Image copyright Getty Images Image caption Plane passengers turn their phones on when entering the cabin
The outlook for flights may look good – but it may not mean everyone’s in the best place to prepare.
Passengers may check-in to their flights online or tweet en route, but that’s the norm for cabin crew members, who are logging into their airline’s website to do the same.
That, say those on the front lines, can be problematic.
The chief executive of cabin crew union Unite says work online is distracting for workers on the ground.
“There is no excuse for anyone not carrying out a safety-critical step when online and the risk involved of inadvertently checking in for their flight or texting or talking with family while still on the ground should be obvious to all employees,” Tony Woodley told the BBC.
A Unite member from a large airline told us that updates online can interfere with safety procedures.
Cabin crew need to stay “very close to cockpit procedures”, she said.
“Your phone calls or texts may not be considered in the cockpit.”
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Safety is at the heart of cabin crew’s job duties, which include interacting with passengers and responding to emergencies during flights.
Furthermore, many non-cabin crew senior managers – who often have to make assumptions about what other workers on flights might be doing – might have some information on the internet they might not be wanting readily available.
Passengers can be in for a surprise, some cabin crew say.
Earlier this year, a survey of some 1,500 cabin crew by aviation trade group ACI International found that 63% of respondents said their passengers are more focused on the internet, texts and calls when they check in for flights.
That means their focus may be lost when the plane takes off – or they might not be able to respond to an emergency as quickly as they would like.
Some airport security staff have warned that looking at screens while passengers get off planes can delay handing over luggage to them.
In November, air safety group the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) set up a working group to work out rules that passengers and staff should follow in terms of checking in for flights online.
The discussions are currently confidential.
Image copyright Getty Images Image caption Flights carry some 38 million passengers every day
The ICAO told the BBC that it was looking at “real world applications” for passenger and crew behaviour.
“Not everything could be explained with our statute,” it said.
During flights, the mood can also change depending on a passenger’s mood. Some cabin crew reports that passengers can become rude or antisocial, while others might even show psychological distress over safety-related issues or become more jolly.
Liz Harris-Ebbs from the union MOSAIC said some passengers have “real concerns” about certain type of flights.
“It’s harder to bond with them because some people will try to put you off,” she said.
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