The Senior Cabin Crew Member (SCCM), also referred to as the In-flight Service Manager (ISM), Flight Service Director (FSD), Customer Service Manager (CSM), Cabin Service Director (CSD), or by other titles, is the senior flight attendant in the flight attendant chain of command. The SSCM is responsible to the captain/commander for passenger safety and cabin security, and accountable to the Company for customer service. The designation of "SCCM" is a company appointment and does not necessarily mean that the SCCM is the most senior, in terms of years of service with the company, of the crew members on a flight. Qualifications for SCCM appointment vary by carrier but will virtually always include previous experience as a flight attendant. Further training, both classroom and in-flight, is typical, and a new SCCM will normally conduct their first flight(s) in the role whilst under the supervision of a designated trainer. The SCCM will typically earn a higher salary or hourly wage than other flight attendants due to the added responsibility and managerial aspects of the role.
Within their regulations, the National Aviation Authority (NAA) will define both the aircraft capacity threshold beyond which a Flight Attendant must be carried (in excess of 19 passenger seats is a common rule), and the incremental requirement for additional flight attendants, based on varying combinations of the number of emergency exits and either the total number of seats or the actual number of passengers on board. When there is more than one flight attendant on the crew, one will be designated as the SCCM. On very large aircraft, such as the BOEING 747-800, the BOEING 777-300, the AIRBUS A350-1000 and the AIRBUS A380-800, it is common practice, in many companies, to subdivide the cabin area into several sections with a designated in-charge flight attendant for each. However, a SCCM, with overall responsibility for the entire aircraft, will still be assigned.
The International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) has not mandated a global requirement for Cabin Crew Licensing. As a consequence, the licensing, certification and training requirements for Flight Attendants vary by NAA. Likewise, the prerequisites for employment as a Senior Cabin Crew Member vary from company to company. Virtually all carriers demand previous experience as a flight attendant before considering an individual for employment as a SCCM. One year is generally considered the minimum although there are companies that demand significantly more time in the subordinate role. Candidates will normally be screened based on their aptitude, attitude, crew assessments and the recommendations of their supervisors. Date of hire (company seniority) is often used as the discriminator between equally qualified candidates.
Flight Attendant training requirements for their safety and security roles are dictated by the NAA and will include items such as cabin safety, security and evacuation, first aid and cardio pulmonary resuscitation (CPR), and fire fighting. The scope of customer service training, such as meal and beverage service or sale of duty free items, is determined by the company. As part of their SCCM training, a flight attendant will review their previous safety and service training from a supervisory perspective and will be trained in the requirements for, and the completion of, all associated forms and reports. SCCM training can be done "in-house' or through a third-party provider. The training syllabus will normally include items such as:
The classroom training phase will be followed by a Company determined period of on-the-job training, during which the candidate will act as the SCCM under the supervision of a designated trainer.
Duties and Responsibilities
As stated earlier, the SCCM is responsible to the captain for all aspects of safety and security and accountable to the company for customer service. Service duties will vary by company, flight duration and with the size of the aircraft and number of crew members. From a safety and security perspective, the duties of the SCCM include, but are not limited to:
- Ensuring preflight liaison with the captain to ascertain flight details (time, weather, areas of adverse conditions such as turbulence), special instructions and considerations, and to confirm emergency signals
- Conducting preflight crew briefing to assign crew positions, review flight conditions, confirm revision status of flight attendant manuals, review selected emergency procedures, and to assess the grooming standard amongst the crew members
- Supervising pre-boarding cabin security and emergency equipment checks to ensure all required equipment is onboard and serviceable, that there are no suspicious packages or items present within the cabin, and to to verify that there is no evidence that the security of the cabin has been compromised
- Ensuring that sufficient meals, beverages, bar stock and duty free items have been boarded, checked for security and appropriately stowed
- In coordination with the captain, commencing passenger boarding at the appropriate time, ensuring that boarding documentation is verified when required and that carry-on baggage conforms to company standards and limitations
- Making appropriate public address (PA) system announcements during boarding and, as appropriate, during all other phases of flight
- Conducting passenger safety briefings/demonstrations, either live or by pre-recorded video
- Ensuring that the total number of passengers on board matches the passenger manifest
- Advising the captain when boarding is complete and, in coordination with the Captain and Ground Supervisor, ensuring that all cabin doors are closed and secured
- Ensuring that Flight Deck Security is maintained at all times
- Directing the arming (and disarming) of door emergency evacuation slides
- Ensuring that the cabin is secure (passengers seated with seat belts fastened, all cabin baggage stowed and secured, all galleys and lavatories secure) for takeoff, landing and at any other time directed by the captain
- Coordinating and directing the efforts of the cabin crew in the event of an inflight fire or other emergency, a medical incident or an unruly passenger
- In the event of a diversion, or the requirement for an emergency landing or ditching, coordinating with the Captain to obtain the emergency briefing, briefing the cabin crew and supervising the preparation of the cabin and passengers
- Ensuring that the captain is kept aware of any security issue, medical concern, equipment malfunction or any emergency situation in a clear, unambiguous manner
- Completing and submitting all required forms and paperwork inclusive of, but not limited to:
- customs forms and general declarations
- accident and incident reports
- commissary reports, duty free reconciliation reports
- Flight Attendant assessment reports
- Company flight reports