The primary duty of a flight attendant is to ensure the safety of the passengers and other crew. The cabin crew of the Aeroflot flight UA1492 is being hailed as the heroes. AFA Commends Heroic Aeroflot Flight Attendants on Flight 1492. The Association of Flight Attendants-CWA (AFA), representing 50,000 Flight Attendants at 20 airlines, mourns the loss of Flight Attendant Maxim Moiseyev who died on the burning Aeroflot 1492 aircraft while trying to save lives.
AFA President Sara Nelson released the following statement on the accident:
“Flight Attendants are aviation’s first responders. Flight Attendant Tatyana Kasatkina ‘grabbed passengers by the collar’ to evacuate people as quickly as possible. The crew were all heroes and our union will honor their action through official recognition. We offer them any support we may give as they grapple with this tragic event. We will also ensure their horrific experience and the lessons from it are never forgotten.
In an emergency, there is no time or room for being polite since every second count. The flight attendants who have been extremely courteous till the event, have to rapidly switch mode to being autocratic and ruthless in the interest of safety at large. The certification requirement of every aircraft requires an evacuation demonstration. All passengers have to be evacuated in 90 seconds from the time a command is given assuming only half the aircraft exits are available, others assumed to be blocked.
During a demo, the actors are briefed and are motivated to beat the target time, whereas in real life, each passenger has her/his mind occupied with a hundred thoughts and there could be a big chaos inside the cabin.
As you can make out from the video, the amount of preparation to beat the 90-second rule is enormous. The actors are briefed and they understand the criticality of performing as a group to qualify for certification. This is nowhere close to real life scenes that have been witnessed.
Training and training alone is the key to habit formation. This will help the crew to modify their behaviour to suit the needs of the situation. Safety systems and devices have to be built to have more practical rather than theoretical approach. Past evacuations have proven that there is an urgent need to address this issue.