Flight Attendants, much more than just a pretty for customer service

Asiana 214 Flight Attendants

Today, while reading the news, I found this picture, seeing their faces, I could not do anything than think about the terrible moments these young people lived days ago when the Asiana B777 impacted the runway 28L seawall at San Francisco airport.

The Asiana Flight 214 cabin crew consisted of 11 women and one man, ranging in age from 21 to 42.  Heroes, is the common word I saw on the news all over the world and I think there is no better description to their actions.

On July 6 crash, three flight attendants were ejected while still strapped to their seats from the aircraft’s sheared off tail section.  One of the items among the investigation of the crash will be the emergency evacuation and find a reason why the pilots of Asiana Flight 214 told the flight attendants to delay it for 90 seconds after the crash landing, giving the order only after a flight attendant spotted flames outside.  For sure this will raise inquiries about flight attendant authority during an emergency.  Those who were able, meanwhile, oversaw the emergency evacuation of nearly 300 passengers – using knives to slash seatbelts, slinging axes to free two colleagues trapped by malfunctioning slides, fighting flames and bringing out frightened children.

“I wasn’t really thinking, but my body started carrying out the steps needed for an evacuation,” head attendant Lee Yoon-hye, 40, said during a news conference Sunday.

“In the face of tremendous adversity and obstacles, they did their job and evacuated an entire wide-bodied aircraft in a very short period of time,” said Veda Shook, international president of the Association of Flight Attendants and an Alaska Airlines flight attendant.

“It’s such a shining reflection, not just of the crew, but of the importance of flight attendants in their roles as first responders,” Shook said.

Next time you see that pretty girl serving your dinner or that handsome boy walking on the aisle, think they can also save your life…

Capt. Ivan

Photo Credits:

– Kim Hong-Ji/AFP/Getty Im

– Jeff Chiu

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