Title: Flight attendant and pilot perceptions of in-flight events

Authors: Jane Ford; David O'Hare; Robert Henderson

Addresses: Department of Psychology, University of Otago, P.O. Box 56, Dunedin, 9054, New Zealand ' Department of Psychology, University of Otago, P.O. Box 56, Dunedin, 9054, New Zealand ' Air New Zealand, Private Bag 92007, Auckland, New Zealand

Abstract: Breakdowns in communication between flight attendants and pilots have been implicated in a number of serious air transport events. The present study was designed to investigate the perceptions of five in-flight events by 200 flight attendants and 99 pilots at an Asia-Pacific international airline. Participants viewed a video recreation of each event and rated the event characteristics on a series of measures. The results suggest that for some events (e.g., an explosive depressurisation) cabin crew and flight deck crew perceive the characteristics of the event and the most appropriate responses in highly similar ways. In other cases (e.g., drunk passenger, medical emergency) perceptions differ and this maybe one of several factors, such as reluctance to transgress social boundaries and disturb interpersonal and team cohesion, contributing to communication difficulties and ultimately breakdowns in overall team performance.

Keywords: flight attendants; pilots; in-flight events; accidents; teamwork; communication breakdown; crew resource management; CRM; training; international airlines; cabin crew; flight deck crew; crew perceptions; explosive depressurisation; drunk passengers; medical emergencies; social boundaries; interpersonal relations; team cohesion; team performance.

DOI: 10.1504/IJHFE.2014.062545

International Journal of Human Factors and Ergonomics, 2014 Vol.3 No.1, pp.1 - 14

Available online: 06 Jun 2014 *

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