It’s certainly been a turbulent 2019 for crew and airlines!
Household-name airlines collapsing, passenger difficulties reaching new heights, and huge issues for airlines surrounding sustainability…here’s some of the most important happenings of 2019 in review, and our airline predictions for 2020!
The collapse of Thomas Cook
On September 2019 the iconic airline and travel agent Thomas Cook went into liquidation after 178 years in business.
The main reason was spiralling debt, and the failure of a last-ditch attempt by the company to secure a bailout loan from bankers.
Staff and crew remained hopeful right up until the end, when it was announced (for some crew members mid flight) that the holiday giants had collapsed.
Chaos followed, with previous Thomas Cook employees suddenly finding themselves without jobs and income. Other airlines such as Virgin stepped in to offer a lifeline with targeted recruitment campaigns for ex-Thomas Cook crew.
Sustainability and ‘Flight Shaming’
The Swedish concept of “flygskam” or “flight shame” spread widely in 2019, with surveys showing a massive one in five people had cut the number of flights they took over the last year because of the impact on the climate.
The survey results also predicted that high-profile media campaigns based on eco-political issues, like the actions of Swedish school girl Greta Thunberg, could have a knock-on effect and change in flying habits in wealthier parts of the world, particularly in the US and Europe.
The end of the Airbus A380
The Airbus A380 went out ‘not with a bang but a whimper’ with an announcement on February 12th 2019 that the production of the world’s largest passenger jet will end in 2021.
This was a long time coming, as since 2015 manufacturers had only received 25 orders for the aircraft – including a lifesaving order by luxury airline Emirates.
New aircraft such as the Dreamliner and A350 models use lighter-weight materials and have more economical and efficient engines, and despite their smaller sizes can cover similar distances whilst providing more operational flexibility to airlines on routes.
A tough year for British Airways
It really hasn’t been the best year for the UK’s flag carrying airline!
Huge computer problems meant a host of delayed flights and thousands of stranded passengers in August 2019 with another technical ‘hitch’ causing problems again in November.
Whilst the airline did its best to resolve the issue as quickly as possible there were many incredibly stressed and upset customers, and events were widely followed and circulated in the media.
There was also a great deal of stress over the proposed pilots strike scheduled for September 18th, and various technical issues with BA aircraft including the notable emergency landing of flight BA422 in Valencia, when the cabin was filled with smoke.
The aftermath of this included the hospitalisation of some of those on board due to smoke inhalation, and a bit of a backlash for BA and their crew from passengers on how the situation was handled.
This along with a few other incidents with emergency landings in 2019 also highlighted the importance of the Cabin Crew role when safety is involved, and how challenging it is to get the message through to passengers – many of whom ignored instructions completely and scrambled to retrieve personal belongings.
This year has also set new heights for levels of passenger ‘air rage’ and the verbal and sometimes physical attacks on crew that have made the news.
Whilst this has always been an issue to some extent, the problem does seem to be on the rise. Much of the time alcohol is a culprit, and occasionally for crew it’s a case of being unlucky and getting caught in the middle of a dispute between customers.
It seems to have reached new levels in 2019 however, with passengers seeming to forget that the crew are there to save their lives in an emergency, and treating them in a shockingly unacceptable manner.
What does this year have in store?! Our airline predictions for 2020…
Sustainability is certainly going to be a key issue for airlines in 2020, with it being a requirement of aspiring crew to be aware of the importance of this. Expect to see more and more airlines exploring renewable ‘bio-fuel’ options and ways of cutting emissions.
Airlines will be clamping down on bad behaviour from passengers, and toughening up on the rules concerning drinking in-air, and alcohol limits on customers boarding flights. Many airlines already include basic self-defence training as part of their pre-employment training for crew – and we think that this could become more widespread!
New non-stop transatlantic flights through the global alliances Star Alliance, SkyTeam and Oneworld are planned for five or more airports in the Unites States by the end of the year. There’s also evidence that the ultra low-cost airline is going to be big in 2020 – especially across the pond!
While we’re still not sure what changes this will bring you can rest assured that the team at Cabin Crew Wings will be working to keep you in the loop, and continuing to help with getting you flying!