground, there are certain actions that must be done and requirements that must be met. Some of those requirements include the use of placards to mark something as inoperable, do not use, do not sit, etc.
While it is best to have properly made placards that have been laminated, regulations do not prohibit the use of a piece of paper or paper towel and use of tape to mark something as unusable. The aircraft minimum equipment list does interface with flight attendant operations, and flight attendant manuals should contain information on how to address equipment or other features of the aircraft that break during flight so they know what to do should it occur.
Describe what features of a lavatory, if used, broken, or damaged can make a lavatory inoperative? Include in the flight attendant manual information on:
- Placard requirements for when a lavatory becomes inoperative,
- Communication among the crew so all flight attendants are aware which lavatory is inoperative, and
- The regular follow-up inflight inspection requirements and the time intervals between inspections.
All of this information will come from your aircraft maintenance department through their minimum equipment list manual (MEL). The MEL contains the necessary actions and placarding requirements as applicable per your local regulator.
- Flight attendants need to do a preflight inspection of their emergency equipment on that aircraft prior to the first flight of the day. Aside from being a regulatory requirement, it is very helpful having flight attendants perform this task, checking emergency equipment in their section as it helps remind them of the location of emergency equipment on board that aircraft. Some airlines operate multiple aircraft types with multiple cabin configurations. The preflight inspection provides an immediate reminder of where their equipment can be found if needed.
- It is very important for flight attendants to perform a preflight check of their equipment. Should something go wrong during a flight, that is not the time to find out that the equipment is not serviceable or not in the location that they thought it was stowed.
Flares and life rafts/slide rafts
- Ensure the flight attendant manual states to use the flare downwind to prevent the hot embers from coming into the raft and potentially cause damage to the raft.
Life raft canopy rods
- On life rafts with metal rods to support the canopy, insert rods into the grommets from inside and low within the raft, upwards and through the upper grommet. Then attach it to the lower fitting. This prevents inadvertent loss of the canopy rods going overboard. Rods do not float; they must be protected from loss.
Portable Oxygen Bottles – save 500 psi for crewmembers post-decompression
- Consider creating a policy for when a portable oxygen bottle is used for first aid, when the bottle pressure reaches 500 psi, switch to a new bottle. Saving 500 psi provides/reserves supplemental oxygen for flight attendants in the event of a decompression for post-decompression walkaround duties.
Airbus A320 survival kit exemption
- In the USA, survival kits are required to be attached to each required life raft in accordance with 14 CFR 121.339 c) Emergency equipment for extended overwater operations. There is a requirement related to the A320 family of aircraft, and any other similar design slide raft pack, to have an exemption/deviation permitting the required survival kit not to be attached to the slide raft. Does a similar requirement exist in your country, and if yes, do you have that exemption/deviation on file?
- Emergency landings or other abnormal conditions do not always require evacuation from the aircraft. Evacuation is necessary when it is the only means to rescue passengers and crew whose safety is directly affected by the condition of the aircraft, for example, fire, explosion, damage, etc. In these critical cases, a successful evacuation will depend entirely upon the competence and initiative of the crew.
- Passenger evacuations come with its own risk element due to the danger of injuries that may occur during the evacuation, and should only be initiated if absolutely necessary and only after the aircraft has come to a complete stop. Flight Attendant Training provides the crewmember the ability to recognize and evaluate emergencies, command passengers into the protective position when necessary, and to safely conduct an evacuation should the emergency conditions be present.
- Flight Attendants have a responsibility in dealing successfully with different situations involving their passengers. Any kind of emergency greatly magnifies a very important aspect of that responsibility. Many lives have been saved due to the quick thinking and correct immediate actions taken by flight attendants. To achieve a successful outcome in an emergency, each flight attendant must be knowledgeable of emergency procedures and the proper use of emergency equipment.
This video illustrates how evacuation slides are manufactured and work.
Grab the manual inflation handle and pull it without delay
- Ensure flight attendants are taught that when they conduct an evacuation, immediately after the door is opened, they reach for the manual inflation handle and pull on it. Doing this prevents delay in assessment of the slide and determining if it is inflating or not. It saves valuable seconds during a necessary emergency evacuation. During an evacuation, stress levels will be high. When flight attendants have been interviewed post-accident or evacuation, frequently the flight attendants state that their training kicked in, and they did what they were supposed to do. It’s best to train flight attendants to automatically reach for the manual inflation handle with no consideration to wait and see what happens with the evacuation slide. During an evacuation, every second matters.
Blocking the exit while the slide inflates
- Some airlines train flight attendants to stand across the exit, holding assist handles while the slide inflates. Consider modifying this position to the flight attendant holding onto one assist handle, be in their protective position, and extend an arm out across the exit to indicate the exit is not ready for use. This method still provides a visual indication to passengers not to exit the plane.
- It protects the flight attendant from inadvertently being pushed out of the plane by a passenger. If the flight attendant is injured by being ejected from the plane, the flight attendant is unable to effectively assist with the evacuation. Depending on the distance to the ground, the flight attendant can become seriously injured or killed. The safety of each flight attendant must be of high consideration with procedure design.
If the power assist engages, just let go of the door
- During normal operations, if a crewmember opens a cabin door and the power assist engages to push open the door, flight attendants must know to never attempt to stop the door from opening. The force of the door being pushed open by the power assist is greater than the strength and ability of any flight attendant to stop it. The likelihood is high for the flight attendant to be pulled out of the plane, fall onto the tarmac, and sustain serious injury or death.
Do not force open a door that resists being opened
- Never attempt to forcefully open a door if normal door opening procedures and forces are applied and the door does not move. The aircraft may still be pressurized, check with the flight crew about the cabin pressure. There is potential for serious personal injury or death if a door is forced open when the cabin is over-pressurized. One flight attendant did this and sustained fatal injuries.
Always reach for and pull the manual inflation handle
- During an emergency evacuation, anticipate the need to pull on the manual inflation handle. Every second is critical to getting all passengers out of the aircraft. It takes a few seconds for the mind to process what is happening and to decide the next action to take. The optimal way to operate an exit during an emergency, which is also the way your airline demonstrated to your CAA how you would respond to an emergency evacuation, is to immediately pull on the manual inflation handle. Pulling on the handle while the slide is already inflating is not known to cause interference with the slide inflation. This has been observed repeatedly during every airline’s evacuation demonstration. It is a back-up to the normal inflation process. Reaching for and pulling on the manual inflation handle provides two triggers for the slide to inflate. If the slide does not inflate, your passenger redirection procedures are then used. While we expect our emergency equipment to work when we need it, evacuation demonstrations are performed with 50% of the main cabin exits blocked, or considered inoperative. Being proactive in ensuring your equipment works, and being ready to redirect should the evacuation slide equipment fail, is necessary to have the best possible outcome without unnecessary delay getting out of the plane.
Landing gear/nose gear failure: evacuation slide considerations
Provide in the manual and teach flight attendants that in the event of landing gear or nose gear failure, the angle of the evacuation slide will change and improvise procedures may need to be implemented. Variables are:
- Steep slide angles. Evacuation slide angles will be steeper than normal, and depending on the length of the slide, may require modification to the evacuation commands. For example, if the nose gear collapses, the aft slides become steep, changing commands from “jump!” to “sit and slide.”
- Flat or slight slope. If the nose gear collapses, the forward slides have minimal downward gradient. Be ready to modify evacuation commands based upon conditions at that exit.
- One main body gear collapse. The side of the aircraft which experienced a main body gear collapse will have slides that extend in a shallow angle. Slides on the opposite side will be notably steeper. Again, evacuation commands may need to be modified to suit the slide condition.
Evacuation conditions may vary at each exit, and may change
- Be prepared for potential multiple conditions during an evacuation, especially if landing occurred at an airport and the plane went off the runway. It’s possible for part of the plane to be on land and part to be in the water. Evacuation procedures and commands will depend upon the conditions at that specific door.
Post-evacuation duties and actions
- Define where to have passengers gather, typically upwind and at least 300 – 500 feet away from the plane. Potentially get further away depending on the condition of the aircraft, if it is on fire or not. Gathering upwind prevents passengers from being exposed to smoke and potential noxious fumes from aircraft components burning. This becomes exceptionally critical with composite aircraft like the B787 and A350.
The probability of an aircraft being required to ditch is very remote. While the odds of it ever happening are extremely low, flight attendants still must be well prepared for such a serious emergency occur. All we need to do is reflect back on what happened to US Airways flight 1549 that landed in the Hudson River, New York. After only a few minutes after takeoff, the plane encountered a bird strike, both engines flamed out, and the captain decided they had to ditch the plane in the river. There was hardly any time for cabin preparation, yet the ditching was completely successful; every single passenger escaped alive, thanks to the skill of Sully Sullenberger and Jeff Skiles, landing the plane, and the outstanding performance of the professional, well-trained US Airways flight attendants.
Watch the part of the NTSB interview with flight attendants from flight 1549.
Ditching preparations are necessary to secure all loose objects and have all passengers and crew safely secured in their seats prior to the water landing. With few exceptions, ditching procedures are similar to those used in a land evacuation. Communication with the flight crew is required to ensure that the cabin is prepared in a timely manner. Passengers are instructed to put on life vests and follow inflation instructions. Life vests are stored at each passenger seat and crew life vests are under each flight attendant jumpseat. Flight attendants and passengers must be properly prepared for ditching in order for the outcome to be successful.
Always reach for and pull the manual inflation handle
- Anticipate the need to pull on the manual inflation handle. From observed experience, when the evacuation slide falls out of the door bustle onto a near level surface, the slide never automatically inflated. Whether coincidence or not is unknown, however, for all emergency evacuations, it should be ingrained into every flight attendant to reach for the manual inflation handle during any evacuation. This provides positive reinforcement of the desired action to occur.
Step and crawl into the raft whenever possible; do not plan to jump in the water and swim to the raft
- When life rafts are launched, whether over-wing or at a main cabin exit, initial raft boarding procedures should be that the passengers step or crawl into the raft and evenly distribute weight. After raft inflation, do not immediately detach the raft from the plane and instruct passengers to jump into the water and swim to the raft. This creates a potentially unnecessary exposure to hypothermia. As you evacuate an aircraft, there’s no need to create medical emergencies and not have appropriate supplies to address the self-induced emergency. Staying dry is all that’s necessary, and able to be accomplished.
Failure of one life raft chamber
- If portable life rafts are installed, the manual must detail what to do if one of the two buoyancy chambers deflates (upper or lower), the damage is too large for repair by a clamp from the survival kit, and loses all inflation from one chamber. Check with the manufacturer yourself to validate the information for your own records. For information in advance, life rafts have a 50% overload capacity. When one chamber is lost, 50% of the normal capacity is all that can be supported by the raft. For example, a 46 person life raft with 50% overload equals 63 passengers. One chamber is completely lost, 46-50% equals 23. Only 23 passengers can remain in the life raft with only one chamber still functioning.
Announcements for ditching cabin preparation
Ensure the ditching preparation announcement includes a phrase to indicate “do not inflate your life vest at this time as we explain how to use it” prior to explaining how to put on and use the life vest. Telling passengers this helps prevent them from inflating the life vest as the announcement is read.
Announcements are the way airlines give their passengers important safety information that they need and information on actions that must be taken at certain times during the flight, e.g. when the seatbelt sign comes on passengers must remain seated with their seatbelts fastened.
The heading of each announcement states when it should be given. Announcements should be ordered in the sequence in which they would be made on a given flight segment. Unusual situations such as delay, turbulence etc., are best located at the end of the normal announcements.
Guidelines for making announcements
- Review the announcements you are going to make in advance. Be prepared for the aircraft and flight you are operating.
- All announcements must be made verbatim and should not be altered or eliminated to suit the individual’s preferences.
- Announcements should be made in a friendly, but professional manner, paying particular attention to the speed of delivery, annunciation, and intonation. An angry or scolding tone is never appropriate and tends to illicit passenger response quite different from the one intended. This is equally true of announcements made in situations that passengers may not find amusing.
- Announcements generally should only be made by the Purser or the designee. However, in a situation calling for immediate action, the time factor takes precedence over the content and delivery of the announcement. Any Flight Attendant is qualified to make an announcement.
- When reading the emergency cabin preparation announcement, speak slowly, clearly, with confidence and authority. In emergency situations more than any other time, passengers will be looking to the Flight Attendants for help and guidance. If the Purser is unable to make the announcement due to emotional stress, utilize another member of the crew who can deliver the announcements appropriately.
Replay the video safety demonstration, long haul flight, prior to descent
Back in 2004, I flew on Emirates Airlines from the UAE to New York. Prior to the start of the descent into the New York area, Emirates played the safety demonstration again as a reminder of the safety features of the aircraft. Being safety-minded, I was impressed that they showed it again and believe it would be a good reminder for passengers, especially when coming to the end of a long flight.
The only safety demonstration that must be shown per regulation is performed prior to takeoff. This allows you to show a second, abbreviated safety demonstration, specifically the most important elements you want passengers to have fresh in their minds during approach and landing shown on long haul flights only. This two to three-minute video recap provides an additional level of safety to the operation and for the passengers. Consider an abbreviated demo to include:
- Carry-on bags returned to overhead bins or under seats in front for landing
- Location of emergency exits and evacuation equipment: slides and rafts
- In the unlikely event of an evacuation, leave everything behind. Get out of the plane
- Life vest operation
While the safety video can’t prevent passengers from taking their bags, it may help reduce some of the luggage taken should an evacuation occur.
Irregular procedure announcements you should have pre-scripted in your flight attendant manual
- Fueling with Passengers on Board
- Delay – Ground
- Delay – Ground: Seatbelt Sign Turned Off
- Delay – Ground: Seatbelt Sign Turned On.
- Return to Parking Position
- Aborted Take-off
- Go Around
- Medical Help
- Bomb Threat—Ground
- Bomb Threat—InFlight
- Airport Diversion—Weather (InFlight)
- On Ground, Unable to Depart—Weather
- Precautionary Emergency Landing
- Fuel Dumping
- Diversion for Fuel (unscheduled)
- Request for Medical Assistance