Cockpit-cabin communication: II. Shall we tell the pilots?Int J Aviat Psychol. 1996; 6(3):211-31.IJ
In a previous article (Chute & Wiener, 1995), we explored the coordination between the "two cultures" in an airliner's crew: cockpit and cabin. In this article, we discuss a particular problem: the dilemma facing the cabin crew when they feel that they have safety-critical information and must decide whether to take it to the cockpit. We explore the reasons for the reluctance of the flight attendant to come forward with the information, such as self-doubt about the accuracy or importance of the information, fear of dismissal or rebuke by the pilots, and misunderstanding of the sterile cockpit rule. Insight into crew attitudes was based on our examination of accident and incident reports and data from questionnaires submitted by pilots and flight attendants at two airlines. The results show confusion and disagreement about what is permissible to take to the cockpit when it is sterile, as well as imbalances in authority and operational knowledge. Possible remedies are proposed.