Singapore Airlines Turbulence: SIA Comes Up With Safety Measures

Hyderabad: A media report on Thursday said that the in-flight service protocol after the recent severe turbulence of Singapore Airlines has been described as a hasty move by some regular air travelers that is already having consequences on driving up stress levels of cabin crew and its service offerings.

The Straits Times reported, that the requirement of suspending meal service and “cabin crew members must buckle up when the seat-belt sign is turned on”, has had a ripple effect on passengers and crew.

Flight SQ321 from London to Singapore experienced severe turbulence on 21st May which left dozens of passengers injured and one dead. SIA will shortly put all-inclusive safety measures in place.

Previously, only hot beverages and soup were prohibited from being served and service may continue at the crew's discretion. Meal service must now be totally stopped when the seatbelt sign is activated.

The Straits Times reported comments from crew members and passengers regarding an area of the Andaman Sea known for turbulence that flights arriving (towards Singapore) from Europe fly over.

A flight attendant said that the cabin crew had to carry out their meal services in a very short time as there was almost more than an hour of turbulence during her three-and-a-half-hour flight.

"After flights where turbulence affected service, some passengers rate service as average to poor via the customer feedback channel, not understanding why the service policy change is important," the broadsheet quoted her as saying.

"Although we're worn out and stressed, all we can do right now is keep working within the constraints of the situation." Crew members have had to change "by doing things like removing after-take-off drinks to manage the time we have for meal service," according to a flight attendant.

"Passenger reactions vary, some are very understanding, while others feel short-changed," the speaker pointed out. The flight attendant reported that since that incident, in-flight supervisors have been actively monitoring the well-being of crew members at pre-flight briefings he has attended. He also said a counseling team was established to assist cabin crew staff.

"I think the crew will try to provide the same service standards safely," stated another member of the crew, "even though it might be more stressful as meal service may be affected."

An SIA crew member who has been flying for more than ten years stated, "We can't fight Mother Nature," and added that safety is still the first priority of the crew.

The regulation change, "highlights the importance of adaptability in aviation safety,” according to John Tan, lead professional officer and instructor in the Singapore Institute of Technology's air transport management degree program.

"Effective protection of passengers and crew requires prompt responses. Implementing policy adjustments in response to events promotes a culture of ongoing safety improvement,” Tan said, as reported by the Singapore Daily.

He further said, “that the task of balancing service quality and balance safety can present as a challenge for SIA.”

“The aim is to lessen the time spent on the aisles by cabin crew. This can be translated into, increasing the efficiency of cabin crew or changing the way services are delivered, without compromising the service quality. The option of restructuring the cabin layout remains a possibility,” he added.

However, Shukor Yusof, the creator of the aviation consulting firm Endau Analytics, thinks the new protocol won't have an impact on the quality of SIA's services.

He was quoted as saying, "The decision was made after serious consideration and the urgent need to, first and foremost, prevent nasty injuries for passengers and crew in the future."

Additionally, some online users suggested in the Singapore Daily that travelers should bring their own food and beverages in case dinner service gets canceled due to turbulence, especially on short- and medium-haul flights.

( Source : Deccan Chronicle )
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