COVID & Crew: Our New Normal?

To put it lightly, this year hasn’t gone quite as planned for anyone…

And the likelihood of life returning to any semblance of normality in the context of pre-COVID life is unlikely.

A quieter kind of passenger: cabin filled with PPE on a recent Virgin flight

The way in which this pandemic has effected us is far reaching, health threatening & career destroying. And we are not alone in this; every industry of all types and purpose are suffering.

For myself personally, a wedding we have planned for over two years is now potentially off the table, and my efforts to keep myself busy during furlough are frequently interrupted by unwanted thoughts regarding the threat of redundancy. For all my stoicism and positive thinking, it’s hard to not feel deep anxiety about it every now and then.

I recently wrote a short guest article for I Heart Cabin Crew about this new reality we find ourselves living in, with an attempt to harbour some positivity and optimism about our prospects going forward. You can read the article here:

In it, I wanted to give a slither of positivity to our community; crew have so much to offer, regardless of whether we fly or not, and at a time when we can feel quite hopeless and lost, we need to remember that we have value and worth.

But I also wanted to try and organise my own thoughts on the ‘new normal’ we face.

What is clear is that we need to learn from this pandemic, and fast. While I am eager to fly again and put my uniform back on (even though it probably won’t fit anymore!), I want to know that the precautions in place are thorough, for the safety of myself and my family.

After all, the inflight environment is incredibly different to ground based roles; there is no way to distance yourself from others, particularly if the flight is full, unless you fancy locking yourself in a toilet all flight…

What is also apparent is the lack of uniformity – some airlines have their crew wear full hazmat suits while others simply wear thin paper masks and elastic gloves to do the trick. What is the right way to go about this? Is there a right way ? Should there be international guidance on this? Is that even possible?

I know a number of crew who are still flying and working extremely hard, but who are fearful for their health despite precautions being taken.

Social distancing is vital to the elimination of this virus, yet some flights are filled to the rafters with passengers and baggage and distancing is thus impossible for customers and crew.

When an eventual return to the skies is an option, will customers understand that it will be very different for some time and be accepting of that? Will they respect social distancing, as best as possible, in the sky as they do on the ground?

Some changes actually may prove to be positive – a refined on board service, a contactless experience throughout the airport and so on.

But the questions remain on how these changes will take shape and what it will mean for our day-to-day lives. We can only remain optimistic that the ‘new normal’ will be a safe place to be.


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