It's hard to think of anything more saddening in recent history than the Germanwings plane crash. Too many people were on that plane that should still be here today. I am an avid flight geek and fascinated by all things flight deck. Post 9/11 we created an impenetrable steel fortress to make sure that no unauthorized personnel ever got into the cockpit again. I take great comfort when I see airline stewards block the aisle from passengers attempting to make forward advances when the cockpit door is open. There is another precaution that many airlines take that I now feel more strongly about than ever.
I was shocked and fascinated to read this week that the "one in, one out" rule was not a world wide aviation law. For those unfamiliar, the idea is that if a member of the cockpit crew needs to use the lavatory or stretch their legs, a member of the cabin crew enters the cockpit in their absence to ensure that two people are on deck. Cabin crew often have basic flight and cockpit familiarity training and the idea is to ensure that in the event of the emergency, the lone pilot left in the cockpit has an extra set of hands until help can return. I can't help but wonder if the co pilot of the Germanwings plane, who deliberately crashed it killing 150 souls, would have had far greater trouble achieving his heinous goal if this rule had been in affect.
In my opinion, having a cabin crew member replace a flight deck crew member helps every way you cut it. If the pilot has a heart attack and cannot get out of his seat to open the door, the cabin crew member can take necessary steps to steady the plane, attend to the pilots medical needs and open the door for the returning cockpit team member. If there is a technical emergency, the pilot in command has a capable set of hands to help twist levers and push buttons to deal with the problem until his flying partner returns. I was thrilled to see that in response to the tragedy many airlines including Lufthansa, Emirates, Norwegian, Virgin, Air Berlin, Monarch, New Zealand, Air Canada and more are now instituting this rule whether mandated by law or not. I for one will aim to only fly airlines who do so from here on out.
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