By: Mond Ortiz
Let me start-off by saying, hats-off to all the airlines that have provided Personal Protective Equipment or PPEs for their respective flight attendants, for basically taking into account their health and safety. Shout out to Philippine Airlines, Philippines AirAsia, Skyjet, Emirates, Korean Air, Eva Air, and other airlines that have stepped up to protect their flight attendants, your frontliners in the sky.
Today, as we were posting news about airlines providing PPEs to their cabin crew, I got a message from a flight attendant of a particular international airline, an airline that continues to fly repatriation and recovery flights, including some long haul ones.
I asked if her airline provides PPEs especially that they have been flying a lot of repatriation flights. She told us that they do not provide a full protective gear, but merely gloves, masks, and goggles which only can be worn at some portions of the flight.
What???? Yun lang???? Considering that this airline flies a lot of repatriation and recovery flights, is that all they provide for their flight attendants who face a lot of passengers???? She said yes, that's exactly the situation.
Today as I was reading aviation news from some websites, I learned that it was only just recent that some airlines have allowed their flight attendants to wear face masks! What???? Face masks only???? And only now???
Wait wait, what is happening??? Why isn't the health of flight attendants being placed as a top priority?
I now call on those airlines to please provide PPEs for your cabin crew, especially if they are made to fly mid to long flights, facing passengers for a long period of time.
Your cabin crew are not robots nor do they have some super power that they can "laser" out all virus from the sky. They are human beings, mortals, susceptible to viruses and disease. Some have families, dependents. Some are breadwinners. Some will go home to their families and loved ones right after their duty.
As you see, a study done by NY Times showed that flight attendants stand a high risk of contracting viruses on board, as high as nurses and medical staff, if not protected.
These flight attendants left their home to answer their call of duty to bring home others in the middle of this CoviD-19 pandemic. The least you can do is to at least put their health as a priority which should be addressed in the middle of this Coronavirus crisis as they give themselves in the name of service.
Yes PPEs may be costly but your cabin crew are your assets. Without them, you cannot fly passenger flights.
Protect your flight attendants as your assets, the same way you provide TLC to your aircraft. Your flight attendants face passengers everyday, and we are unsure if any of them are infected inspite of all the CoviD-19 screening process done in airports.
The Coronavirus threat is real and should be taken seriously. There are already a lot of cabin crew in the USA who have been infected with the virus, with some who have died already. Let this be a wake-up call.
I am writing to you not to call you out, but to plead that you provide further protection for your flight attendants by at least providing them PPEs to ensure their health on board.
So to all other airlines who have not really put the health of your cabin crew as priority, please do so soon. PPEs would mean a lot for them. They are your frontliners, they face passengers for the whole duration of a flight.
And again to Eva Air, Philippine Airlines, Korean Air, Emirates, Skyjet, AirAsia and to all other airlines that have provided PPEs for your flight attendants, my salute and hats off to all for seeing your flight attendants as one of your greatest assets by prioritizing their health. May you all serve as an example to other airlines.