English: Lightning alert
French: Alerte de foudre
Here’s a preview of the French you can expect to learn in Module 5 of Canadian French for Flight Attendants.
As a flight attendant, you’ll definitely have flights that fly during stormy weather, especially in the summertime. Thunderstorms can cause delays and flight attendants need the vocabulary to communicate this information to passengers.
Planes are made to fly through thunderstorms and can fly fine even when struck by lightning. That being said, we still try to avoid flying through thunderstorms. Lightning strikes can cause structural damage to the plane that needs to be fixed before its next flight.
Furthermore, lightning near an airport can cause delays for ground operations. Airports have lightning detection systems and if they detect lightning strikes nearby, the airport authorities may declare a lightning alert, also called a red alert. During a red alert, ramp agents (and other personnel that work on the ramp) are not permitted to be outside, working beside large metal airplanes standing on rubber wheels, as there is a risk of them being struck by lightning. Similarly, during a thunderstorm, we learn that being inside a car is safe, but standing beside one is not. Lightning might be attracted to the metallic car, but it would have difficulty finding the ground through the rubber tires, thus jump to the person standing beside the car, and travel through the body to the ground, thereby electrocuting the person.
Therefore, during a lightning alert at an airport, ramp agents cannot be outside, and thus cannot park planes that have landed, cannot push planes back for departure, and cannot handle baggage.
If your plane lands during a lightning alert, you’ll have to wait on the ramp area until the alert is lifted, so that the ramp agents can come out to park your plane. Information must be relayed to the passengers during this delay. The lightning alert will last for however long the airport detects lightning. I’ve personally had one last for only a few minutes because we landed at the tail-end of the lightning alert in Montreal (YUL). I’ve also had one last about 3 hours in Edmonton (YEG) a few years ago.