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Opinion

Opinion: Turmoil and turbulence in the skies

Flight attendants and airline crew members are under increasing threats of violence.
<a href="https://highschool.latimes.com/author/rishivridha/" target="_self">Rishi Vridhachalam</a>

Rishi Vridhachalam

December 29, 2022
As the world gets back to pre-pandemic travel, airports are busier, security lines are longer, tempers are short, and nerves are frayed. Most alarmingly, the skies are less safe. I’m not referring to new terrorist threats or security breaches. Rather, violence against airline attendants and staff has become a troubling trend. 

Flying is an experience we take for granted nowadays, so much so that we often fail to grasp the enormous responsibility that airline pilots and crew assume to get passengers safely from Point A to Point B. Consider my most recent adventure flying back from a family trip to Rocky Mountain National Park. 

Scarier than the sudden and blinding hailstorm on Trail Ridge Road during our time at the national park was the awful turbulence we experienced on the plane ride to Los Angeles. As the aircraft shook and shuddered and dipped and dived, the passengers gasped in unison, and we all exchanged worried looks. 

But in the midst of the storm, the flight attendants were an oasis of calm. Their voices were firm but reassuring. Their steps were hurried but confident as they answered overhead call buttons, handling the situation with professionalism and aplomb. I recalled the tidbit that originally flight attendants were registered nurses, and that is precisely who they reminded me of when I think back to the time when I underwent wrist surgery. 

Though I was grateful for the surgeon’s skills, I was also thankful for the nurses who kept checking in on me, making sure I wasn’t bleeding, didn’t have a fever, or wasn’t in pain. Similarly, I’m grateful for the skills of the pilots to navigate the storm but also thankful that in an emergency, our lives are in the good hands of the flight attendants who could evacuate a plane full of passengers in 90 seconds or less! 

Now that’s superhuman stuff considering how long we take to board. So, the next time you ask the stewardess for a soda or a snack, remember to thank her for that and so much more. 

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