AirAsia Flight Crew Criticized for Screaming As Flight Drops 20,000 Feet


Mahle Gangi, Staff Writer

Sunday, October 15, passengers aboard an AirAsia flight from Perth to Bali were shocked and sent into a panic when oxygen masks deployed and the plane they were on suddenly descended 20,000 feet. The cause for the panic? According to passengers, it was the crew.
Video footage taken by passengers shows the masks deploying and then flight attendants “screaming” at them: “Passengers, get down, passengers, get down.” This is in line with how flight crew routinely reacts when trying to secure passenger safety in the most efficient way possible; however, this was not what the passengers felt was going on. Quotes from passengers used vocabulary such as “hysterical” and “hot panic” when describing the atmosphere of the flight once the yelling began.

One passenger, Clare Askew, said this in regards to the flight crew’s actions: “The panic was escalated because of the behavior of the staff, who were screaming and looked tearful and shocked.” Others who were aboard said that they looked to the flight crew for reassurance but instead found hysteria.

The plane, an Airbus A320, quickly descended from 34,000 feet to 10,000 in just a few minutes. This is not as uncommon practice as some may think. In fact, it’s standard for pilots to do such a thing if a situation involving cabin depressurization arises. AirAsia told CNN over email that “the flight was diverted after a ‘technical issue,” though they did not comment on the allegations made against staff.

This is not the first time AirAsia has faced accusations or criticism. Earlier this year, in June, a pilot strongly encouraged passengers to pray after a technical difficulty cause intense turbulence on a flight from Malaysia to Perth. Another incident in 2014 involving bad weather caused AirAsia Flight QZ8501 to crash into the Java Sea, killing all 155 passengers and 7 crew on board.