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Handling difficult flight situations, a crew executive perspective

WHILE flying, we all have to deal with different kinds of people and different situations therein. Sometimes there are passengers that are afraid of flying, others are passengers that may get sick mid flight and a whole host of situations.
These uncomfortable situations make these passengers sometimes difficult to manage as they become cranky, some irritable while others become downright annoying, but despite all these; the cabin crew executives have been trained on how to handle these situations.
On tips Nigerianflightdeck.com sought the opinions of cabin crew professional and founder Mamaj Aviation Consult Limited, Joy Ogbebo on the way cabin crew executives manage certain situations that may crop up during a flight, and she had some solid input.
At every point in time, there  are different categories of flying passengers. The frequent fliers, first time fliers, the sick passengers, elderly, mothers with children, those with reduced mobility, Obese and the unaccompanied minors. Regardless of which category they fall into, Cabin Crew Members have been properly trained on how to handle them Onboard.
According to Ogbebo, most first time travelers may express fear of height. As a result they experience hyperventilaton. According to the CAM, “Hyperventilation is a psychological condition that can be brought on by fear of flying. The person will begin to breathe more quickly and deeply than normal, this results in too much carbon dioxide being expired
Some signs and symptoms of hyperventilating include that the casualty breathes quickly and deeply, their colour is pale, lips may be pink and the casualty experiences a tingling sensation in the hands and feet that will result in hands appearing claw like plus a feeling of light-headedness.
She told us that the crew’s responsibility to these kinds of passengers include first and foremost reassuring the passenger and then if this does not work, encourage him/ her to breathe in and out of a
bag (so he can breathe his/her own air) and then observe since hyper ventilators tend to resume the emotional over breathing.
Some passengers may experience pains in the ears, this is not new as even some frequent fliers do this is caused when atmospheric pressure decreases, the air in the middle ear expands and exerts pressure on the eardrum, pushing it outwards.
In normal circumstances, this pressure would be relieved as air escapes down the Eustachian tube. As atmospheric pressure increases, the air in the middle ear remains static, thus causing the eardrum to be pushed inwards.
For treatment, yawning, chewing, swallowing is advised or holding the nostrils and blowing gently through the nose should equalize the pressure in the ears of a healthy person.
In a person suffering from catarrh, the nasal passages and Eustachian tubes may be blocked or swollen and so it would not be possible to equalize the pressure. If this occurs, there is danger that the eardrum will become perforated”
Then there are some who suffer ‘Motion Sickness’, this may be due to air, sea or land travel, it is a condition in which a disagreement exists between visually perceived movement and the vestibular systems sense of movement resulting in nausea, dizziness, vomiting and fatigue.
The Crew in this situation is required to sit the patient down with the seat reclined, loosen tight clothing and ensure that the air vent is fully open then they need to administer 2 travel sickness tablets, offer Sick bag, if possible move to the front section, advise slow deep breaths, sips of water.
Then in the event of a sick passenger onboard, Cabin Crew Members will be required to carry out first aid on the sick. First Aid is the immediate care given to a person who has been injured or suddenly taken ill before qualified medical help is available, using facilities and materials readily available. The Objectives of First Aid is to save life. To prevent the condition from becoming worse. To improve a patient’s condition and to arrange for necessary medical care.
“Cabin crew members are trained and tested on standard first aid and the use of the first aid kits by a qualified instructor before commencing operations and annually thereafter.They are not required to act beyond the limits of their competence,that is, within the bounds of their training. Within these limits they are legally covered”
Inflight illness is also something that can be difficult on board an aircraft, since there are limited space on board. Some in-flight illness may be life threatening and some only minor. Your role is therefore to prevent further injuries, seek medical aid and help to keep the victim calm and give the correct first aid.
When voluntary professional assistance is sought from amongst passengers, reasonable measures must be taken to
identify the professional status of the volunteer. Having acquired professional assistance, the overall responsibility
for managing the situation remains with the aircraft crew. Like the crew volunteer, the professional will not be expected and indeed must not act outside of his/her competence, and team effort is required to reach a proper conclusion.
With or without professional help/advice, one of these decisions will be required:the situation is satisfactorily resolved, the situation is containable with the resources available but further professional assistance will be required on scheduled landing, further  professional assistance is urgently required and should be sought as quickly as possible, i.e. diversion and an unscheduled landing is necessary
Then there is the issue of turbulence, which according  to statistics have never caused a crash but is still feared by air travellers and causes a lot of discomfort.
This phenomenon comes as a result of atmospheric or environmental effects. En-route turbulence accounts for a substantial number of Cabin Crew Members injuries and can occur at any time and at any altitude.
Turbulence can be expected or it can be sudden and unexpected. Intensity can vary and is relative to location of the occupants in the aircraft (generally the aft of the aircraft will experience greater turbulence intensity than the front). In the event of light chop/turbulence, the Commander should turn on the Fasten Seat Belt sign. The Cabin crew should make the appropriate announcement and should ensure that all passengers are seated with their seat belts securely fastened.
In the event of moderate turbulence, Cabin Crew Members should secure loose items and secure themselves in the jump seats.
The Purser is to communicate with the flight crew regarding the anticipated duration of the turbulence.
In the event of severe turbulence, Cabin Crew Members should secure themselves immediately in the closest seat or whatever means is available.
This could include sitting on the floor, when no other means is available. The safety of the Cabin Crew Members is paramount during turbulent.
In the event of Turbulence, the Crew makes the safety announcement, requesting passengers to be seated and strapped. Reassure them, there is no cause for alarm. The captain in command also makes reassuring announcement from the flight deck notifying them of severity and duration.

About anthony omoh

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I am a Journalist with a passion for developmental stories and nigerianflightdeck.com was born out of passion for reporting the travel, business and aviation sub-sector. This site is an expression of my ideals and creativity as a reporter and my discretion as a publisher. I am extremely content doing this and I am sure when you read my stories you'd understand that I touch people and that's why

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