Was an Etihad Flight Attendant Really Screaming During an Emergency Landing? No: Video Emerges

Last Tuesday’s Etihad flight EY450 from Abu Dhabi to Sydney turned back to Abu Dhabi shortly after takeoff as the result of a problem with the Boeing 777-300’s left engine.

The plane, with 329 passengers on board, took off from runway 13R and climbed to 4000 feet when the crew encountered issues with the engine. They returned to runway 13L, and stopped at the end of the runway for inspection to ensure it was safe to allow passengers to disembark.

The pilot “apologized [to passengers] for “being busy” earlier” and limiting communication. .

One person shared the following details, reporting that they were a passenger onboard:

I was on this flight and make some more observations:
1. There was a loud bang & some vibration just at or after rotation
2. One panel of oxygen masks was released above row 24. A result of shock and a poorly latched cover, or a sudden change in cabin pressure due to the loss of an aircon unit (?)
3.It was immediately obvious that rate of climb was very low (or nil) & there was a brief slight left yaw
4. We spent about 3 minutes around 1500 ft while the airspeed slowly increased, maintaining runway heading
5. Then the aircraft climbed slowly to 4000ft, turning back to AUH
6. The landing was fast (210 kts, normal around 150) as you’d expect for an aircraft at close to MTOW
7. The landing was remarkably uneventful; some yaw, little else of note. The main tyres likely didn’t deflate until after the end of the landing roll; the heat from the brakes went to the wheels and melted the fuse plugs.
8. It is also of note that the takeoff speed was lower than usual (abt 190 instead of abt 210)

A 19 year old passenger onboard told The Australian that a flight attendant was screaming.

The student said “everyone was crying and screaming. Everyone was holding hands. The worst thing was the stewardess opposite me screaming and screaming.”

Disembarking an Etihad Boeing 777-200LR in Abu Dhabi, 2015

Etihad disputed this account.

“She was shouting ‘brace, brace, brace’”, the spokesman said, adding that this was “in accordance with our training and the safety procedures of most world airlines in such circumstances”.

You might expect the airline not to admit that this happened if it did. However eyewitness accounts are notoriously unreliable, especially after traumatic events and especially when 19 year olds get to be featured in The Australian. So it’s not really possible to reconcile the two competing accounts, except by checking with others onboard.

Unless, that is, unless there’s video from inside the cabin of the plane. Which… of course there is.

And it seems to bolster the version offered by the airline.

The soundtrack records screaming, crying and wailing, some apparently from children or infants. It is interspersed by what seems to be both male and female voices calling “brace brace” at various intervals – none sounding at all panicked. Applause sounds (3.24 on the clip) when the plane touches down, followed by a quick message to crew from the captain.

Here’s the audio, as posted to YouTube:

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. I find it funny that this page constantly just posts things about flight attendants just for the sake of digging at them.

    I am not a flight attendant, but I do fly lots as an Executive Platinum, and I really believe you treat others as you would want to them to treat you. I don’t have bad experiences with flight attendants on my flight, because I see them and treat them as fellow human beings, they do a job and perform a role that many of us would not want to, or if we did would not be able to function as well as most of them do.

    Complaining about a flight attendant screaming directions as to what to do is just stupid. It’s the same as complaining about a doctor sticking you with a needle when they need to draw blood. The point is IT’S NECESSARY.

    Unless you have been in an emergency like that, and I have, you have no idea how caotic it can be. People are stressed, they panic, they don’t know what to do, we don’t function as well under pressure like that. We are lucky they are trained to keep calm and to be able to function as they do in those situations, cause in all honesty, WE ARE NOT.

    They don’t scream at you, they scream so that everyone on a plane can hear them, they don’t have PA announcements playing and they are not allowed to use the phone for that cause the wire blocks the exit.

    This 19yo is a kid, who is too sensitive, maybe when he gets in the real world he will see how things really are.

    People need to stop whining about unimportant things. If you don’t like flying and what might go with it, stay home or drive, go by boat even.

  2. @Gary, thanks for posting. It seems some media outlets go out of their way to pull down the competition, especially if they’re the M3

  3. Brace is command given by a cabin crew so that passenger come to a safe position to avoid physical damage by landing impact..it is a procedure to be followed. however it was unplanned emergency landing command should be ” bend over headsdown ” if require a n evacuation after aircraft come to a complete stop after assessing the outside situation or else ask passengers to stay calm . if situation occurs to life threatening situation, intiate the evacuation by shouting I repeat by SHOUTING the command . so that each passenger could hear her commands and they could evacuate with in 90 second cos after that could be the chance of flash over roll ..cos aircraft reserve the fuel in belly of the aircraft…and engines are attached at the wings are sensitive to catch the fire. so my dear cabin crew’s first responsibility is to save each life in board not to see your comfort at the time of the emergency.

  4. I loved the coherent and calm comment from the captain at the end of the video and also the response from the passengers. Very professional.

  5. I once flew a pane where I was the oilot and the only occupant, and I started screaming “brace,” ‘brace.” Needless to say, the landing didn;t turn out well

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