Alaska Airlines acknowledged that two of its flight attendants were taken to the hospital after becoming ill after inhaling a “strong chemical odor” on a flight from Seattle to San Jose on Friday.
The two flight attendants were in the aircraft’s rear galley, and no other employees or passengers were harmed, according to an airline representative. Onboard were 44 passengers, three additional flight attendants, and two pilots.
At around 10 a.m. on Friday, Alaska Airlines flight AS338 was nearing San Jose when the flight attendants in the back of the plane began to feel ill.
An ambulance was dispatched to the scene, and the two were transported to a local hospital for additional evaluation after being evaluated on the plane.
Flight attendants who are exposed to a “smoke, odor, or fume” occurrence should document their symptoms and seek medical attention as soon as possible, according to the Association of Flight Attendants (AFA-CWA), which represents Alaska Airlines crewmembers.
Alaska Airlines said the Airbus A320 plane that was involved in the incident on Friday had been taken out of service for engineering examinations.
On Friday, an onward flight from San Jose to Portland was canceled, but the 11-year-old plane is set to go back to Seattle on a revenue route later that day.
Because of the destructive impact that so-called “smoke, odor, or fume” events can have on the short and long term health of individuals exposed to them, they are sometimes referred to as “toxic fume events” in the business.
According to a Los Angeles Times study into data from a NASA-run aviation safety reporting system, more than 400 passengers and flight attendants aboard US-operated flights could have been harmed by “toxic gases” between January 2018 and December 2019.
Because the dossier only featured voluntary complaints, campaigners for improved airline cabin air warn that the number of sickened passengers and personnel documented in the inquiry could be merely the tip of the iceberg.
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) does not keep track of’smoke, odor, or fume’ (SOF) occurrences, however American Airlines is believed to have reported 1,644 SOF incidences from January to December 2019.
According to anecdotal evidence, SOF occurrences occur more frequently on Airbus A320 series aircraft than on Boeing 737 series aircraft. Some SOF incidents are linked to the bleed air system, which uses the engines to give fresh air to the cabin.
Engine oil or other substances can vaporize and be sucked into the cabin through the bleed air outlet in rare situations.
While unpleasant, odor occurrences, according to Airbus, are not dangerous and cannot create long-term health problems.