A flight attendant working for Dutch airline KLM has reportedly been arrested in Singapore. The crime of which this person is allegedly guilty? Leaving their hotel room. The crew member is apparently still stuck in Singapore.
Arrested for going to the lobby
Some countries, including Singapore, have put in place strict rules governing the behaviors of international flight crews. In the island nation, as well as in Thailand and China, crew must remain inside their hotel room for the entire period between arriving and departing the country.
This rule applies to cabin crew, as well as pilots and any other personnel who have flown in. The employees are transported from the airport directly to the hotel, and are not allowed to even open the door of their rooms until it’s time to go back to the airport again. These are some of the strictest regulations being faced by crew today.
In the KLM incident, the crew member did not even leave the hotel to be arrested. The crew member involved apparently left their room and went down to the lobby of the hotel. The reason for this is unknown, and it’s not clear whether the person realized that the lobby, too, was out of bounds.
KLM confirmed the incident to NH Nieuws, but declined any further comment. A spokesperson told the publication,
“On November 14, a member of the KLM crew violated local corona quarantine rules by temporarily leaving his hotel room without permission. we make no further announcements.”
According to the publication, the offending crew member is currently in a detention room awaiting charges.
Cabin crew in corona times
While most airlines are taking extreme precautions with the health of their cabin crew, operating during a pandemic is not the most pleasant experience. From wearing PPE to being confined to quarters on a layover, times have changed a lot for cabin crew and pilots alike this year.
In China, the civil aviation regulator has requested cabin crew to wear disposable diapers when on flights to and from high risk countries. This is to avoid them needing to visit the bathroom on the plane. Other flight attendants have been even less fortunate, with thousands being furloughed or made redundant from their jobs.
Nevertheless, things are starting to look up. Hopes of a working vaccine could begin to reset the situation as we move through 2021. For Singaporeans, however, borders remain largely closed. There was hopes that the nation would form a travel bubble with Hong Kong, but a rise in cases meant the plan was scrapped at the last minute. Now, the nation is looking to Australia for a travel bubble, but it remains to be seen if this goes ahead.
For now, traveling around Asia and Oceania remains a difficult proposal, and for those crew who are operating the few charter flights in and out, layovers are not at all like they used to be.