My heart has been heavy this past week since I first learned of the news of Malaysia Airlines flight 370 that went missing on March 8th. I can't even begin to imagine what has gone through the minds of the crew and passengers aboard. I don't know what happened, none of us do. How does a 777 just disappear? Here are a few facts on the beautiful Boeing 777:
The Boeing 777 is a family of long-range wide-body twin-engine jet airlinersdeveloped and manufactured by Boeing Commercial Airplanes. It is the world's largest twinjet and has a typical seating capacity for 314 to 451 passengers, with a range of 5,235 to 9,380 nautical miles (9,695 to 17,372 km). Commonly referred to as the "Triple Seven". (From Wikipedia)
From a Flight Attendants perspective, here are a few thoughts.
First and foremost, we are trained, trained and trained in every possible aspect of SAFETY, then we are trained, trained and trained again...it never ends. We are constantly receiving procedural updates and tested on our knowledge of the most important aspect of our job.
Safety procedures are DRILLED into our heads from day 1 of training. Each time I step foot on a plane, I think "Safety". It doesn't stop. As passengers board the flight, I greet each one face-to-face, looking each one in the eye. On the Jumpseat, I'm doing a silent review of emergency procedures and commands. I assess my "able-bodied passengers"; who could assist if needed and I know who might need some special assistance. I always say a little prayer, that whatever happens, I will remain calm and know what to do. We are constantly training throughout the year and have a yearly re qualification. It is THE REASON flight attendants are on the plane.
Pilots are trained very much the same, with completely different details. Their #1 concern is the safety of the plane. They know that plane inside and out. Their training is incredibly extensive in the "what ifs". I count on my pilots to be on top of their game. They have checklists that they take VERY seriously and keep us apprised on the goings-on so that together we can do our best to assure a seamless operation.
I respect and appreciate my pilots. I know they receive intensive, on-going trainings. My brother is a 777 captain. He knows his plane, procedures and protocol like the back of his hand. I've watched him my entire life "breathe" airplanes. His extensive (unbelievable, actually) flight hours, trainings and, most importantly, experience have ensured a safe and successful career as a major airline Captain. I respect him and appreciate his attention to every detail.
I also SO appreciate my passengers who listen to my safety announcements and are compliant even when the "rules" seem dumb or unnecessary. I promise you, there are valid reasons for every request. We are trained to CARE for our passengers. I can't speak for all Flight Attendants, but when you step aboard one of MY flights, know that your welfare is my #1 concern...I love my passengers and feel a real responsibility to assure the safest flight possible.
The airline industry is a tight industry. We feel for each other and when something terrible happens to one airline, we all feel like it has happened to a family member/s.
I pray that answers come quickly about the disappearance of Malaysia 370. I pray that peace and comfort come to the family and friends of those aboard. There is still a glimmer of hope that some, maybe many or all, are alive. God bless them.