Margo J. VAN DEN BERG
T. Leigh SIGNAL
Philippa H. GANDER
- National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health
- Industrial Health (ISSN:00198366)
- pp.2018-0233, (Released:2019-04-17)
Knowledge about cabin crew fatigue associated with ultra-long range (ULR) flights is still limited. Current ULR scheduling for cabin crew is therefore predominantly based on flight crew data. Cabin crews’ views on fatigue, and their strategies for mitigating it, have seldom been sought. To better understand the causes and consequences of cabin crew fatigue, semi-structured focus group discussions were held. Thematic analysis was undertaken with data from 25 cabin crew. Participants indicated that the consequences of fatigue are twofold, affecting 1) cabin crew health and wellbeing and 2) safety (cabin, passenger and personal) and cabin service. While the primary causes of fatigue were sleep loss and circadian disruption, participants also identified other key factors including: insufficient rest, high workload, the work environment, a lack of company support, and insufficient fatigue management training. They highlighted the importance of sufficient rest, not only for obtaining adequate recovery sleep but also for achieving a work-life balance. They also highlighted the need for company support, effective communication, and management’s engagement with cabin crew in general. We recommend that priority is given to fatigue management training for cabin crew, which may also enhance perceived company support and assist with achieving a better work-life balance.