The OP was interested in airliner stalls. There are really two scenarios: high and low altitude.
The standard high altitude stall is caused by an auto throttle / auto pilot problem. They’re cruising along Zen-ing out while arguing Union politics and somehow end up with too little thrust. Slowly but surely the airspeed decays while the autopilot continues to hold altitude. The slower they get, the more quickly they decelerate. It might take 10 minutes to lose 20 knots, then 5 minutes for the next 20 knots, then 2 minutes, then …
Eventually they get real slow. Like instead of doing ~280-300 knots indicated speed it’s more like 180. About then shit goes from a little quieter than normal to batshit crazy. The autopilot gets to the end of its authority and disconnects, sounding its alarm. Meantime the airplane starts pounding like a car at 40mph on a washboard dirt road. They still haven’t fully stalled, but they’re nibbling at it.
The standard knee-jerk remedy is full power & lower the nose. Full power takes 4-8 seconds to come in. And on jets with wing-mounted engines mostly forces the nose higher, rather than increasing speed. So now the pilots have to be pushing like mad to lower the nose. If they let the power push the nose up they’ll probably get a bit slower. If that happens they enter wing rock. And about then the stall warning noisemakers finally trigger adding to the confusion.
Wing rock is not something straight-winged airplanes do, but swept wings are real good at it. The airplane starts to wallow, yawing left & right. As it does so, first one wing or the other abruptly drops off 20-30-40 degrees. Then snaps back to level and the airplane rolls off the other way. Lather rinse repeat.
With a well-developed stall you can fall a couple *miles *getting everything back under control. And perhaps sling off an engine, further adding to the confusion. This event will require a pretty complete cabin overhaul to get all the poop & vomit out.
OTOH, if the pilots are a bit more awake, at the first light rumbles before the washboard really starts they stuff the nose down, add power only at the rate they can keep the nose coming down and the airspeed rebuilding. Do that right and most of the folks in back may never really get excited. It still takes a long time to get back up to a safe speed since at altitude even full power is not that much more than it takes just to maintain cruise speed, much less offset the much greater drag at low speed. You absolutely need to supplement the power with a pretty good descent in order to get the airspeed back up.
The bad news is they’ll still lose 3 to 5000 feet doing all this. Which means slicing across other airlanes that might have airplanes in them at just the wrong place.
The two big differences with low altitude stalls is that:
- Engine power is vastly more and if you can offset the much larger power-induced pitch-up with enough nose-down input you can power out with little or no altitude loss.
- The stall warning systems should trigger earlier in the process, alerting the pilots before, not after, the aerodynamic pounding & rocking starts. Recovering from slow-but-not-yet-stalled is much better / easier than recovering from half-or-fully-stalled.