NEXT time you travel, don’t ignore the flight attendant doing the safety instructions.

Knowing what to do in an emergency may save your life — or those of others.

Frequent fliers are seemingly oblivious of this airline routine as they either doze off, read books or magazines, do everything they fancy — except watch the demonstration.

Were it not for a quick-thinking and selfless flight attendant a lot more people would have died in the crash of Asiana Airlines Flight 214 at San Francisco International Airport last Saturday.

Aside from the two dead casualties, the rest of the passengers and crew were safely evacuated through the emergency slides of the burning airline.

Hailed as a hero in the mass rescue was the flight lead attendant Lee Yoon-hye who risked her life to help many confused passengers make it to safety.

At a news conference, she told of watching another attendant piggyback a young child to safety.

She was the last to leave the wreckage, evoking a fine maritime tradition of the captain being the last to leave a sinking ship.

In the movie “Titanic,” the captain went down with his ship.

“Have you ever heard of an accident where the flight attendants jumped out first?” said a spokeswoman for the Association of Professional Flight Attendants, which counts with 16,000 American Airlines flight attendants.

We’re sure Asiana Airlines will recognize the heroism and dedication to duty of Miss Lee, who suffered a broken tailbone while battling flames and pointing to location of working emergency slides.

Aviation experts are amazed that it took only 90 seconds to clear out the crippled airline.

Many passengers stayed calm and helped in the speedy evacuation.

But some passengers, against regulation, brought their carry-ons on their way down to the ground.

Lugging down a carry-on bag in the aisle in such an emergency is a no-no.

When seconds can spell life or death, holding personal belongings is reckless and daring.

Flight attendants should have yanked out, if need be, the carry-ons.

But Asians being courteous by nature, the items got past the attendants.

Some of the victims of 9/11 would have been alive had they not gone back to their offices to retrieve personal items.

As federal investigators put the pieces together to determine the cause or causes of the crash, the airline resumes its flights to the countries it serves, including the Philippines.

Asiana is among the airlines of choice by Filipinos in the United States, for its fine Asian food, its competitive rates, and fine service.

If a lesson is to be drawn from the crash-landing, it is this: Follow the instructions of the crew in an emergency.

And pay attention to the safety demonstration.

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