After reading pax reports from various websites related to the language barrier between cabin crew and pax, I have been searching ICAO, IOSA, JAA and many others trying to find out what actual regulations are; not from a "pax comfort" but from a safety perspective, taking into account the (IMO) crucial point that in case of an emergency, it is highly advisable that pax can understand cabin crew members.
Years ago I worked for an airline and I recall that on a particular flight (flying hajji to Jeddah - nearly 300 of them...) a minor emergency situation developped whereby the cabin crew was instructed to take (well known) safety dispositions.
Clear announcements in slow and articulated English produced as much effect as asking the time to a donkey, so the cabin crew (all experienced and female), following instructions of the cabin chief and in perfect coordination,
proceeded by signs....despite the fact that all were pilgrims believing in a (even better) after life, what ensued was undescribable chaos, and of course no safety dispositions were taken, to the contrary.
Can anyone aware of cabin safety regulations or a f/a him/herself tell us what
are the requirements concerning crew to pax communications ?
Note: new regulations oblige require flight deck crew (worldwide) to reach a rather high knowledge of the English language (level 4...5 being a native speaker) by 2008.