SIA in-flight service protocol revision faces backlash from passengers after recent severe turbulence

SINGAPORE: Some frequent flyers have described the in-flight service protocol as an emergency measure following the recent severe turbulence on board a Singapore Airlines (SIA) flight. said Thursday.

However, The Straits Times reported that the overall requirement to suspend food service and “require cabin crew members to buckle up while operating the seat-belt sign” had a ripple effect on passengers and crew.

SIA implemented more elaborate safety measures shortly after flight SQ321 from London to Singapore experienced severe turbulence on May 21, killing one passenger and injuring dozens.

Earlier, only hot drinks and soup were not allowed to be served when the seat belt sign was on, and service could continue at the discretion of the crew, but now food service has to be suspended completely.

Flights from Europe (toward Singapore) pass through a part of the Andaman Sea known for turbulence, The Straits Times said, citing crew and passenger reactions.

The Andaman Sea, a part of the Indian Ocean, lies to the west of Thailand.

A flight attendant said she experienced more than an hour of turbulence on her recent three-and-a-half-hour flight on the Singapore-India route. The cabin crew had to take care of food service in the short time that was left.

„Some passengers don’t understand why service policy change is important, and customers rate service average to poor through the feedback channel after flights affected by turbulence,” the spreadsheet quoted.

He noted: „Passenger reactions vary – some are very understanding, others feel short-changed.”

During the pre-flight briefings she attended after the incident, the flight attendants said that managers on board are actively checking the interests of the crew members, and an advisory committee has been set up to support the cabin crew.

Another crew member said: „It can be very stressful as the food service may be affected and I think the crew will try to provide the same service quality safely.”

„We can’t fight Mother,” said an SIA crew member who has been flying for more than a decade, adding that safety is the crew’s top priority.

Lead professional officer John Tan, who teaches on the aviation management degree at the Singapore Institute of Technology, said the policy change „highlights the importance of adaptability in aviation security”.

„Immediate responses are essential to effectively protect passengers and crew. Implementing policy changes in response to incidents fosters a culture of continuous security improvement,” the Singapore Daily quoted Tan as saying.

But Tan said the task of balancing safety and service quality could be a challenge for SIA.

“The aim is to reduce the amount of time cabin crew spend in the aisles. For SIA, this will involve retraining cabin crew to enhance their efficiency or change the services offered without compromising service quality. And the option to reconfigure the cabin layout is possible,” he said.

„This decision was taken only after careful consideration and the urgent need to prevent serious injuries to passengers and crew in the future,” he was quoted as saying.

Some netizens in a Singaporean newspaper suggested that passengers should take their food and drinks with them, especially on short- and medium-haul flights, in case food service is booked due to turbulence.

Published 30 May 2024, 03:05 There is

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