Cabin crew are a primary feature of a flight, on hand to offer customer service and advice to passengers. Though this may be the main thing travellers see them do, it is not the most important skill they have to offer.
In fact, cabin crew go through a strict training regime before they earn their wings, learning skills which have the power to transform lives.
Virgin Atlantic cabin service supervisors Otis Dublin revealed all in an Instagram Live video for Virgin Atlantic dubbed Virgin’s “flight school”.
In the footage, he explains that prior to their first commercial flight, the budding flight crew must undergo five weeks of “intense” training that covers far more ground than simply handing out inflight meals.
“That training includes the obvious part about what you see, which is the service and how to deliver that amazing experience that Virgin Atlantic expects our customers to receive,” he says.
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“But more importantly our training involves learning about Virgin’s safety and emergency procedures.”
While mechanical and emergencies relating to the aircraft itself are covered, there are some other hugely important skills cabin crew learn which you might not expect.
“The other important part of our training is dealing with medical events and emergencies on board,” Otis explains.
“This can be anything from a customer fainting to having a heart attack, and our crew have even helped deliver babies.”
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It’s these hugely important medical moments that crew are trained to deal with, and which can ultimately be the difference between life and death should the unexpected occur.
“This is all things our crew are taught during training and are phenomenal at dealing with these types of situations,” says Otis.
While customers might be aware of the safety equipment on board, such as oxygen masks and smoke hoods, flight crew also have access to life-saving medical equipment.
“Whilst we carry basic first aid treatment to help with minor injuries we also carry more advanced medical equipment such as the Tempus,” Otis continues.
Virgin Atlantic put crew through an “intense” five week training plan
“This is an amazing piece of equipment because it allows us as crew to take ECG readings which we will then be able to contact our doctors on the ground.
“They will be able to see those readers, then advise us on what our next steps should be.
“Now something this would involve getting a medically qualified customer to come and assist us with administering prescription-only medication that we also carry onboard such as insulin for more serious diabetic situations.”(sic)
However, while the crew are trained to deal with these emergencies, it is still safer to avoid flying if you are feeling under the weather.
“Its always advisable if you are feeling unwell that you try and seek medical attention before you get on the aircraft, or when you get to the airport you do let our ground staff know so we can help you before you get on board,” says Otis.
Along with the medical training, cabin crew also know what to do in other unexpected situations too.
“In training, we even get taken to a pool where we will learn how to rescue people out of the water and put them into a raft,” explains Otis.
“Learning about our safety equipment, such as oxygen bottle, fire extinguishers, smoke hoods, emergency torches.
“We need to memorise where each of this equipment is onboard incase we need to incase we need to access them in an emergency quickly, even in the dark if there is loss of light in the cabin.
“All of this we get tested on during training and we need to pass with an 88 percent pass mark.”
He adds: “Thankfully this isn’t something we normally have to use or go through very often.”