Go to contents

A look at airliner’s manual providing detailed code of acts

A look at airliner’s manual providing detailed code of acts

Posted December. 13, 2014 01:05,   


Airliners aim to provide standardized and consistent service whoever flight attendants in service are. For this reason, the crewmembers must learn and exercise written standard procedures. This is referred to a service manual.

The service manual provides code of conduct and acts that the crewmembers must follow. Whether flight attendants put into practice provisions in the manual as they are or not serves as the barometer of how well they have prepared for flight. Naturally, flight attendants use extra caution to master the manual, and this sometimes could cause heavy stress on them.

Korean airliners’ service manuals provide fairly detailed code of conduct and acts in general. The manuals define in details the duties that crewmembers must carry out at their respective positions through the respective phases of flight ranging from passengers’ boarding, to flight, and to their departure from the airplane after flight.

For example, the manual reads ‘When handing a newspaper to a passenger, she or he shall fold the paper in half in a way that allows the passenger to instantly see the newspaper title,’ ‘Orange juice shall be served cold by using the freezer or ice,’ ‘Beverage is served to the right hand side of the passenger’s table after placing a coaster,’ and ‘When serving Champaign, the attendant shall hold the glass on one hand and the bottle on the other, and shows the passenger the Champaign label before serving.’

Of course, manuals provide different provisions according to the class of seats, and detailed contents and procedures can vary for different airports in compliance with safety regulations of respective countries. As was the case in a Korean Air flight’s ‘peanut return’ incident, the procedure for serving nut products can differ due to different safety regulations at John F. Kennedy Airport in the U.S. and those of Korea.

The fact the manual has so detailed provisions means that there are so many picky passengers. It is more so when it comes to eatery. Whether nut products will be shown first to the passenger before serving, or whether the flight attendant should place nuts on a plate in the Galley and serve after inquiring a passenger about the latter’s intention first became the issue in the incident was reportedly a regulation that was devised because nut products could cause inconvenience to certain passengers who are allergic to nuts.

The manual is not fixed but amended whenever there is need. A source at Korean Air said, “Our manual has not changed since June 2012.”

Flight crew should refer to not only the manual but also government guidelines when offering service. For instance, until last year, the crew would request passengers to switch off mobile phones and electronic devices without fail during takeoff and landing. However, after the Land, Infrastructure, Transport Ministry announced that ‘Passengers are allowed to use electronic appliances at ‘flight mode’ from an altitude of 1,000 feet (about 300 meters),’ regulations on the use of mobile electronic devices were eased.

After eruption of the so-called ‘ramen noodle executive’ incident, in which the executive beat up an attendant for failing to adequately boil the noodle, and the ‘newspaper chairman’ incident, in which the chairman beat an airline staff at an airport boarding gate with a newspaper, the ministry instructed domestic air carriers to make inflight announcement warning passengers against smoking, sexual harassment or beating.’