Airline feels the pressure

20 September 2018 | Aaron Wise

I’m going to start this blog with some cold, hard facts. Ready? The UK has a population of just over 65 million people, with more than 21 million of those afraid of flying. That’s around a third of Brits.

According to a recent survey by YouGov, acrophobia (fear of heights) and aerophobia (fear of flying) are the first and fourth biggest phobias respectively amongst us Brits.

So, it’s no wonder we tend to get a little anxious during take-off – we have good reason to be. It’s not natural for humans to be around 35,000ft in the air in an enclosed space travelling at over 500mph – sorry if you’re reading this and have a flight coming up!

Although, side note: There’s a 1 in almost 10,000 chance of coming to harm in the air, making flying the safest mode of transport.

Still, with one in ten of us nervous about taking to the skies, it falls upon airlines to ensure its passengers have the safest and most comfortable journey possible.

Unfortunately, one Indian airline this week made a simple yet deadly mistake which has probably done enough to put-off the 166 passengers on board from ever flying again.

A Jet Airways Boeing 737 aircraft took off from Mumbai on Thursday morning en route to Jaupur, but, not long after taking off, those on board with aerophobia soon had their worst fears realised.

Scenes straight out of a disaster movie unfolded as passengers began to bizarrely bleed from the ears and nose, while others suffered intense migraines. The reason? The cockpit crew had forgotten to switch on the cabin pressure – ouch!

Oxygen levels would have been dangerously thin, and videos have since emerged of passengers applying their oxygen masks as the plane was forced to turn back.

Thankfully, no one was fatally injured in this shocking incident, but of the 30 passengers that received initial treatment at Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport, eight went on to be hospitalised. We can number crunch all we want, but the harsh reality is the airline will have lost the faith of its loyal customers and all future passengers.

This is extremely detrimental PR for Jet Airways and I fail to see how they can win back the trust of the public. Personally, I’m not afraid of flying, but if I was on that plane I would never board a Jet Airways flight again, regardless of what they tried to do to rectify the situation.

The airline has since issued an apology, but the damage has already been done. Of the 166 passengers on board that flight, I bet 166 now have aerophobia. The pressure really in on for Jet Airways now.