Photo credit: Youth.SG/Amira Rahman

Cabin crew behaviour during mid-air crisis sparks heated debate

Some say it is unprofessional, while others call it being human.

Amira Rahman

Published: 19 October 2017, 12:00 AM

AirAsia Flight QZ535 reportedly plunged 22,000ft (6.706km) mid-air on Oct 15. The plane was on its way from Perth to Bali, and the incident allegedly occurred due to depressurisation in the cabin.

Thankfully, the flight managed to land safely. All passengers and staff were physically unharmed.

However, the behaviour of the cabin crew sparked a debate online.

What’s going on? 

In initial reports, passengers alleged that during the fall, the cabin crew screamed and panicked. They said the behaviour of the staff escalated the already chaotic situation.

AirAsia’s CEO, Tony Fernandes, later refuted such claims and stated that the plane did not plummet. “Crew were not screaming but telling passengers as they had to sit down and belt up and get oxygen on for safety reasons,” he tweeted. He also commended the crew for a “superb job” done.

Should airline crew be expected to remain collected during life and death situations?


The cabin crew issued instructions as per routine flight practice, but passengers thought they were hysterical doing so.
Photo credit: Terrazzo via Flickr


Raffaella Nathan, 19, expects air crew to stay professional.

The Singapore Polytechnic student said: “As cabin crew, it is part of their job to prioritise their passengers’ well-being, especially in times of great danger.

“As air stewards and stewardesses, they should remain calm and collected, at least while giving instructions to prep the cabin when crisis strikes.”


AirAsia apologised for the inconvenience caused, and explained that they had been experiencing “technical difficulties”.
Photo credit: Sydney spotter’s instagram page


Syuhada Rahman, 24, working in the IT industry, shared similar sentiments.

“I wouldn’t pay enough attention to the pre-flight emergency briefing to remember what to do, because I would rely heavily on the crew. So I wouldn’t be happy if they fuelled my panic instead,” she said.

However, others could empathise if cabin crew were frightened in emergencies, and said they would understand if crew displayed fear.


Many on Facebook thought the behaviour of the AirAsia crew is excusable.
Photo credit: Facebook screenshot


“Flight attendants are humans too,” said Kirstin Yip, 19.

“Given that their own lives are at stake, I think it’s understandable if they panicked,” the Singapore Polytechnic student added. “I would forgive them.”

Faliq Yusoff from Ngee Ann Polytechnic, 19, felt the same way: “I’d expect the crew to be just as frightened as the passengers. I mean, you’re stuck in a metal tube in the sky and it’s falling; I think being scared is a fair reaction.”

What’s your take?

1. Should airline crew be expected to remain collected during life and death situations? Why?

Tell us what you think by leaving a comment on our article or social media platforms! Submit the best response by November 2 and win a $10 Coffee Bean voucher.

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