Teamwork is an absolute essential skill that all Cabin Crew need to have. Without it we cannot work efficiently onboard the aircraft on a day to day basis or provide the best service without our team’s support. In a worst case scenario, if any emergency situations occur onboard and there is no teamwork then the outcome is inevitable, no matter how well trained or a professional crew member you are. So what can we do to promote best practice and encourage teamwork in the workplace?
For Cabin Crew, it starts at the crew briefing pre-flight – we may never have met or worked with our colleagues before so it is important to be friendly and approachable. We will be working closely together for the next 12 hours or 2 days, so we have to get the synergy right. We are given a designated position by the Senior Cabin Crew Member and we have to understand our place in the team. We talk through the plan for the flight and any special items we may need to look out for. The SCCM will then ask us questions about our safety and emergency procedures and also on aviation first aid. Out Flight Crew for the trip will introduce themselves and give us any special information about the flight.
Onboard the aircraft we do a thorough security check as a team as well as checking the safety equipment. It is crucial not to miss anything – imagine if there was an oven fire and no-one had checked the fire extinguisher and it was empty? Or, what if a passenger found a syringe in the seat pocket? We aim to get all the passengers onboard and stow their luggage and secure our part of the cabin in a timely manner to meet the departure time.
The cabin service has to run smoothly, so we take on different roles in the cabin and the galley to make sure everything runs to plan. We also know to look out for each other, as it is easy to get stuck in the middle of the cabin and find you have run out of coffee or don’t have a vegetarian meal. So, at least there is always someone ready to bring that pot of coffee just as you pour the last cup or to go into business class to find a spare vegetarian meal.
Communication with our Flight Crew is vital too and previously there were issues regards rank, status and fear whereas now it is actively encouraged. We must be able to report to them with confidence if we see ice on the wing or smell a burning electrical odour, for example. These are potential items that could cause an emergency, so fear must not stop anything suspicious being reported.
In training, we learn about CRM or Crew Resource Management which shows us the importance of teamwork and good communication. We learn how emergency situations occur due to a chain of events and how lapses in the lack of communication or teamwork can have a crucial negative effect. Working as a team can prevent an emergency scenario and we can control the potential threat and survive a situation if at all possible. All of our emergency drills are team based and for medical emergencies or firefighting we have four set roles in the team for best practice e.g. assessor, collector, teller and support.
Cabin Crew and strong teamwork should be hand in hand and this will also reflect on the passengers and the airline. The passenger will have a better service and feel confident about safety and hopefully this will result in repeat business. Teamwork not only makes our environment a much safer place for the crew and the passengers but makes our work under pressure more efficient and easier on a day to day basis, so much so – it doesn’t always feel like work!