27th March 2024

Neurodiverse Crew

Initial Report

There has been an influx of new crew and many of them are posting on social media that they have ADHD and saying their symptoms make their role difficult e.g. can only work one position, canā€™t concentrate, short attention span, and are easily distracted, are unable to listen or carry out instructions, canā€™t organise tasks, have little or no sense of danger.

They openly admit that this wasnā€™t disclosed at their medical.

I am concerned that an ADHD diagnosis is not compatible with a safety critical role and how they would perform in an emergency.


Company Comment

Since the pandemic the business was subject to a reorganisation. As a result, the Occupational Health function has been outsourced and the recruitment process simplified which may have contributed to some incidents regards to neurodiversity.

A number of steps have been taken as below to prevent reoccurrence:

  • For future training courses, delegates will be sent a link with a declaration to say they do/do not have reasonable adjustments to declare.
  • This will be reviewed and see if any support is required. Any concerns will trigger a formal review including an Occupational Health referral.
  • A company neurodiversity policy is being written as we write which will cover ā€˜safety critical rolesā€™ such as cabin crew.
  • If crew fail to disclose neurodiversity and this is later discovered an Occupational Health referral will be required and a review by the line manager.

Some challenges experienced with neurodiversity subject:

  • The regulator does not provide guidance on neurodiversity for the recruitment of cabin crew
  • Neurodiversity conditions are on a spectrum which normally require individual assessment around safety related behaviours

Employment law would have a part to play in the form of the Equality Act (2010). If ā€˜reasonable adjustmentsā€™ cannot be made/those adjustments are incompatible with the role/or the safety concerns are so significant then the operator has the ability to manage the behaviours from a safety angle and if required, terminate the employment contract.

Our organisation spent a considerable amount of time and effort giving people every opportunity from point of application to declare, confidentially any condition that they have that might require support and adjustment. When this does not happen, it will be for crew management to address following an occurrence report

CAA Comment

The assessment of cabin crew fitness is carried out by Aeromedical examiners or occupational physicians appointed by the Authority. These individuals have the requisite knowledge of this safety critical role to make appropriate decisions on fitness. This includes experience in assessing individuals with neurodiversity, the spectrum of which is broad. Individuals must declare medical conditions to their examiner and this is part of their obligation to maintain the safety of flight.

CHIRP Comment

Most organisations have strict policies regarding the appropriate use of social media and any safety-related concerns raised on these platforms should be reported internally.

Flying can be compatible with neurodevelopmental conditions and some neurodiverse characteristics may even be advantageous in the role as cabin crew. It is important that the sector adopts appropriateĀ practices regarding diversity, equity, and inclusion to encourage others to pursue careers as cabin crew.

A cabin crew initial medical is an in person physical assessment by a aeromedical examiner or occupational physician approved by the CAA. This usually commences with a questionnaire and declaration and then the physical assessment. When completing the medical questionnaire and declaration, it is essential to be truthful and obtain the available support if it is required. Medical requirements for cabin crew – information for airline operators | Civil Aviation Authority (

If a crew member has declared their neurodevelopmental condition and passed their fitness assessment, completed their training to the satisfaction of the operator and performs appropriately when flying then as with any condition this is acceptable. However, should any condition prevent a crew member from performing their day-to-day role appropriately, especially any safety-related duties, then this would have to be managed accordingly via the SCCM/operator.