Ensuring the mental wellbeing of cabin crew: “Cabin crew should not suffer in silence”

January 20, 2022

There is increasing evidence that cabin crew are now experiencing increased stressors and mental health deterioration from the COVID-19 pandemic. The pandemic’s unpredictability, volatility, and patchy recovery have caused many crew to lose jobs, take reduced hours, and experience stress and anxiety over the ever-changing local and international restrictions. As well as an ever-changing work environment onboard and off the plane. This includes increased risk of infection, increased disruptive passengers and fluctuation in health and safety standards.

In December of 2021, a panel at the Cabin Operations Safety Conference met to discuss various solutions and tactics to alleviate the mental struggles that the crew may be experiencing due to the pandemic.

Panellists included Steve Sneddon, Senior Manager Crew Experience Virgin Atlantic, Kris Major, European Transport Workers Federation, and Sandra Alves Pontes Human Factors Safety Officer, TAP Portugal, with the session chaired by Catherine Chan, Group Safety Manager, Cathay Pacific.

The topics discussed included training, listening to crew and utilizing the feedback productively, opening communication channels and creating innovative programs to help the crew.

Kris Major, a cabin crew with British Airways and the ITF’s ICAO consultant, stated, “Cabin crew should not suffer in silence. Though crew have an array of skills to translate into self-care—after all, they deal with colleagues, border control officials, and passengers on a daily basis—strong support is essential. Honest, open, adult conversations should be easily accessible, even routine.”

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