Earlier this week, a 38-year-old Singapore Airlines (SIA) flight attendant was found dead in her San Francisco hotel room just several hours before her scheduled return trip to Singapore. The body of the veteran SIA stewardess was found in the room by colleagues after she didn’t show up in the hotel lobby to check out.
A tragic passing — but apparently one that may or may not have been prevented. According to an anonymous source who spoke to The Straits Times, Yeap had stated that she wasn’t feeling well when cabin crew arrived in San Francisco.
Some would wonder, of course: Why did the leading stewardess even make the long-haul flight if she was already sick? According to one former SIA employee, it all boils down to the company’s “severely flawed” medical ‘rewarding’ system, i.e. there’s a reason why SIA’s cabin crew often refuse to take medical leave and continue working even if they are badly indisposed.
A little known fact in one of Singapore’s most glamorous and most sought-after jobs is SIA’s super-strict medical leave policy — any medical leave taken by cabin crew will mean a deduction of points that’ll significantly impact opportunities to be eligible for a promotion. Of course, this same system can be argued for any other businesses (take too many sick leaves, you get penalised), but as Aaron Tan explains, SIA’s system seems to push people beyond their limits of health and wellbeing.
Mind you, this is all according to the subjective experience of one former SIA employee, and may not actually apply to all. Nonetheless, it’s an enlightening look into one of the darker aspects of working in the well-paying dream job of being part of a cabin crew. Read his open note below before it gets requested to be taken down: