From Stewardess to Flight Attendant to…

The few people aboard the aircraft who are paid by the airline to ensure that your flight is as safe and enjoyable as possible — while serving you and tending to your needs — apparently have a new name for their occupation. They are now known — at least, on United Airlines anyway — as Inflight Safety Professionals.

The various parts of the job of a flight attendant that most passengers see with which they are familiar is serving refreshments, assisting with baggage in the overhead bins, announcing various information via the public address system on-board the aircraft, and answering questions — in other words, attending to the passengers during a flight, which is apparently from where the name “flight attendant” comes.

However, what most passengers do not see is the part of the job of the flight attendant that is critical, and that is the safety aspect. Sure, it is important to ensure that a meal is served to each passenger consistently and properly, but flight attendants are rigorously trained on what to do in the event of virtually any kind of emergency. If an airplane crashes, which exits should the passengers use? When and how should the inflatable slides be deployed? What if the aircraft is floating on water? What are the proper instructions that passengers should hear without worrying them and causing a potential panic? The flight attendants must know the proper procedures at all times and are constantly trained and refreshed on what to do in every emergency scenario imaginable. Their jobs literally depend on that knowledge.

Come to think of it, Inflight Safety Professionals may indeed be a more appropriate name than flight attendants or stewards and stewardesses — but the new title may not have that familiar and comforting feel to some people…

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