For the last five years, you may well have seen a growing number of airlines and aviation-industry insiders celebrating what’s become known as either International Cabin Crew Appreciation Day or International Flight Attendant Day. No one really knows how the 31st May became dedicated to the 570,000 strong worldwide cabin crew community but it’s been growing in popularity every year and most airlines have jumped on the bandwagon.
But rather than simply being another Hallmark Holiday – in fact, have you ever even seen a cabin crew appreciation greeting card? – this international day of celebration has just become an official UN-sanctioned event.
Delegates at a recent high-level meeting of the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) – The specialist arm of the United Nations that manages aviation around the world – managed to set aside some time to discuss the proposal and the idea won enough support from countries like Australia, France, Spain and Russia.
“An international day to promote the role of cabin crew would promote the diverse and safety-critical role that cabin crew provide to aviation,” explained a working paper submitted by the International Transport Workers Federation (ITF) backing the idea.
The ITF argued that cabin crew have “one of the most essential safety roles in the aviation industry” and deserve to be celebrated for their role in keeping passengers safe since the early 20th century. But this isn’t just about honouring what has come before…
The whole point of International Cabin Crew day, as the ITF see’s it, is to use the day to promote diversity within aviation, and to educate potential recruits and the wider travelling public of the safety-critical roles and responsibilities that come with being a flight attendant.
“There is still a strong tendency to put emphasis on the so-called ‘female’ service component of the job done by cabin crew and not on the critical role they hold in protecting the safety of the aircraft, crew and passengers,” the working paper notes.
In 2019, International Cabin Crew Day was recognised by organisations from at least 32 ICAO member states but 2020 could see participation skyrocket. Mark the date in your diary and remember to show some love on 31st May.