767Lover From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR: Posted (9 years 5 months 3 weeks 6 days 19 hours ago) and read 6717 times:
Absent flight attendants thwart Delta operations
By PAUL KAPLAN
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
For hundreds of metro Atlantans, Delta Air Lines will always be synonymous with Christmas Day -- for all the wrong reasons.
Delta had to cancel or delay more than 30 flights Thursday, many of them out of Atlanta, because flight attendants did not show up for work. At least 13 flights out of Atlanta were listed as canceled.
"They're screwing up hundreds of people's vacations," fumed Joel Babbit, an Atlanta public relations executive whose Christmas flight to Puerto Rico was canceled.
Babbit said an airline official told the stranded passengers that not enough flight attendants had arrived to satisfy federal regulations for the Atlanta-to-San Juan run.
Delta personnel at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport were scrambling all day to find alternate flights -- even on other airlines, when necessary -- to move the inconvenienced passengers.
"Right now the flights are moving and we feel that the flight attendant situation is manageable," Delta spokesman Joshua Smith said at midday.
Although it was hard to ignore that the employee no-shows occurred on Christmas Day, Smith said he would not "speculate" about whether the missing flight attendants had chosen their families over the airline's passengers.
"I don't want the flight attendants portrayed as a problem," Smith said. "They are professionals. It's hard to say what the exact reason is."
Smith pointed out that there's been "a terrible case of the flu this season. Hypothetically, we could have an abnormally high number of sickouts."
That would not explain why Delta was the only airline that had major cancellations Thursday, or why much of the problem was in Atlanta, where the flu season has been about average for the nation, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The heightened terror alert was not a factor. "We have no cancellations due to security issues," Smith said.
Stranded passenger Babbit wasn't buying into any theories about the flu.
"I think it's a reflection of the work ethic at Delta," he said.
Delta's incoming chief executive, Gerald Grinstein, was not available for comment, Smith said.
Delta flight attendants are not unionized, so it was not known whether the no-shows were related to a grievance.
In February 2002, Delta's flight attendants voted to remain nonunion. At that time, just 29 percent of them voted to support efforts to unionize by the Association of Flight Attendants.
Delta flight attendant Andrea Taylor, who supports efforts to unionize, said what happened Thursday was not a sickout, but more the result of many flight attendants taking sick leave before the end of the year. Delta flight attendants will receive far fewer sick days in 2004, therefore "any flight attendant who needs a hangnail removed is doing it before 2004," she said.
Smith declined further comment late Thursday.
Delta was able to salvage some flights instead of canceling them by contacting flight attendants who were on call for Christmas Day. Most of them reported to work within two hours, Smith said. The canceled and delayed flights included runs to several major destinations, including Chicago, Charlotte, Orlando, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Mexico City and San Juan.
Passengers on at least one canceled international flight had to stay overnight in Atlanta, but most passengers on other flights were rerouted within 45 minutes, Smith said.
Two flights were canceled for mechanical reasons, Smith said. Delta was working to press planes into duty that otherwise would have had Christmas Day off in order to accommodate passengers from those flights, he said.
Staff writer Mary Lou Pickel contributed to this article.
Matt D From United States of America, joined Nov 1999, 9502 posts, RR: 51 Reply 2, posted (9 years 5 months 3 weeks 6 days 18 hours ago) and read 6509 times:
Well for what it's worth, maybe this will blow a big hole in Upper Managements pompous mantra of "We Don't Need You, But You Need Us" attitude; that employees are a liability as opposed to an asset.
If some anonymous bean counter decides not to show up one day, business will still go on. But let a few pilots, F/A's, mechanics, or even gate agents not show, then we'll see who really makes or breaks the airline.
Good for them. Sux for the passengers, who get caught in the middle of this.
Luv2fly From United States of America, joined May 2003, 11957 posts, RR: 51 Reply 3, posted (9 years 5 months 3 weeks 6 days 18 hours ago) and read 6423 times:
Well I am not surprised! The pay cuts so far at Delta have all been on the backs of the non union workers and that is everyone except the pilots. Also with management and the retention bonus's, this is only the beginning.
PiedmontGirl From United States of America, joined Nov 2003, 1124 posts, RR: 14 Reply 4, posted (9 years 5 months 3 weeks 6 days 17 hours ago) and read 6367 times:
I am not surprised at this turn of events either. So long as DL was operating with management that came up through the ranks in house, it worked well.
If memory serves me correctly, the last DL in house CEO was Hollis Harris. Ron Allen was the first non in house CEO at DL and he virtually destroyed most of the DL loyalty and a great deal of the work ethic that was there. The previous DL CEO, Leo Mullin, was no prize either.
TOLtommy From United States of America, joined Dec 2003, 3224 posts, RR: 4 Reply 8, posted (9 years 5 months 3 weeks 6 days 17 hours ago) and read 6185 times:
Ron Allen was an in-house DL CEO. Worked his whole career at DL. Don't know why he thought so differently, and just who convinced him that 7.5 was a good idea. But the man destroyed a good airline. DL's never been the same. He changed it from a family to just another company. They shoulda convinced Hollis to come back after he retired from AC. But I understand he's having a good time playing with his little airline down in PTC... Couldn't happen to a nicer guy.
B747-437B From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR: Reply 10, posted (9 years 5 months 3 weeks 6 days 16 hours ago) and read 6053 times:
The irony of the entire situation is that if the union had been voted in back in Jan 2002, this sorry state of affairs would not exist today. Regardless what Andrea Taylor says publicly, this was a plain old sickout - official or not. Gee, I wonder if they called Sharon Wibben to fill in - after all she is FA qualified as the propoganda never stopped telling folks.
TOLtommy From United States of America, joined Dec 2003, 3224 posts, RR: 4 Reply 11, posted (9 years 5 months 3 weeks 6 days 16 hours ago) and read 6003 times:
Riiiiiight.... Having a union would've solved this problem....
There's never been a sickout at a unionized carrier, has there.
Oh wait, they were just better organized!
Had a union been voted in in 2002, they likely would still not have a contract. First contracts take a long time to sort out. Only thing that's certain if the DL FA's had voted in the union is that the AFA wouldn't have had to "merge" with the CWA. There would've been more than 10000 new dues paying members to keep the AFA in the black. But hey' if you have to merge, the CWA is a good choice. After all, they've been so effective keeping jobs at US...
Tbear815 From United States of America, joined Jun 2003, 704 posts, RR: 5 Reply 12, posted (9 years 5 months 3 weeks 6 days 15 hours ago) and read 5932 times:
As usual and not surprisingly, PiedmontGirl's thoughts and ethics show through. Sweetheart, you may be retired, but some airline somewhere should recognize your talents and bring you aboard as SVP of Inflight and Customer Service. Sure as hell beats the MBA bean counters!
About a non-union sickout: I don't know, but the organization I work for has a "use it or lose it" policy. They're pretty good about "pre-need" sick days so you don't lose them, but there has to be good relations between management and line personnel. Regretably, I don't see this in many airline management policies. Maybe the execs should be required to work the line (ramp, gate, crew [supernumerary], etc.) every year like a "refresher" so they get a dose of reality.
Flairport From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR: Reply 13, posted (9 years 5 months 3 weeks 6 days 15 hours ago) and read 5931 times:
if there is any good news it is this:
It was on Chirstmas Day, not statisticly one of the busiest days for travel (espically on long-hauls... which were 2 of the routes, and internationally, which was MEX). Plus, the terror alert helped lesson the crowds somewhat as well. There was space on other flights and not a lot of people to move around! So, it could have been MUCH worse had it happened on another day.
DeltaSFO From United States of America, joined Nov 2000, 2488 posts, RR: 24 Reply 14, posted (9 years 5 months 3 weeks 6 days 15 hours ago) and read 5855 times:
It's entertaining to see that people can draw conclusions about a company of 68,000 people (ie - "customer service is their last priority") based on one day's actions by what is most likely a very small but vocal group of flight attendants.
33 flights were impacted on Christmas Day. That's about 5.5% of scheduled ATL departures. 1.5% of system movements. Operations today are normal. Yeah, big sickout. Delta customer service is crap and I'm sure AFA will organize the flight attendants real soon.
It's a new day. Every moment matters. Now, more than ever.
MD88Captain From United States of America, joined Nov 2001, 1292 posts, RR: 22 Reply 16, posted (9 years 5 months 3 weeks 6 days 13 hours ago) and read 5698 times:
It is quite funny to read these posts about theorizing about unions and sickouts. Here's the actual scoop. DAL is drastically changing medical/sick leave benefits in January. So many FA's chose Christmas for elective medical procedures that will cost them significantly more money next year. They spend Christmas at home, get paid, and save money. This left DAL who was already understaffed on FA's even more shorthanded. Supervisors at the lower levels knew this and warned of a problem but were ignored. Then many, many of the FA's who know they will soon be furloughed called in sick for Christmas. They obviously have a screw the company and screw the customer attitude. This caused a big meltdown as scheduling had to cover something like 300 flights that were under minimum staffing. There were FA's on reserve duty sitting at home awaiting calls from scheduling, but they never were called because the meltdown overwhelmed the schedulers. They physically were unable to assign all the trips in time. In the end 33 flights were cancelled, but it was not some organized protest. It was a self-enduced perfect storm that DAL operations managers were unable to see or deal with.
Tbear815 From United States of America, joined Jun 2003, 704 posts, RR: 5 Reply 17, posted (9 years 5 months 3 weeks 6 days 12 hours ago) and read 5668 times:
Exactly my basic point. The art and science of treating employees fairly and decently doesn't take a degree in brain surgery or rocket physics. It all comes down to being pro-active rather than reactive iin management styles. As you said, supervisors at LOWER levels saw this coming. Closer to the front line, yet not being recognized. Endemic to the overall management picture in our great country. But where is the change going to start?
N102daman From United States of America, joined Nov 2003, 155 posts, RR: 3 Reply 18, posted (9 years 5 months 3 weeks 6 days 12 hours ago) and read 5618 times:
Well I don't think that this is a Union / Non-Union issue. I do think that it is a management issue that needs some sorting out. But it starts at the top and has got to trickle down. Hopefully things will change as we have been told. I think that Grindstein has some good ideas starting with improving Employee morale. Delta has prided itself on being non union and that is one of the things that has saved it from a lot of problems. I think that you will find a lot more people that work for the airline that are satisfied with the company than not (but maybe I am a bit clueless). We all know that the Airline industry is in trouble and Delta is Losing money. We will never have the days back when the DELTA FAMILY took a voluntary paycut to purchase its airline a 767. Or to take cuts in pay and hours to save the airline money to avoid layoffs. Unfortunately the Delta organization is so large now that the climate and culture has changed over the years. That is not to say that most Delta people aren't proud of their airline and glad that they have a job with a company that has a good reputation. The comments that have been made about Delta and Customer service being the last thing they care about is far from the truth. Customer service comes on a personal level and from each individual agent. That is where it needs to start. Just wanted to put my two cents in. Customer service should be a priority for not only Delta but for all airlines. Seems to me that a lot of the US airlines are lacking in it a bit. We sure could use a few lessons from some of the European Air Carriers.
Again Just My Two Cents Worth
"Fly Widget Fly"
"Service and Hospitality from the Heart." (C. E. Woolman, Delta airlines first CEO and founder.)
AA777MIA From United States of America, joined Aug 2003, 686 posts, RR: 3 Reply 20, posted (9 years 5 months 3 weeks 6 days 11 hours ago) and read 5567 times:
You hit the nail on the head. In fact my parents were at the doc's office and my mother struck up a conversation with a DL flight attendant. She was having surgery on both wrists before the end of the year, due to insurance changes. She said MANY of her co-workers were doing the same. Sounds like DL created their own problem. And it is not just a DL problem...
Elwood64151 From United States of America, joined Feb 2002, 2477 posts, RR: 7 Reply 22, posted (9 years 5 months 3 weeks 6 days 11 hours ago) and read 5535 times:
I think this is a bad time to call-in sick en-masse. Right now, there are lots of flight crew personnel who would love to have a job at any airline. A non-union group organizing a sick-out would be a bad idea.
I think that the FAs at DL are smart enough to figure that one out!
On one hand, management should have seen something like this coming. At NJ, we weren't allowed to take vacation during Christmas and New Year's week in 2000 and 2001. I imagine that at non-union DL, there was likely a similar policy.
OTOH, those FAs who were scheduled to work should have showed up to work! I doubt any of them would have liked it much if their hair stylist or doctor just decided not to show up to work one day, inconveniencing their customers.
Those who fail to learn history are doomed to repeat it in summer school.
WindowSeat From United States of America, joined Sep 2003, 1307 posts, RR: 59 Reply 23, posted (9 years 5 months 3 weeks 6 days 11 hours ago) and read 5492 times:
>>>Customer service should be a priority for not only Delta but for all airlines. Seems to me that a lot of the US airlines are lacking in it a bit.<<<
Not quite. The definition of quality customer service has changed over the past couple of years. With the economy tightening everyone's pockets, customers these days will fight for $10 or $20. Trust me, I deal with that everyday. They will do anything to get out of their commitment to pay. They have also simply become a much more demanding lot. The customers know they have the upper hand right now and companies will bend over backwards to accommodate them. This puts tremendous pressure on the line staff who deal with customers everyday, including gate agents, F/As and reservations staff and customer service staff. Work is just not fun anymore. It is a very serious problem hurting employee morale beyond your imagination.
My company is very similar to an airline and is in a service industry; as management it is an uphill task for us to bring back the "magic" that once kept us all close as family.
just my two cents worth...
I'm all in favour of keeping dangerous weapons out of the hands of fools. Let's start with keyboards.
WindowSeat From United States of America, joined Sep 2003, 1307 posts, RR: 59 Reply 24, posted (9 years 5 months 3 weeks 6 days 11 hours ago) and read 5481 times:
Yes the sick days is a problem too. In my company, left over sick days were paid off at the end of the year and everyone loved to receive their nice little "bonus". They would come to work, rain or shine, in good health or otherwise. This year they changed that to a "use it or lose it" policy. I have had the largest number of sick call outs in December, particularly the holiday season and honestly, I can't blame them either. We alerted corporate to this problem when the policy was first introduced, but we too were ignored. The operation is severely hurting right now and I just can't wait for the year to be over.
I'm all in favour of keeping dangerous weapons out of the hands of fools. Let's start with keyboards.
25 AA777MIA: VERY well put Window Seat... An employee can only take so much, before they snap! Whether it is verbal, mental, or just get to the point that they jus
26 PiedmontGirl: TBear815: Thank you ever so much! Those are lovely words and lovely thoughts -- they are very much appreciated.
27 Yyz717: DL should demand doctor's notes from those sick FA's. Any that refuse, should be fired or disciplined. Assuming this is within the scope of the union
28 WindowSeat: AA777MIA, Further to what you said, there was an interesting article a year ago in a Hospitality related magazine about a Front Desk Agent at a five-s
29 AA777MIA: YYZ717: While I understand what you are saying, let me try and put things in perspective. "Picture it" You are a flight attendant (DL, CO, NW, any air
30 Matt D: It's an unfortunate side effect in todays very nasty job market (not just the airlines) where the customers get caught in the middle. Unfortunately, s
31 FlygirlHels: Sounds like poor planning on the part of DL management... I must say I support the flight attendants... I flew on Christmas day (not at Delta though..
32 WindowSeat: Yyz717, Your post seemed to me like that of a typical bean counter, but then I looked up your profile and indeed you are one. Anyway, these DL FA's sh
33 Yyz717: "Picture it" You are a flight attendant (DL, CO, NW, any airline), and you have flown for 20 plus years.. You have knee, back, wrist, whatever problem
34 AA777MIA: Who says that they are not sick? If they are having surgery before their benefits change, "THEY ARE SICK".. You cannot fly with stiches, at least AA d
35 Matt D: Oh but it's ok (read: moral) to throw a thousand people out of work, and then pocket the savings? (read: laid off peoples salaries going towards your
36 Yyz717: You talk about the upper management and the passengers, at what point do you talk about the F/As? There is a grievance process for the FA's. They chos
37 PiedmontGirl: Yyz717: Then tell it to the (former?) DL customers who had to send Xmas in ATL airport. Moreover, what comes around goes around...maybe you personally
38 AA777MIA: Atta girl, was waiting for you to chime in Piedmont Girl!!
39 Elwood64151: I have to disagree with a lot of people on this forum. I know that's not unusual... In any event, it's not just management's fault, nor is it just the
40 AA777MIA: In a perfect world, I AGREE with you! Unfortunately (and I cannot speak for other companies), but at mine, it is not that easy. If you cannot be at wo
41 Yyz717: Elwood, I agree with you completely. There is definitely fault on both sides. However, the FA's that called in sick KNEW that flights would be cancell
42 MD11Engineer: Ellwood, Then the boss would say: " Dear girl, if you don´t come to work you´ll stay at home forever! There´ll be plenty of other F/A-ß´s looking
43 Iflyatldl: Piedmontgirl: Once again, well said! Thanks for hitting one for the team! Oh, I belive the scheduling part (heads burried in the sand), but kind of de
44 Matt D: AA777MIA: Bingo.....excellent example. Some nameless bean counter doesn't have the spine or the gonads to NOT knock you for leaving to witness the bir
45 Artsyman: The FAs should have said, "Look, I don't care if I'm scheduled to work. This is the only time I can have this surgery done ***** If any of you believe
46 Continental: What a bunch of lazy jerks. When they applied for the job, they were told they'd most likely have to work weekends and holidays sometime in the career
47 PiedmontGirl: Yyz717: However, the FA's that called in sick KNEW that flights would be cancelled. They KNEW they will ruin customers' xmas plans. This act was a ser
48 AA777MIA: Benefits enrollment occurs in the fall usually... So what there is 3-4 months to sked the surgery, and recovery...
49 Elwood64151: Jan: You're right. But if 30 or 40 FAs do it, then the manager would have to work something out. Matt D: I take it you've worked for a lot of very bad
50 WindowSeat: Yyz717, There is a grievance process for the FA's. They chose to literally RUIN people's Christmas plans. Shame on these selfish pig-headed FA's. Firs
51 Iflyatldl: When they came out with that policy, they(DL management)had to know there were going to be a backlash or repercussions in one form or another- and giv
52 PiedmontGirl: Iflyatldl: When they came out with that policy, they(DL management)had to know there were going to be a backlash or repercussions in one form or anoth
53 Yyz717: I think these ladies and gentlemen have been sucker punched one time too many. Then why not resign from their jobs and get a better paying job elsewhe
54 PiedmontGirl: Yyz717: Piedmont girl....how do you feel about the stranded passengers? What would you say to them? Delta had reserve flight attendants waiting to be
55 MD11Engineer: I was working for a few years with a MRO in Ireland. There the workers got completely suckered by the management. Apparently years ago the company was
56 Tbear815: Whoa, easy all you tigers! You all make very good points. Let's take this to the root. "Management" sets standards that line employees should follow t
57 PiedmontGirl: TBear815: The way most airline managements look at it is that they and the airplanes are the airline. The employees are not part of the airline. The e
58 Tbear815: PiedmontGirl - I sometimes think you and I represent a dying breed. But I still have hope that all of this will come around. I don't look at it as the
59 MD11Engineer: Same with this Irish MRO. The mid level management constantly reported upwards that their department are in perfect order. The CEO was rarely seen on
60 PiedmontGirl: TBear815: PiedmontGirl - I sometimes think you and I represent a dying breed. But I still have hope that all of this will come around. I don't look at
61 Alpha 1: If memory serves me correctly, the last DL in house CEO was Hollis Harris. I swear Uncle Hollis has had his hand in just about every carrier known to
62 Tbear815: PiedmontGirl - maybe they all need the "e" word........
63 PiedmontGirl: TBear815: PiedmontGirl - maybe they all need the "e" word........ Not to mention a couple of pounds of ExLax -- it could be used to chocolate cover th
64 B747-437B: Since this thread has diverted more towards the history of employee relations at Delta, I'll regurgitate my old article about that subject. http://www
65 Jcs17: It's entertaining to see that people can draw conclusions about a company of 68,000 people (ie - "customer service is their last priority") based on o
66 Tbear815: B747-347B - Thanks so much for that article. It mentions all the pirates and those airlines that have gone before. Pan Am was a clear case of total mi
67 WorldTraveler: Most of you fail to recognize that Delta employees still have some of the best salary and benefit packages in the industry. Delta employees only since
68 WorldTraveler: A couple more thoughts. Five of the six network carriers have had a management shakeup since 9/11 and many involved employee relations. It is interest
69 Tango-Bravo: Once again Herb (Kelleher, Southwest founder) is proven right: Put your People (employees) first, who will make your Customers happy, which will keep
70 MD88Captain: TB. That is a cogent post. DAL has lacked anything that even remotely looked like leadership in over 15 years.
71 WorldTraveler: CO's employees have managed to convince the Work-Life committee that they love their jobs more than any other airline employees do - and for six years