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FAs unfamiliar with plane, fumbling safety demonstration

FAs unfamiliar with plane, fumbling safety demonstration

Old Sep 21, 19, 3:03 pm
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FAs unfamiliar with plane, fumbling safety demonstration

A friend told me that on a recent flight the FAs had never flown on that model aircraft (her words) and that they were very confused trying to demonstrate the safety announcements (also her words).

When I asked her if the FAs actually said that (I wondered if she were using hyperbole or sarcasm), she said they really did.

She said her flight was on United, but I dint know if she meant mainline or Express.

Is something like that worth reporting to UA/FAA/DOT? After all, the FAs are primarily there for our safety.
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Old Sep 21, 19, 3:21 pm
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Impossible to comment on this -- too much unclear and without the original individual, we will never get a clear understanding. There is nothing to discuss as the exact words are important. For all we know the FA messed up and said something to be humorous or to cover up or might have been the truth.
And it is a bit of a stretch to think all the FAs were novices (all being one on smaller UX?). We could go around and around and purely speculate.

If your friend felt they were in an unsafe situation or the FAs were unqualified, that's the friend's decision to approach the FAA. There is nothing we could add here.
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Old Sep 21, 19, 3:51 pm
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For mainline, that sounds like a hyperbole, since all new aircrafts (777-300W/787-10) have video safety demonstrations, and the LINK devices have the appropriate announcement script for all aircraft types.

All FAs, mainline or express, have to be certified on ALL aircraft types the airline operates on operations of exit doors and safety equipment.

Granted, there are pursers out there who are terrible announcement readers, or pulled the wrong demo script, or they could be trainees on their first flight (who are supervised by experienced FAs). But ALL FAs onboard not familiar with the aircraft? Highly unlikely.
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Old Sep 21, 19, 4:05 pm
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Originally Posted by PTahCha View Post
For mainline, that sounds like a hyperbole, since all new aircrafts (777-300W/787-10) have video safety demonstrations, and the LINK devices have the appropriate announcement script for all aircraft types.
Methinks you overlook the plethora of dark (yes, I consider PDE-equipped dark) mainline narrow bodies in the fleet -- Airbus anything, a healthy % if not a majority at this point of 73G and 739.

Originally Posted by PTahCha View Post
All FAs, mainline or express, have to be certified on ALL aircraft types the airline operates on operations of exit doors and safety equipment.

Granted, there are pursers out there who are terrible announcement readers, or pulled the wrong demo script, or they could be trainees on their first flight (who are supervised by experienced FAs). But ALL FAs onboard not familiar with the aircraft? Highly unlikely.
I've seen FAs stumble plenty of times -- 'forgetting' the flight number, destination, and in one case even her own name ("uh...sorry, my name is ___ not ____") -- it can happen to the best of us. But I can't imagine how any qualified FA, even if they had never flown that aircraft type before, would "fumble" the demo to the extent that the OP relates -- a mainline narrowbody aircraft, for example, pretty much universally follows the formula of 1 forward entry and galley service door, (1L/1R), overwing exits (1 or 2 sets), and an aft entry/service door. Add a midship entry for the 752/753 and there's not a whole lot of variety.

UAEX same thing -- 1L/1R, overwing exit pair /or/ 2L/2R (I don't think any of the UAEX birds have both overwing exits and 2L/2R but could be foggy on this)

Life vests, oxygen masks, seat cushion flotation are all fundamentally the same even on widebody/video equipped birds.
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Old Sep 21, 19, 4:14 pm
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Without the exact language and what happened, this is just another one of these third-hand game of telephone threads.
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Old Sep 21, 19, 4:23 pm
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Originally Posted by lincolnjkc View Post
Methinks you overlook the plethora of dark (yes, I consider PDE-equipped dark) mainline narrow bodies in the fleet -- Airbus anything, a healthy % if not a majority at this point of 73G and 739.
No, the point was that only the 781, and to a lesser extent the 77W, are new enough to expect an experienced crew to be flying it for the first time, which makes an inexperienced crew much more likely than a new aircraft type.
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Old Sep 21, 19, 5:36 pm
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Even if they were new to the aircraft type, they would just read the briefing over their phones/booklets, which is hard to fumble when the words are right in front of you.
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Old Sep 21, 19, 5:41 pm
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This is a non-story unworthy of comment.
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Old Sep 21, 19, 6:11 pm
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But the basic point - that UA will staff a flight with FAs who've never been on that aircraft before - is absolutely true. How many times have we seen this, or read about it here? I've personally seen it on the 77W, 788, and 781.

By contrast, other (non US) carriers like SQ and NH conduct extensive on board training before FAs are ever allowed to work a new aircraft.
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Old Sep 21, 19, 6:24 pm
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I've absolutely been on short/mid-haul domestic flights with FAs who are so junior that it is the first time they have flown a type.
They are sometimes unclear where the demo kit is, and will comment to their flying partner that it is their first time.
Sometimes the newbie ends up working the purser position based on seniority and has to read from their device and still messes it up, just from lack of experience.
I'd say in the past four months I've had this happen twice. Not the entire crew, but crew working up front who were very new.
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Old Sep 21, 19, 6:25 pm
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Originally Posted by Kacee View Post
But the basic point - that UA will staff a flight with FAs who've never been on that aircraft before - is absolutely true. How many times have we seen this, or read about it here? I've personally seen it on the 77W, 788, and 781.

By contrast, other (non US) carriers like SQ and NH conduct extensive on board training before FAs are ever allowed to work a new aircraft.
When our MUC-ORD was switched to a Polarized 772 last year, the FAs could not find anything. But, for sure, they did not fumble on the safety demonstration. They could find the video for it but there was no Channel 9 and movies until 75 minutes into the flight.

First time for my wife and me on that Polarized 772 and I had a hard time with the seat controls. The FAs were of no help (being their first time on that plane) but my wife who was on the opposite side of the plane (I was in 3A, she was in 3L) came to my seat to show me how they work.
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Old Sep 21, 19, 6:56 pm
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Obviously I wasn’t there, but here is what I can tell you:
  • it was a domestic flight from IAH
  • my friend repeatedly used plurals, so at least 2 FAs
  • I think it was an E75 based on some sleuthing, but I am not 100% on that
  • my friend works in a technical field and is highly skilled, so I believe she was reporting what was said and happened accurately

She made it home safely, which is what matters ultimately. But it did surprise me that both/all FAs were new to the equipment and that they fumbled through the safety briefing. Doesn’t exactly inspire confidence in the crew.
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Old Sep 21, 19, 7:09 pm
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Second hand information that you can't absolutely confirm? No, of course that's not something to pass along.

With regard to this friend of yours being highly skilled in a technical field - so what? I've worked my entire career in a competitive field of engineering and I take everything I hear from my contemporaries with a grain of salt.

Not to mention I'm sure every FA has a "first time" leading a safety briefing or whatever.

This whole thing seems unworthy of attention.
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Last edited by jerseytom; Sep 21, 19 at 7:26 pm
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Old Sep 21, 19, 7:11 pm
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My guess would be an ExpressJet E175SC. Those aircraft have just been introduced to the fleet and the F/A's have, up until now, been flying "solo" on the E145. They were trained this summer but it'll take a while before every F/A gets a chance to fly in these new airplanes as they're still a small percentage of the ExpressJet fleet.
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Old Sep 21, 19, 7:23 pm
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Originally Posted by LarryJ View Post
My guess would be an ExpressJet E175SC. Those aircraft have just been introduced to the fleet and the F/A's have, up until now, been flying "solo" on the E145. They were trained this summer but it'll take a while before every F/A gets a chance to fly in these new airplanes as they're still a small percentage of the ExpressJet fleet.

Yeah, most FA for express jet have never seen a E175 It is new to them as well. Even if they are trained and qualified on it, it still seems new the first few times I am sure.
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