What impresses me with cases like this is the speed in which crew go into ‘safety mode’. As with the BA38 incident at Heathrow as well as Asiana at SFO and others, the cabin crew, it appears, received little warning there would an emergency evacuation and still managed to get everyone off safely, bags and the expected strained ankle excepted.
Crew often tell me that the most alert period for trhem is take off and landing and, in circumstances where I’ve been chatting to them at an exit seat at this time – have sometimes been told to basically shut up (very understandable given my tendency towards verbal diorrhea).
We may sometimes complain about silly things like missed drinks and overheated lobster, but these crew come into their own in times like these. Some say crew from western carriers are better at this, but the Asiana incident at San Fran shows how professional non western crew can deal with what would have been a horrendous incident for them (the plane did a cartwheel!).
Hats off to cabin crew from all airlines. They may occasionally be snappy, lazy, indifferent or arrogant (like many of us can be)… but they can also be the difference between us getting off a plane alive or dead.