Flight Attendant Association (AFA-CWA) co headquartered in Chicago, claims that turbulence is the second leading cause of all flight attendant injuries and that the number of accidents is on the rise.
Despite the fact that aircraft are equipped with the latest generation of weather radars and advanced turbulence prediction algorithms have been developed, there have been several serious accidents caused by turbulence over the past few years.
Just a day before three flight attendants and two passengers on a flight United Airlines UA128 were rushed to the hospital, and as many as 36 passengers and crew were injured when a Hawaiian Airlines flight from Phoenix to Honolulu was unexpectedly hit by severe turbulence.
Of the 36 injured, 20 had to be taken to hospital, and 11 were classified as serious injuries.
A simple tip for passengers — stay fastened even if the “Fasten seat belts” sign is on not included. However, the same advice does not always apply to flight attendants — and the result can be horrific, life-changing injuries.
In fact, French accident investigators have just published their final report on a serious accident on board an Air Caraïbes flight to Guyana last December, in which three flight attendants were injured. One of them broke her ankle in two places after she was thrown up when the plane suddenly dived in the air.
In this case, the pilots predicted severe turbulence and even ordered the stewardesses to buckle up, but when it already seemed that the worst behind, the flight attendants were getting up from their chairs — moments before the second wave of turbulence shook the plane.
It is for these reasons that the Amalgamated Flight Attendant Union proposes to change the in-flight service system when there is a threat of turbulence.
The union has made recommendations to its members:
“It is always recommended to maintain order in galleys, where all items must be be in containers when not in use. An orderly and secure galley, including securely fixed carts, will ensure a quick response in case of turbulence.
The memo continues: “Also, remember that carts must not restrict direct access to jump seats. During crew rest, always wear seat belts and avoid moving up or down stairs during turbulence.”
“When there is a threat of turbulence, take immediate action to protect yourself. If you feel the need to sit down due to turbulence, sit down and fasten your seat belt. Don't wait for an announcement from the cockpit, take your seats; protect yourself in advance.
Of course, slight turbulence — this is a daily routine, especially during the winter months. Therefore, flight attendants often ignore warning signs.
True, during the summer, some frequent flyers have already noticed that due to the threat of turbulence, flight attendants stop service much faster than in the past, although in fact nothing happened.
Recent events, however, explain why flight attendants have become more cautious over the past year, and this trend looks set to continue.