12 Nov, 2022 @ 10:00
1 min read

Iberia in Spain ordered by court to rethink cabin crew procedures due to ‘risk when closing overhead lockers’

Los Pasillos De Aeropuerto Adolfo Suarez Madrid Barajas Practicamente Vacios Por El Covid19
Iberia planes on the runway of Madrid Barajas-Adolfo Suarez Airport " (Photo by Fer Capdepon Arroyo/Pacific Press)

THE SPANISH High Court has ruled that airline Iberia will have to take action to ensure that its cabin crew don’t injure themselves when closing the overhead lockers.

What’s more, changes will be needed to the crew’s uniforms too, given that the new designs are unsuitable for the task. 

The case was brought by the company’s works committee due to the incorporation of the Airbus A350 into its fleet. The aeroplane has high-capacity overhead lockers, the doors of which support the weight of the cases contained inside. As such, they require greater effort to close compared to other designs with a hinged door. 

In its ruling, the court stated that Iberia will have to start checking the weight of passengers’ hand luggage to ensure that the total content of each locker does not exceed the maximum permitted by the manufacturer. 

The risk to the cabin crew exists due to the need for greater effort when closing the lockers, as well as an inclined position to reach them. 

The court analysed the conditions the crew must work under, pointing out that, with a locker height of 2.2 metres, the job is particularly difficult “in particular for female workers with a height of 1.6 metres or similar”. 

The court ruled that the lockers must be closed by two members of the crew if one of them is shorter than 1.63 metres. 

The judges overseeing the case also instructed Iberia to reevaluate its uniforms, given that the latest design for female crew members is “more uncomfortable and rigid” around the shoulders, impeding the movements needed to close the overhead lockers.

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Simon Hunter

Simon Hunter has been living in Madrid since the year 2000 and has worked as a journalist and translator practically since he arrived. For 16 years he was at the English Edition of Spanish daily EL PAÍS, editing the site from 2014 to 2022, and is currently one of the Spain reporters at The Times. He is also a voice actor, and can be heard telling passengers to "mind the gap" on Spain's AVLO high-speed trains.

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