One of the greatest challenges faced by any cabin crew is responding to a medical incident inflight involving a guest, especially if first aid is required. These situations demand care, attention and the ability to stay calm under pressure which comes from experience and training.
The post #admirationforcabincrew went viral across many media and online platforms after Thai AirAsia cabin crew stepped in to help a guest with a medical condition on flight FD 3109 from Hat Yai to Don Mueang. The video shared featured two female cabin crew administering first aid and placing an oxygen mask on a guest in need of medical attention amidst difficult flight conditions during descent into Bangkok.
Patsachol Intra (Peach) and Worapada Suetrongmunkong (Iw) were the two key cabin crew members depicted in the video, with assistance from two more cabin crew members.
“Identifying” Passenger Symptoms
The two key cabin crew involved recounted the event on 2 June, 2020, which took place just 15 minutes before their flight was scheduled to land in Bangkok’s Don Mueang Airport. The aircraft encountered strong weather conditions which triggered the captain to turn on the fasten seat belts sign shortly before descent into Bangkok. While performing a routine inspection of all guests on board, the two cabin crew began to observe a guest in row 27 showing signs of medical distress. The guest initially asked for pain medication before appearing abnormally flushed.
Shortly after assuming their seats to watch over the safety doors, Patsachol and Worapada were paged by row 27. Answering the call, they found that the passenger in aisle seat 27C that they had been monitoring was now completely flushed and having trouble breathing. They notified the captain and approached the passenger despite the fasten seat belt sign warning, with the passenger now experiencing shallow breathing, losing consciousness and no longer responding to communication. As per standard operating procedures, the two crew acted immediately and brought out an oxygen tank to begin first aid.
“Staying Calm” at All Times
“The most important thing was to stay calm. We knew we had to act fast based on our training. We looked one another in the eye and began going through the steps we had rehearsed. One of us handled providing oxygen to the guest while the other handled stabilisation to ensure everyone’s safety in the difficult flying conditions” Patsachol said.
Taking place over a short but crucial five minutes, the two crew were able to set up the oxygen so that the passenger’s neighbor could aid in holding the tank while they returned to their positions to oversee a safe landing for everyone on board.
Safely on the ground, the two cabin crew then sought assistance from medical personnel on the flight to assist to perform first aid and began coordinating with ground crew to begin transferring the guest to the airport’s medical emergency centre.”Over my 10 years as a cabin crew, I have been in several emergency situations where the life of a passenger was at stake. One of the most memorable involved a four month old infant. This incident, amongst many others, confirms that our policy of putting safety and guests first, can save lives and makes me proud to be a cabin crew” Worapada explained.
“Training” to be Ready for any Situation
Every year, AirAsia cabin crew undergo recurrent training along with written and practical tests and engage in role plays of emergency situations that prepare them to stay calm and to be able to systematically address problems.
Moreover, before every flight, cabin crew walk one another through safety protocols as part of our regular preparations. Updates on first aid and safety measures are posted to the airline’s Docunet system, which can be viewed on mobile devices anywhere at any time.
“While we never want to witness a situation where a passenger’s life is in peril, we are all ready to stay calm and react, if and when such a situation arises to ensure the safety and wellbeing of our guests at all times.
Patsachol Intra and Worapada Suetrongmunkong have both been with AirAsia for over 10 years, starting in 2010, and have been subjected to the rigorous training required by the airline for all of its staff. Both are proud to serve as cabin crew and to safeguard their passengers.