Opinion: Turn them off, folks

PHUKET: Because I’m an anxious flier, I have always been overly aware of my surroundings while taking commercial flights.

With all the drama surrounding the ban of Thai carriers to Japan, South Korea and China following the United Nation’s International Civil Aviation Organization audit, which found that Thailand’s Department of Civil Aviation met only 21 out of 100 operational and safety requirements, I was curious to see how well the safety measures would be followed on board my small Thai carrier flights to and from Penang.

One thing I am always hyper aware of is the use of electronic devices. As a safety precaution, it is requested they not be used during takeoff or landing, so as not to interrupt the navigational equipment on board.

While the announcement is made in several languages to switch them off, I am constantly checking the people around me to see if they’ve complied. It’s safe to say that there is always at least one person sitting nearby who needs to be reminded before takeoff.

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Surprisingly, on my first flight, there was not one person within earshot who had to be reminded to do anything, whether it be returning seats and trays to their upright positions or buckling their safety belts.

I personally attribute it to the fact that the flight attendant, although nice, was not overly accommodating and rarely smiled.

Conversely, during my flights back to Phuket on a different carrier, the flight staff were extremely kind and a little too accommodating. The first of two flights was not too bad. However, the final flight was absolutely ridiculous.

The announcement was made to turn off all electronic devices before takeoff and five to six people near me blatantly ignored it. Three different flight staff walked by and they failed to request the electronic devices be deactivated.

As we were accelerating down the runway, people were taking selfies, listening to music and texting.

Their actions were difficult to miss because the dark cabin was lit up by screens.

The same problem occurred during the landing, but luckily the flight attendants sensed my anxious aggravation from the several pleading looks I gave them during their numerous, silent safety checks and actually made three different announcements to turn off electronic devices.

Although some may argue that they spend good money for their flights and therefore should be catered to and pampered, I would argue that I paid good money for my flight with the expectation of getting to my destination alive.

Therefore, I treat the flight attendants with respect, because they are the ones who take care in an emergency, not a Smartphone app.

— Debbie Adams


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