Reporting Fume Events is crucial!
Many airlines have been implementing a discouragement policy for reporting Fume Events for years. As a result, there is no proper reporting available for the majority of Fume Events that have occurred. This is shockingly evident in the report of an investigation by Aviation Herald into a serious Fume Event in 2018. Subsequently, the absence of these reports has been used to downplay the extent of this problem.
Dr. Susan Michaelis worked as a pilot in Australia for many years. After being forced to end her career due to Aerotoxic Syndrome, she pursued a medical study and obtained a Ph.D. and a Master’s degree in Air Safety, among other qualifications. Susan is qualified as an Aircraft Accident Investigator and is currently the Head of Research at the Global Cabin Air Quality Executive (GCAQE). In this short video, she emphasizes the importance of officially reporting EVERY Fume Event you experience.
Ways to report
If you experience a Fume Event, there are several ways to report these events.
1) If you are an active crew member on board: if possible, always submit an ASR (Air Safety Report) to your own airline. You will likely need the co-signature of the Captain and/or Purser for this. If, for any reason, they are unwilling to cooperate, always submit an ASR with a note indicating that co-signature was refused (preferably with a reason). In the Netherlands, you can also submit a copy of your ASR directly to the Inspection of the Environment and Transport ILenT (this is especially important if the Captain and/or Purser refuse to co-sign!): https://www.ilent.nl/meldformulieren-inspectie-leefomgeving-en-transport. Unfortunately, the “Luchtvaart” category does not provide the option to report a Fume Event, so please choose the “Andere onderwerpen” category and paste your report in the “Wat wilt u melden” section. The page is in Dutch only, but you can paste your report in English as well. You can also report by phone: +31 88 489 0000. Passengers can also report a Fume Event through this link!
2) You can also report a Fume Event through GCARS, the reporting system for fume events created by the Global Cabin Air Quality Executive (GCAQE), the international umbrella organization for combating contaminated cabin air. You can also fill out this online form on their website. GCAQE will then forward your submission (possibly anonymized) to the authorities in the country where the incident occurred or the home base of the respective airline. For more information about this organization, visit the GCAQE website.