June 21, 2024

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Singapore Airlines disruptions: Cathay Pacific Hong Kong union says halting meal service may not reduce risks to passengers

Singapore Airlines disruptions: Cathay Pacific Hong Kong union says halting meal service may not reduce risks to passengers
Stopping all airline meal services when a seatbelt sign is on may not be the most effective way to address the risks turbulence poses to passengers, the head of the union representing Hong Kong has said. Cathay Pacific The flight crew said, after rival Singapore Airlines adopted the measure following a fatal accident earlier this week.

Paul Weatherlet, president of the Hong Kong Cabin Crew Officers Association, told the newspaper on Saturday that tightening cabin service rules could lead to undesirable results, and that the best way to prevent injuries during flights is to require passengers to keep their seat belts fastened at all times.

“I’m not convinced that’s off [meal] “The service would necessarily change anything, and I think it could have the opposite effect.”

Weatherilt said revisions to Singapore Airlines’ rules may make cabin crew reluctant to put on the seatbelt sign, while meal service may not stop quickly enough because it takes so long to recover dining carts.

“Obviously service is important at the airline, so it may actually have an unforeseen impact… it will have a significant impact on in-cabin service,” he said.

On Tuesday, Singapore Airlines Flight 321, flying from London to the city, carrying 211 passengers and 18 crew members, encountered severe turbulence, leading to the death of a 73-year-old British man and the injury of at least 40 others.

In response, the airline announced on Thursday that in-flight meal service will be stopped when the seatbelt sign is activated, and hot drinks will not be served. Crew members must also return to their seats and fasten their seat belts.

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Passengers told the media that the turmoil occurred almost immediately after the seat belt light came on, and those who had not fastened their seat belts were thrown into the air, hitting the ceiling before falling again. Breakfast was being served at that time.

Breakfast was being served when the Singapore Airlines flight ran into severe turbulence. Photo: Reuters

Weatherilt noted that Cathay currently requires that hot beverage service be stopped when the seat belt sign is on, but meal service can continue.

He added that the flight crew will decide to suspend the rest of the service if the weather turbulence worsens.

Weatherilt suggested requiring passengers to remain seat belted at all times while seated during flights.

He also said that cabin crew should be empowered to decide for themselves whether they should also return to their seats and fasten their seat belts during turbulence.

In response to the newspaper’s inquiries, Greater Bay Airlines said on Saturday that the airline will maintain current in-flight service practices and ensure its operations comply with relevant legal requirements.

Cathay declined to comment on the newspaper’s inquiries about whether the airline would make changes to its cabin rules, while the newspaper also contacted Hong Kong Airlines for comment.

Additional reporting by Ambrose Lee