According to a press release issued Friday Icelandair said it is firing all of its flight attendants after its cabin crew union failed to reach an agreement. To temporarily replacing its flight attendants Icelandair pilots will be required to take on the role of flight attendants!
BREAKING UPDATE: Icelandair decides not to fire its flight attendants after all.
Icelandair has reversed its course by not firing its flight attendants. The decision comes only two days after the airline announced the unusual news about making its pilot do flight attendant duties.
Here’s Icelandair’s official press release and update on the matter, published July 19, 2020:
Back to the original article:
It is unknown at this time how Icelandair intends to staff pilots in the role of flight attendant safety duties. For example, will nonflying pilots be added to the crew to perform the cabin duties?
The Icelandic Cabin Crew Association (FFI) has long been negotiating for a new long-term collective bargaining agreement with the company. The negotiations have come to an end without a mutually agreed solution.
Therefore, the airline announced that they will be permanently terminating the employment of its current flight attendants.
Icelandair pilots will take on flight attendant duties
The airline was looking into other ways to handle safety and service onboard its aircraft should the flight attendants have to be terminated.
The company will instruct its pilots to “assume responsibility on board”. That includes pilots doing flight attendant duties, with a minimum of onboard services offered.
The Icelandair pilots will “temporarily take over the responsibility for onboard safety on July 20,” according to the press release.
How can a pilot assume a flight attendant’s role?
It is unclear how a pilot would be able to assume the role of a flight attendant. Yet, Icelandair intends to move ahead with its plans on a two days’ notice.
You won’t see your pilot during an emergency, as he or she is extremely busy handling the airplane. If an evacuation is necessary the pilots will only come out of the cockpit after securing the situation, to assist with the emergency evacuation.
And, how about service on board? Will the pilots be pushing a galley cart down the aisle with a mandatory smile on their faces? Would the pilot be in pilot-uniform or donning a skirt if female or male business attire if a male?
The rules under which Icelandair operates come under the jurisdiction of the aviation authorities of Iceland.
Whether that is legal or not when they fly into other countries, such as the United States, is unknown.
On a U.S. carrier, a typical two months of initial training is mandated before anyone can serve as a flight attendant. A typical flight attendant training curriculum such as CPR and how to evacuate an aircraft within 90 seconds are mandatory completion items. Then, after initial training, stringent flight attendant currency requirements apply.
So, can Icelandair indeed assign flight attendant-duties to the pilots at will and without flight attendant training? Time will tell.
What do you think about Icelandair’s decision to have its pilots serve as flight attendants? Let us know here.
Featured Image: Icelandair B757. Wikimedia.