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American Flight Attendants, What Happened To Us?  
User currently offlineTu154 From United States of America, joined Dec 2004, 375 posts, RR: 4
Posted (8 years 7 months 3 weeks 6 days 5 hours ago) and read 13711 times:

I know I am going to get flamed for this....and I guess it has already been discussed, but I just don't understand the mentality of American carrier flight attendants.
I myself fly for a major U.S. carrier. Late last week I was sitting in the lobby of our layover hotel at LAX waiting for some other crew members to meet for dinner. While I was sitting there....a JAL crew walked in and I was very impressed. Uniforms impeccable...hair impeccable...all looking like the next, young, slim , attractive. Apon checking in, only the purser delt with the front desk, and the others accepted the room assignments with grace. Moments later, an Air France crew checked in with the same grace and decorum. I was really quite impressed. As the rest of my crew came down, we were leaving when a major U.S. carrier was checking in. Bleach blonde with roots-side pony tail and wearing clogs. Another greatly overweight with brightly flashing christmas wreath pin on her uniform. Lastly a gentleman with a mullet hairstyle, no jacket and what looked like cowboy boots on his feet and a backpack. I must say as my crew was checking in, another crew with our airline was checking in and not one of them was happy with the room assignment. Either too noisy, not a pool view or too far from the lift. Please do not tell me it's beacuse of paycuts or long duty days. I'm sure the Air France crew had a long day as well but still managed to look presentable. Are we a product of our own environment? Where is the pride in our careers? Why are alot of our peers so "dumpy" and why have we, as U.S. flight attendants gotten this reputation of being frumpy, dumpy, and in bad moods?
I never noticed it before, but since being an A-Net memeber, and reading many posts on U.S. f/a's....I have really noticed it. Can it change?


FIRST ON THE ATLANTIC.....FIRST ON THE PACIFIC.....FIRST IN LATIN AMERICA...FIRST 'ROUND THE WORLD.....PAN AM!!
114 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
 
User currently offlineAY104 From Canada, joined Nov 2005, 505 posts, RR: 6
Reply 1, posted (8 years 7 months 3 weeks 6 days 4 hours ago) and read 13663 times:

It will never change as long as people do not have self-respect. It amounts to respecting the company you work for, the passengers, your coworkers, yourself and the job one does. After all, if one has no self-respect how can we expect them to respect others? Doing the job amounts to doing your best and looking your best, regardless of how tired you are, what shape your company is in financially, and many other factors.
I worked for the airlines for almost 30 years. I started at Finnair in Europe, then Western/Delta at Vancouver, BC. A very interesting observation that I made over the years, which goes along well with what you say regarding the petty complaints of the flight atttendants checking into the hotel: the people with whom I worked in customer service who gave the worst customer service, were rude to customers or did not have a work ethic with respect to customer service, were themselves the worst customers when they were on the other side of the counter! Your little story confirms my observations. Thank you for a very valid posting!



The only thing a customer should expect for his/her loyalty is good service
User currently offlineETStar From Canada, joined Jan 2004, 2103 posts, RR: 7
Reply 2, posted (8 years 7 months 3 weeks 6 days 4 hours ago) and read 13599 times:

Tu154, you may very well get flamed because your post addresses the actual behaviour of some who read your post Big grin

It takes a great deal of observation overseas travel experience to see the differences that exist between North America-based flight attendants and those in other countries. Being a flight attendant in North America has really lost its flair, and it appears that either the loyalty or the association of the FA to the company (and vice versa) is so low, that the employee no longer feels that he/she is representing the company when off the airplane but still in uniform. The same could also be said about the airline not doing enough to maintain the pride of representing it.

Finally, could the fact that the biggest proportion of air travel for US based FAs is within the country a reason for the overall standard deteriorating? Has the job become so repetitive and somewhat unexciting that it is almost like working any other job that does not necessarily involve travel? Also, it would be interesting to know if there are strict but untold rules that exist with other airlines that encourage such respectable behaviour?

I have to mention a few relevant sightings I made recently. Ran into VS crew at IAD a few months ago, and while there was nothing special about the FAs themselves, their attire and body language said quite a lot. I even wanted to follow them to their aircraft! Also at YVR, running into JAL and CX crew is always a pleasure, and while you see a very large number crew for each flight (744s), their overall effect in the area is quite minimal as they are very well mannered and respectable.


User currently offlineTG992 From New Zealand, joined Jan 2001, 2910 posts, RR: 10
Reply 3, posted (8 years 7 months 3 weeks 6 days 3 hours ago) and read 13568 times:

I agree with some parts of your post, but not others.

As an F/A I don't feel that my weight is particularly important. I'm never going to be a svelte Singapore Girl, I don't spend 30 minutes carefully adjusting my wings and namebadge to be perfectly level, or an hour making sure not a single hair is out of place. But I feel we should be judged on our service standards, not how we look. I don't think it's fair to single someone out for wearing a fun X'mas badge on their uniform either - surely she should be congratulated for attempting to inject a tiny amount of X'mas spirit into her passenger's dreary journeys, instead of looking like another personality-less droid!

I also understand their pain regarding hotel rooms - as an international f/a I spend roughly half my month in hotel rooms - and our contract with the hotel specifies certain things - away from elevators/other sources of noise, and it can get terribly frustrating when hotels consistently breach their contracts with us and give us unacceptable rooms! One hotel in SFO, which shall remain nameless, assigned me a smoking room and point blank refused to reassign me as they were 'full to capacity'. The stink of the room was terrible, and so I'm afraid I had to resort to making a minor scene to get what my company paid for!

However, if the comments from our passengers are anything to go by, I certainly agree that an unacceptably high percentage of US-based crew give bad service. One passenger who was on her first international flight started laughing when I asked her 'Care for some more wine ma'am?' - I asked why and she said "you're so polite, I can't believe it!' We constantly get comments from our American guests along these lines, for simply doing things that are so basic and simple, in our minds, that we're shocked when people appreciate them!

Personally I blame two factors for this

1) The seniority system in the USA airlines. It must be completely dispiriting to be on standby for 5 years, domestic only for 20 years, etc! Most foreign airlines have a slightly fairer system (at our airline, you can apply to fly domestic/shorthaul or longhaul wherever there are vacancies - and the undesirable trips are equally shared between all crew. It makes us all happier because we're doing what we want to do!)

2) The low pay for most crew. It seems to take a loooooooong time to earn a comfortable wage at the airlines - . The majority of foreign airlines pay even juniors a wage that is above the poverty line, which stops us from becoming embittered with years of struggle to even afford a place to live for little reward.

Just my opinion anyway!



-
User currently offlineBeowulf From Singapore, joined Jul 2003, 730 posts, RR: 14
Reply 4, posted (8 years 7 months 3 weeks 6 days 3 hours ago) and read 13527 times:

Whenever I read trip reports here on a.net about domestic U.S. flights, one gets a hint at the sometimes low quality in service. I really wonder what the underlying reason for all this is. Some years ago, the U.S. were a shining example when it comes to customer service, but this seems to have all changed. The two reasons TG992 mentioned may very well the answer.

The low quality in service, however, initiates a cycle wherein passenger (= customers) will become increasingly frustrated and eager to look for alternatives. Since the U.S. legacy carriers are already in a downturn, this may hit them further. Maybe it's like with the dinosaurs ... we are witnessing a species to be extinct.

Nick


User currently offlineLufthansa From Christmas Island, joined May 1999, 3204 posts, RR: 10
Reply 5, posted (8 years 7 months 3 weeks 6 days 3 hours ago) and read 13502 times:

Quoting Tu154 (Thread starter):
seniority system in the USA airlines. It must be completely dispiriting to be on standby for 5 years, domestic only for 20 years, etc! Most foreign airlines have a slightly fairer system

I think you've hit a very valid point here. I travel to the US enough to have to use the services of a certain American airline (the only one that flys to Syd and Mel), instead of my preference for your very own, Air NZ. (I have no idea why, but everytime I'm on Air NZ, it almost feels like I'm going to Scotland...weird isn't it? But i like it)

Anyway, what I've noticed is there are plenty of tired old battleaxes who do enjoy spending a few days off by the Sydney opera house, so they're obviously putting there hands up for that route. The trouble is, it is also one of the longest flights in the world, and therefore probably one of the most demanding, and hence, I think it wouldn't hurt to have a few more people in their 20s and 30s, or possibly even 40s flying this route...but many were far far older. Meanwhile, the ones that probably do have the engergy for this trip, are stuck flying in between Denver and Boise and somewhere in Utah. Now i agree that some of these older ones remember the glamour days of the 707 and DC-8 and probably do have a few pointers... but they do really need to perhaps 'share' this experience. Also, this attitude of "I am only here for the safe operation of the aircraft"... that must die. If that where true, then after all safty related tasks were complete, the FA's should simple stay out of everybody's way and remain on their jumpseats. No catering, drinks etc should be loaded on board. Of course, we all know this isn't the case... but this attitude stinks to high heaven. It is also this attitude which airlines like BA actively play on. I know so many ppl who point blank refuse to fly on an american airline for long haul. Some are based in America, others not, but it helps companies like BA maintain a loyal customer base inside the USA that they would not otherwise have.

In their defence though, US airlines need to give their FA's more tools to do their jobs with. Some simple touches, particularly on long trips, can be relatively inexpensive but make a big difference to the way passengers feel they've been treated. Making sure everybody's wine glasses are full, sweets being passed out, etc... maybe the odd refresher towl, or perhaps somebody just taking a jug of mineral water with lemons in around the sleeping cabin on long night flighst to make sure everybody is hydrated. It's these little touches and make the difference.

As for presentation. It's very important. The reason being, that psycologically, if we are all looking and appearing good, we generally tend to work better... think of the reverse.... a sloppy environment fosters sloppy results. In many European countries personal presentation is extremely important to many people. How often do you see badly presented Italian girls? A lot of anglo countries have gone ultra casual throughout the 1990s... and there has been a bit of a hang over. At least work wise, its time to knip this in the butt. By putting the effort in, you're saying to your colleagues that you care enough about your job, and about them, to be bothered making the effort for them. With this comes the self respect AY104 was talking about.

Think about it. It is much more pleasent to walk into a room were people look nice and are somewhat happy, rather than people who are slobby and bitching about everything. Yes, of course this is going to effect your approach and outlook for the day! It is all subconsious.

Is there hope? I think so. I think US airlines could start buy showing there FA's something is changing... like give them some designer outfits as uniforms. And before somebody bitches about the cost, they can be made cheaply in china, and it doesn't have to be Fendi or cK designing the uniforms. Cultural changes do need to be made. And then a few ammenties for them actually to serve their customers with. Particularly for the long haul. And folks... low prices are not an excuse to turn everything into the grunge festival.


User currently offlineFlyGuyClt From United States of America, joined Aug 2005, 537 posts, RR: 8
Reply 6, posted (8 years 7 months 3 weeks 6 days 3 hours ago) and read 13502 times:

On the other side of the coin. I work for one of those "old dinosaur" airlines. We just did a 4 day trip on an A320/319. All of us in full uniform, every leg the passengers/customers got off happy. There are those of us who still like/love the job and want to be there. Those of us that still do the job can only take accountability for ourselves and try to nudge our colleagues. All of us on the trip have 16 years of flying or more under our belt. We still greet each passenger with a "hello and welcome" or other good first impression and we continue it until the last, thank you for flying with us. Anytime we take an empty cup, "would you like a refill or anything else" so there are still some out there who are "flight attendants" true safety professionals who give great customer service.

Safe Flying and Happy Holidays  

But, in reality, the lower the pay, the longer the days, the more disrespect, it will most likely only get worse.

[Edited 2005-12-08 10:35:06]


Florida Express, Braniff II and ......
User currently offlineSemsem From Israel, joined Jul 2005, 1779 posts, RR: 3
Reply 7, posted (8 years 7 months 3 weeks 6 days 2 hours ago) and read 13469 times:

I think it's because the flight attendant salaries in the US are so low (in addition to pay cuts); it must also be depressing worrying about losing your job at any time as well as the "promised" pensions. Working for a company, losing billions and in bankruptcy must also be somewhat depressing.

User currently offlineZvezda From Lithuania, joined Aug 2004, 10511 posts, RR: 64
Reply 8, posted (8 years 7 months 3 weeks 6 days 2 hours ago) and read 13458 times:

The bad service associated with US FAs derives from a sense of entitlement. US FAs have the idea that they are entitled to employment for life (or at least well into their 80s). If employment were based on a 5 year contract which the airline could renew for another 5 years or not, then service would improve dramatically.

Quoting ETStar (Reply 2):
It takes a great deal of observation overseas travel experience to see the differences that exist between North America-based flight attendants and those in other countries.

Quite the opposite. It takes very little observation to notice. The difference is striking.

Quoting TG992 (Reply 3):
surely she should be congratulated for attempting to inject a tiny amount of X'mas spirit into her passenger's dreary journeys

No!!! Xmas is offensive to many non-Christians. Prosletizing on the job (or at any time while in uniform is unacceptable).


User currently offlineLPLAspotter From Portugal, joined Jan 2005, 682 posts, RR: 1
Reply 9, posted (8 years 7 months 3 weeks 6 days 2 hours ago) and read 13420 times:

Quoting TG992 (Reply 3):
But I feel we should be judged on our service standards, not how we look

So you're saying that US carriers look worse than, lets say SQ or AF, but the service is better. I beg to differ - the same applies here too. I've switched from CO to SQ and not only did the SQ's crew take more pride in their appearance but the service was much better as well.

I'll agree that it's hard to have a good attitude when you never know if you will have a job the next day. However, showing pride in your company will encourage people to come back and fly you again thus decreasing the chance of it (the airline) having pr problems in the future.

LPLAsotter



Nuke the Gay Wales for Christ
User currently offlineLPLAspotter From Portugal, joined Jan 2005, 682 posts, RR: 1
Reply 10, posted (8 years 7 months 3 weeks 6 days 2 hours ago) and read 13412 times:

Quoting TG992 (Reply 3):
But I feel we should be judged on our service standards, not how we look

So you're saying that US carriers look worse than, lets say SQ or AF, but the service is better. I beg to differ - the same applies here too. I've switched from CO to SQ and not only did the SQ's crew take more pride in their appearance but the service was much better as well.

I'll agree that it's hard to have a good attitude when you never know if you will have a job the next day. However, showing pride in your company will encourage people to come back and fly you again thus decreasing the chance of it (the airline) having pr problems in the future.

LPLAsotter



Nuke the Gay Wales for Christ
User currently offlinePacCoaster From United States of America, joined Aug 2005, 3 posts, RR: 0
Reply 11, posted (8 years 7 months 3 weeks 6 days ago) and read 13349 times:

Hi Tu154-

While not a flight attendant, it is my personal opinion (and you've made reference to a couple of points I'll touch on in your post) that the circumstances affecting, and directly reflecting, upon the attitudes and demeanour of current US flight attendants, are the same as (or very similar to) those influencing the mind-set of many other working Americans.

Since the September 11 attacks, many far-reaching changes were hastily implemented by a large majority of companies in attempts to minimise inescapable losses. This was truly a necessity for scores of businesses, but for others, it merely helped to fatten the wallets for the select few tasked with running things.

The subsequent, resultant ramifications have proven impenitently damaging to the livelihood of a great many American worker; none more so than those, who like you, are/were employed within the airline industry. Many of you have been asked to work much longer days; your benefits have been slashed; too many of you have lost your jobs, that being accompanied by another slap to the face where unemployment assistance is concerned, as many of us are well aware that the period through which public funds are accessible to us has previously been cut by government. Benefits (such as medical/dental/life insurance, etc) that were once customary and free for some have also been reduced, become more expensive for the employee or, in some cases, simply eliminated. I could continue, but I think I've made my point.

The simple fact is the average American is no longer content with their job/career largely due to many of the aforementioned conditions whilst many more are faced with the grim reality of redundancy as companies fight for emergence/re-emergence from bankruptcy protection much smaller with a far lesser number of employees. All the difficulties highlighted here have caused many of your peers to become dispassionate about their jobs giving rise to the behaviour you and most of the frequent travelers in the US have been observing.

Quite a lot has been written in these forums about the unfair treatment being meted out to various airlines' flight attendant groups; however, I am persistent in my conviction that whilst we can all empathise with their grouses, the flight attendants displaying such alarming conduct must not be allowed to eat into the steadfastness maintained by those of their colleagues who, likewise, are faced with doubtful future.

I am constantly reminded each time I step onto an aircraft, expecting mediocre service or less, that there still exist cabin crew who are thankful for the jobs they still have; that are proud to be doing the very thing many of them have dreamt of doing since childhood; that still smile warmly when they greet you... not that pained, forced, plastic smile we've all become accustomed to; that still stop by your seat and have a chat if something about you interests them and are willing to answer questions with appearing unapproachable. That's correct, cabin crew that are much the same as their European and Asian counterparts who are constantly raved about by travelers who've experienced their hospitable service first-hand. Yes, they are also here in the US.

We will, most of us, face abject situations at our jobs that are not easily handled and that will affect other parts of our lives. On the other hand, it is the way in which we cope with the adversity that matters most. Do we hurt other people too just because we're unhappy? Do we just not care how we appear to others and carry on in a manner more akin to less intelligent beings? Does it make us as adults feel good about ourselves when we act like a three year-old?

I, like many airline employees, have doubts as to the stability of my current job given the fact that I'm employed by a firm that's solely dependent on the very same airlines currently in crisis for work. Yet, I go to work each day, do my job, and do it well and, until such time that my employment ends, I shall continue to do the same.

I apologise for having said so much but I've reached saturation point when it comes to the seemingly, unending issue of "dumpy, moody, rude" US flight attendants. Good luck disassociating yourself from all this! I hope others of your peers will have noticed this as well and try to bring about change, however slow it may be.

Happy Flying!!!

PacCoaster


User currently offlineKiwiandrew From New Zealand, joined Jun 2005, 8544 posts, RR: 13
Reply 12, posted (8 years 7 months 3 weeks 6 days ago) and read 13317 times:
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Quoting Tu154 (Thread starter):
I myself fly for a major U.S. carrier. Late last week I was sitting in the lobby of our layover hotel at LAX waiting for some other crew members to meet for dinner. While I was sitting there....a JAL crew walked in and I was very impressed. Uniforms impeccable...hair impeccable...all looking like the next, young, slim , attractive. Apon checking in, only the purser delt with the front desk, and the others accepted the room assignments with grace. Moments later, an Air France crew checked in with the same grace and decorum. I was really quite impressed.

I don't think that they 'young , slim , attractive' necessarily makes a better cabin attendant - but the dress standards do count , anyone can dress impeccably regardless of age/figure , and sadly a lot of FAs do not take any pride in how they turn out- I remember my horror back when UA still served AKL at seeing a cabin attendant in uniform with ( it makes me shudder even to think about it , let alone type it ) white socks (ugh!) - I mean , please , that sort of thing is ok for WN , but this was in the business class cabin on a legacy carrier , how can you expect crew to act professional when they don't even look the part .



Moderation in all things ... including moderation ;-)
User currently offlineTG992 From New Zealand, joined Jan 2001, 2910 posts, RR: 10
Reply 13, posted (8 years 7 months 3 weeks 6 days ago) and read 13297 times:

Quoting LPLAspotter (Reply 10):
So you're saying that US carriers look worse than, lets say SQ or AF, but the service is better. I beg to differ - the same applies here too. I've switched from CO to SQ and not only did the SQ's crew take more pride in their appearance but the service was much better as well.

No, I'm afraid I'm not saying anything like that..



-
User currently offlineZvezda From Lithuania, joined Aug 2004, 10511 posts, RR: 64
Reply 14, posted (8 years 7 months 3 weeks 6 days ago) and read 13277 times:

Quoting PacCoaster (Reply 11):
Since the September 11 attacks, many far-reaching changes were hastily implemented by a large majority of companies in attempts to minimise inescapable losses. This was truly a necessity for scores of businesses, but for others, it merely helped to fatten the wallets for the select few tasked with running things.

The subsequent, resultant ramifications have proven impenitently damaging to the livelihood of a great many American worker; none more so than those, who like you, are/were employed within the airline industry. Many of you have been asked to work much longer days; your benefits have been slashed; too many of you have lost your jobs, that being accompanied by another slap to the face where unemployment assistance is concerned, as many of us are well aware that the period through which public funds are accessible to us has previously been cut by government. Benefits (such as medical/dental/life insurance, etc) that were once customary and free for some have also been reduced, become more expensive for the employee or, in some cases, simply eliminated. I could continue, but I think I've made my point.

The simple fact is the average American is no longer content with their job/career largely due to many of the aforementioned conditions whilst many more are faced with the grim reality of redundancy as companies fight for emergence/re-emergence from bankruptcy protection much smaller with a far lesser number of employees. All the difficulties highlighted here have caused many of your peers to become dispassionate about their jobs giving rise to the behaviour you and most of the frequent travelers in the US have been observing.

I have not noticed any change in the attitudes or service standards of US FAs following 9/11. They were, as far as I can tell, just as bad in the late 1990s.


User currently offlineCO767FA From United States of America, joined Aug 2005, 532 posts, RR: 2
Reply 15, posted (8 years 7 months 3 weeks 6 days ago) and read 13233 times:

Not to worry, most of us will be replaced in the "outsourcing" and then the service improvements, everyone appears to seek, will be met.

User currently offlineGilligan From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 16, posted (8 years 7 months 3 weeks 5 days 23 hours ago) and read 13170 times:

Quoting Semsem (Reply 7):
it must also be depressing worrying about losing your job at any time as well as the "promised" pensions.

Then the solution is to get the training/schooling you need to find a new job that pays what you want. Before you get out the daggers, I am 46 and back in school to pick up training for a better job and there is an FA in the same class so it can be done. Also set up your own retirement plan, that way you are pension proof. I drop the minimum into the company 401k, I contribute substantially to a plan I have personally set up. The goal should be to enrich yourself and get where you want to be not make everyone else miserable and reflect badly on the company that employs you. It should be everyones aim to take care of themselves, not depend on the company to do it. I have trouble fathoming why anyone would want to trust a faceless company to take care of their wealth and health in their golden years when they can easily do it themselves.

Quoting Zvezda (Reply 8):
The bad service associated with US FAs derives from a sense of entitlement.

I think you've hit the nail on the head here and not just for FA's or the airline industry. Unfortunately a lot of foreign flag FA's probably know something our domestic flag FA's don't. Life can be a whole lot worse that it is right now. I've gotten the impression the few times I've flown a foreign flag carrier that their FA's know that this job is not going to make them a millionaire, nor should it, but it beats the living daylights out of selling fruit from a cart on some dusty or chilly corner. As such they are happy to be there and they know that there is a line a mile long behind them of people waiting to take their jobs if they don't measure up to company standards. That's not to say a FA should be a mindless robot just following company orders but many FA's, and plenty of ordinary people, seem to think the rules apply "to somebody else, not me". I've seen that attitude, "I'm really to good to be here", one too many times for it to be just an odd coincidence.


User currently offlineYOWza From Canada, joined Jul 2005, 4865 posts, RR: 15
Reply 17, posted (8 years 7 months 3 weeks 5 days 23 hours ago) and read 13124 times:

Quoting LUVRSW (Reply 12):
A wreath does not indicate Christianity you moron!

The fact is an FA should not be wearing anything on his/her uniform that is not issued by the airline they fly for period. Christian symbol or not. It's an issue of decorum, something a lot of US carriers need to learn.


Quoting Zvezda (Reply 8):
The bad service associated with US FAs derives from a sense of entitlement. US FAs have the idea that they are entitled to employment for life (or at least well into their 80s). If employment were based on a 5 year contract which the airline could renew for another 5 years or not, then service would improve dramatically.

You are spot on my friend regardless of what some bitter Americans may have to say. As someone who has flown close to 60 different airlines on all continents I can flatly say FAs on US carriers on the whole seem to have the worst attitudes. Like it or not, that's a fact.

YOWza



12A whenever possible.
User currently offlineChristao17 From Thailand, joined Apr 2005, 938 posts, RR: 8
Reply 18, posted (8 years 7 months 3 weeks 5 days 23 hours ago) and read 13113 times:

Quoting PacCoaster (Reply 11):
The simple fact is the average American is no longer content with their job/career largely due to many of the aforementioned conditions ...

Not to be nit-picky, but I think this is your opinion and not a "simple fact" - unless you have some sources to back it up. Any surveys showing that?

While it is off-topic, I think the majority of Americans are content with their jobs and careers. Otherwise, a heck of a lot more people would be changing them.

Flight attendants, on the other hand, may be a different story. The average f/a may very well no longer be content.



Keeping the "civil" in civil aviation...
User currently offlineXkorpyoh From United States of America, joined Oct 2004, 819 posts, RR: 0
Reply 19, posted (8 years 7 months 3 weeks 5 days 22 hours ago) and read 13063 times:

Quoting Lufthansa (Reply 5):
Is there hope? I think so. I think US airlines could start buy showing there FA's something is changing... like give them some designer outfits as uniforms.

That seems to be working on Song where i have herd that F/A love their stylish uniforms and make them feel better and therefore help them offer better service. I believe the new DL uniforms are suppose to have the same effect....(if the environment after chapter 11 permits it.)

Quoting PacCoaster (Reply 11):
expecting mediocre service or less, that there still exist cabin crew who are thankful for the jobs they still have;

Agree on this. I always try to pin out the "good" f/a from the "bad" f/a on a flight.. Even in the worse airlines in the US when it comes to onboard service, there is at least once that is still offering good service and seem to be proud and happy to be there... i try to deal with those only. What is sad is that i have to do that when in many foreign carriers the good service is a standard in all f/a onboard.

About the uniforms, makes me think of the "Southwest effect", in this case, in appareance. I was in shock the first time i flew WN and saw the shorts and t-shirts as uniform. IF other airlines are using WN as benchmark to lower costs and standarize a "low cost" service, then we get an idea where the standards of appearence are going. I am not saying this is the rule ( jetblue and song are execptions), but you get the idea.

When i read about the impression of seeing flight crew at the airports or hotels, i agree that it is still impressive to see those neat foregin crews go about. The one that came to mind was the Kenya Airways crew I saw in Bombay once. Their presence and professionalism shined when they walked by. It inmediatly made me compare it to the US crews and realized that i was comparing a small african airline with the biggest airline in the world...and what a difference it was.


User currently offlineCommavia From United States of America, joined Apr 2005, 11452 posts, RR: 61
Reply 20, posted (8 years 7 months 3 weeks 5 days 22 hours ago) and read 13005 times:

Two things "happened" to American flight attendants:

1) Low fares: As soon as consumers got a taste of lower fares, a la Southwest, and loved them, there was no turning back. That put the country on a collision course with unprofitability, low pay and flexible work rules for the existing airliners that had previously paid generous wages and benefits to employees because they were virtually guaranteed profits through regulation.

2) Unions: Yes, I know, I know, everyone is going to hate it that I say this. But flight attendants have absolutely been impacted by the fact that it is nearly universally a unionized profession. As flight attendants know they are protected by a union, and because it is virtually impossible to fire a flight attendant, many -- at least in my experience -- have 'let themselves go,' including their appearance, professionalism, and basic service standards.

Let me be clear: I like low fares, and so do consumers, so there is nothing wrong with them, and I fully support the right of unions to exist, and understand their purpose, so there is nothing wrong with them. I am not criticizing the existing of either phenomenon -- low fares or airline unions -- but I do think that they have had the largest negative impact on American flight attedant service and personal standards.


User currently offlineNYCAAer From United States of America, joined Jul 2004, 692 posts, RR: 3
Reply 21, posted (8 years 7 months 3 weeks 5 days 22 hours ago) and read 12999 times:

Personally, I cringe when I see such poor grooming. My co-workers embarrass me quite often, both in terms of grooming and their lack of professionalism. What I don't get is why they end up having such a cavalier attitude. This is a job where you are expected to look a certain way, and when you sign up for it you're aware of this fact.

I've been with AA for 17 years, and I'm still trim, I starch my shirts, polish my shoes, and take care of my appearance. I've found it's not just seniority that determines how well an individual will present her/himself. There are junior flight attendants who look just as bad as some senior ones.

The big thing at AA is F/As who wear black hospital clogs, which look awful. And now that it's winter, they'll all be wearing their own coats, instead of the the navy blue coat that we're issued. My co-workers wear black leather bomber jackets, or coats that are green or red, or ski parkas. If you ask them why they're not wearing the uniform coat, they tell you it's "too much to carry." Ten years ago at Heathrow, a British Airways stewardess saw my crew in coats of all different colors and she said to her co-worker, "Those poor American crew. They don't even get a uniform coat!"


User currently offlineLahaina From United States of America, joined Sep 2000, 258 posts, RR: 0
Reply 22, posted (8 years 7 months 3 weeks 5 days 21 hours ago) and read 12913 times:

While I am not a f/a, I do travel a lot. It is my opinion that the way American f/a dresses is a reflection of our society. From day one in school, we are no longer taught the basic values of the 1960s and 1970s. We feel that we are entitled to things. We blame our mistakes and mishaps on someone or something else. We are brought up being self-centered. We have lost touch with the meaning of "being a team member" or "a productive citizen of the society". Once the US f/a set the standards. I remember the old days of Pan Am and UA when it was a privilege to be a f/a. Foreign carriers looked up to the US carriers. The tides have changed. I have to admit that whenever I have to travel abroad, I always fly foreign carriers. I see no point in paying higher fares for lower standard of service.

Having said all these, I have noticed different levels of service from the foreign carriers as well. AC is just as bad as the American carriers. SQ, QF, and CX offer the best service. CI, KE and ANA offer good service. I have recently flown JL and have noticed that their service has gone down as well--at least on the Japan - HNL routes (lots of young Thai girls who aren't as attentive to the passengers. Even the Japanese girls aren't as attentive as the ones on CX and SQ.). Nonetheless, the impecable appearance of the f/a does give the impressions to the passangers that you are being offered an upscale serive.

I think as Americans, we have lost our self respect. We no longer feel that we represent our country. Nor do we take pride in our country. It shows.


User currently offlinePanamair From United States of America, joined Oct 2001, 4880 posts, RR: 25
Reply 23, posted (8 years 7 months 3 weeks 5 days 21 hours ago) and read 12850 times:
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Quoting Xkorpyoh (Reply 20):
That seems to be working on Song where i have herd that F/A love their stylish uniforms and make them feel better and therefore help them offer better service. I believe the new DL uniforms are suppose to have the same effect....(if the environment after chapter 11 permits it.)

Yes, many people have criticized DL for spending money on new designer uniforms from Richard Tyler but it truly has a tremendous impact on morale...on virtually all of my recent DL flights, the FAs are incredibly excited and enthusiastic about their new uniforms (officially set to debut in March 2006 but will start being worn in January on Winter Olympics charters to Italy). I think that with the new uniforms, the FAs also will feel more of a need for better grooming, making sure they look their best in their new duds (especially the red dress - hopefully no one is going to wear clogs with that).

Quoting Commavia (Reply 21):
2) Unions: Yes, I know, I know, everyone is going to hate it that I say this. But flight attendants have absolutely been impacted by the fact that it is nearly universally a unionized profession. As flight attendants know they are protected by a union, and because it is virtually impossible to fire a flight attendant, many -- at least in my experience -- have 'let themselves go,' including their appearance, professionalism, and basic service standards.

Have to agree with this one. Not to union bash here but I have noticed that non-union FAs in the U.S. at a carrier such as Delta, tend to be just a little friendlier and go out of the way more to provide decent service. Sure, Delta has its bad apples as well (you cannot not have bad apples when you have over 10,000 FAs) but as most frequent DL flyers will agree, DL's frontline personnel (including FAs) are the reason many of us still continue to fly DL. DL FAs usually shoulder the burden of proof when a passenger writes in to complain about in-flight service; DL management usually believes the passenger first and with no union to back him/her up, the FA has to work extra hard to present his/her side of the story (I've seen this in action on DL flights where FAs would sometimes ask surrounding passengers if they would be willing to 'testify' as a 'witness' for the FA if the incident between the passenger and the FA were brought to management's attention). This "fear", if you will, tends to put some pressure on the DL FA to perform more than someone at a unionized carrier. Again, I'm not necessarily advocating that this should be the situation at airlines in order to improve service (unions do serve their purpose; if management did its job right, there would be no need for unions, as we used to say in B-school) but merely stating an observation.


User currently offlineCkfred From United States of America, joined Apr 2001, 5181 posts, RR: 1
Reply 24, posted (8 years 7 months 3 weeks 5 days 20 hours ago) and read 12806 times:

The other point to remember is that the U.S. is much less class conscious than other countries. Someone once pointed out that F/As at many carriers come from society classes in which serving people is quite common.

But in the U.S., F/As come from all walks of life. I grew up in a fairly affluent area, and about 90% of my high school classmates went on to college. But several of my classmates became F/As.

A friend of mine is a pilot with AA, and he thinks that the percentage of F/As of U.S. carriers that are college graduates is much, much higher than for European and Asian carriers.

So, that could explain some differences in attitude.


25 CO767FA : That's great....what career are u pursuing? What exactly are you saying here...that f/a's would be "selling fruit" if they weren't flying? Generaliza
26 Post contains images FL1TPA : What Happened To Us is a combination of all the above. Added to those reasons is the fact that some people in this job just don't care. They've been h
27 Kiwiandrew : TG used to only employ University graduates as FAs ( does anyknow if that is still the case ) and I believe a number of other asian carriers have (or
28 Commavia : This is quite true, as is the fact that -- in my opinion -- Americans are also far less image-conscious than those from other countries. This is obvi
29 XA744 : To me the whole thing is just a matter of culture. I mean, you would need to be raised in an environment where service and discipline and consideratio
30 Highguy76 : I think you are overestimatting the assistance FA's (at least at my carrier) receieve from union reps when under threat of termination. More often th
31 Jafa : Another FA opinion here. Here are the problems as I see it. Generally its a lack of respect from passengers that eventually wears down people. New fli
32 Malaysia : I met an America West employee who proudly wore a pin which was made of rhinestones and it was the Eastern Airlines Hockey Stick. Cause she use to wo
33 Commavia : So true. Flight attendants get treated like crap by passengers. Someone missed their meeting, someone has a bad marriage, whatever, and flight attend
34 Zvezda : Yes, very true. No, the laws were put in place because politicians sell legislation to special interest groups such as labor unions.
35 Post contains images Kevi747 : Drama queen. Don't be so sensitive. Those coats they give us SUCK!!! They are eyesores, and the wind blows right through them and into your bones. Th
36 AirWillie6475 : Unfortunately most, but not all International flight attendants view being a F/A as a temporary thing. So that should give you some answers. Infact so
37 APFPilot1985 : Actually, Moron it does. The origin of the wreath is from the crown of thorns that jesus "wore". IT was made of holly berries to symbolize the blood
38 HPLASOps : I've noticed on American domestic flights, and I realize this sounds sexist, but men are way better flight attendants as a whole than women. I've foun
39 Ken777 : Most of my flying for the past 10 years has been on oneworld airlines and there is a difference between the FAs. In terms of AA, age discrimination la
40 Zvezda : Even if true, this does not explain why non-US FAs provide (on average) dramatically better service than US FAs. That, for me at least, is an incitef
41 SkyHigh777 : I fly from the US to South America very frequently, and often times I fly a US airline at least part of the way due to connections. I must say, the di
42 PRAirbus : Lack of pride is a major part. Second, major US carriers do not care how their employees look or how they dress when they come to work. It is also cul
43 SkyHigh777 : Actually I have flown AA to Lima and those "putas" were actually extremely pleasant, and were the best part about the whole AA experience. I would be
44 SoAmSky : Get a life!!!!!
45 PRAirbus : AA Foreign National FAs (Latin America based) do look better...they wear the same out of style uniforms the AA US based crews wear but do not come to
46 Luv2fly : Southwest has been around for over 30+ years. Low fares have nothing to do with it.
47 Welsh987 : Whether or not the lack of pride is a factor, all I have to say is this: Why do we care how FAs in the United States appear? I fly very frequently as
48 Commavia : Sure they do. Southwest largely ushered in the age of low prices above all else. Before deregulation, I think most would agree that the level of serv
49 DCrawley : Interesting idea. Although, I would like to know why you would want to sign someone on for 5 years at a time. I think there would be too many clauses
50 Zvezda : I don't believe passengers should have to worry how to evacuate the FAs in the event of an emergency. One could start by taking a look at the FA cont
51 PRAirbus : Many foreign carriers have better safety records than some US majors and yet their FAs do look like models and have style...being competent doesn't me
52 HarvardMan99 : It's a about self-respect. I'm an ex-Pan Am steward & currently an international purser with American. With the original Pan Am, I was in the very las
53 Saigonhouston : Just look at AIR FRANCE recent incident in Toronto. AF uniforms/hair are impeccable and flawless. BUT they also operate in secure manner and able to
54 DCrawley : Alright, do you have one I could use for reference to try and understand your point better? Or do you know what they include? I do not know where I c
55 Semsem : Saigon Houston: what was so great about the AF crash in Toronto? It was caused by pilot error. I prefer a good trained pilot over a crew with nice hai
56 Post contains images Zvezda : I don't have a copy. I've had a couple of SingaporeGirls explain it to me at ChinaJump. I don't have any particular problem with at-will employment,
57 YOWza : I could have but I decided not to. Freedom of speech and all that. I didn't say all Americans were bitter, relax sweetheart. YOWza
58 Highguy76 : HarvardMan99 I like your attitude. I'm an ISM (purser) with CO, and you took the words right out of my mouth. Welcome to my Respected Users list. I t
59 Post contains images AA767400 : Great comparison! Pretty much sums up how Americans view Flight Attendants. Amen! This is why service is horrid in the United States. 20yrs of the Am
60 TNboy : An American friend is a new-ish FA with a large feeder carrier to a major legacy carrier. He has been flying for a few months, and I asked him what th
61 CVG2LGA : How is that proselytizing? According to Merriam-Websters the definition as is follows: Main Entry: pros·e·ly·tize Pronunciation: 'prä-s(&-)l&-"tI
62 ETStar : FlyGuyClt, while you do mention these points, these are the bare minimum that are performed by all airlines around the world, and should not even be
63 VHXLR8 : When flying on AA one time, I was chatting away with the crew in the galley and sharing stories about our respective airlines. When asked about unifor
64 Arffguy : Thank You. I have thought this for a long time. Well put.
65 777Purser : A lot has been discussed about AA crews here. I happen to be one. I am US based. I feel there is a mix of FA's. In general, I believe FA's are a refle
66 LAXDESI : I do not believe there is an expectation that they be subservient. Fliers want them to friendly. Personally, I care more about a good connection, low
67 Jumpseat70 : Okay my two cents.... Back in MY DAY, as my mother would have started this, the job of a "stewardess, hostess" was THE JOB to have. I made $250 a mont
68 Kiwiandrew : Personally , I think that was a very restrained and polite response - well done on how you handled it . and good luck for your job . When I was (a lo
69 Zvezda : Yelling is never acceptable (well, unless the aircraft is on fire or similar). If the passenger had paid for First or Business, then I would have ask
70 Speedbird2155 : Kevi747, the point is that the coat is part of the uniform and is there for a reason. I'm shocked that you openly admit and appear to be proud about
71 Zvezda : Some American crews wonder why the passengers don't respect them anymore. Respect has to be earned. It's been said that 99% of lawyers give a bad nam
72 ToTheStars : I just loved your post Jumpseat70...I knew you had to be TWA!
73 Luv2fly : Please size has nothing to do with ability, and also if that is the case then start thinking about some of the pilots up front as years of sitting on
74 Post contains images PRAirbus : AA management is very relaxed about employees' appearance. The pride from the 90's is gone. After many years of paying attention and caring about thei
75 Post contains images Junction : Bingo! Sadly, the days of customer service in the U.S. are pretty much over. We're all way too selfish for it to survive. I'm sure if an airline coul
76 AA767400 : Problem is Speedbird, is that that coat is VERY THIN! So when you do get sick because you don't have enough on during the winter, you get the third d
77 Bravo45 : I agree with Jumpseat70 and HarvardMan99. Times have changed and sadly for the worse. Some say because expectations have changed, certainly there is a
78 ETStar : But 767400, we have to compare because these same airlines are the ones that are competing against other airlines. And when we are getting more pleas
79 AA767400 : But we blame the Flight Attendants, When the blame goes to the airline. The airlines let it go on, and don't know who to educate their employees. Plu
80 Post contains images Zvezda : And then after the fact they would allege that you said you had a bomb, and everyone would believe them.
81 Gilligan : If all goes well, in a week and a half I'll have my dispatch ticket. In some parts of the world maybe yes.
82 UAL747DEN : BS BS BS BS BS This is America my friend and we were founded around the Christian beliefs. It is fine if that is not what you believe in but you will
83 Omoo : What happened to the old days of TWA and Pan Am ? being a flight attendant is a calling. I really believe a lot of people get into the job for the wro
84 IAirAllie : Not sure why the AA FA's were "Gobsmacked" by the things you just mentioned considering they are items regulated by AA. The facial hair rule has been
85 Jumpseat70 : Again, I recall having to check in with a "Grooming Supervisor" before leaving the hangar at JFK. If your blush didn't match your lipstick and your fi
86 Navega : Very interesting thread, probably one of the best this year.... You hit on something that I have noticed for years. I travel quite extensively and do
87 Ozglobal : - I have flown many long haul flights on QF for work, in both J and sometimes been upgraded to F. Some years ago QF changed from a seniority system to
88 BA747400 : Fantastic post. I am almost disgusted FOR the FA when I fly on carriers like American because their attitude is (GENERALLY....NOT ALL) absolutely atr
89 Tu154 : I think alot of it has to do with the Airlines themselves. I have seen blatent non-reg f/a's passing supervisors without even a second glance. They ha
90 Post contains images Xpat : Well, then all you'd have to do is wait until they put up a banner saying "Happy Diwali" or even "Merry Christmas" (not "Happy Holidays" or "Season's
91 N276AASTT : There is a big difference between a "JOB and a "CAREER." Most Flight attendants consider their work "JOBS." I think the difference between the US vs t
92 TBCITDG : Not only does it come down to ones perception of what is acceptable to wear but it also has to do with the on board managers responsibility to ensure
93 LPLAspotter : I think your getting your accidents mixed up. When SQ crashed in TPE the cabin crew were praised for their professionalism. Actually, one died going
94 Turnit56N : If you have pride and respect in your job, you look and act the part. I do feel that most FAs I have worked with do have pride in the fact that they'r
95 Luvfa : As far as the Union bashing goes let me present another side of the story. At Southwest we are one of the most Unionized company out there. Roughly 85
96 Abrelosojos : = Well, if they do a better job, then bring 'em on. Anyways, I fly over 300,000 miles a year and this is MY opinion. There are many sour grapes who f
97 Kahala777 : Appearance is something that has not been adheared to to in the United State airline industry since at least the late 1990's. Grace and Decorum as it
98 Luvfa : This will happen when the price of a ticket adjusted for inflation is 1/3 of what it was 25 years ago. Flying is not an event it is simply high speed
99 Pope : **** flamesuit on ***** What I simply don't understand is this - if most of you FA's hate everything about being a FA, why do it? As for complaining a
100 BOAC911 : You unionized, and in america that's what happens when you unionize. Upper management and your trainers don't like you. Additionally the incredible ca
101 Luvfa : Here at Southwest we have DAL gals that have been with us for 25 years that have every bit of energy as those 25 year olds. They work 7 legs a day th
102 Pope : Fantastic! I'll have to try to check them out. However since I live in FL I don't get a lot of opportunity to fly to DAL. I've only been on three Sou
103 Slashd0t : This is absolutely false. Are you "Offended" by other religious holidays? They may not "BELIEVE" it, but, to be OFFENDED by it? Unacceptable? Get a l
104 Kahala777 : It is America, we have rights, one of them is freedom of religion! .... KAHALA777
105 Pope : Your right to religious freedom affects only the relationship between your government and you. Not that between you and your private employer. Other
106 HPLASOps : Actually, yes it does. All the cost cutting and budget pinching mentality the legacies have had to go through because of airlines like Southwest does
107 CO767FA : Do you have a quote from a specific post that backs up this statement/observation? Gee, thanks for the news bulletin Paul Harvey! Do you ever complai
108 Rdwelch : F/A are people, and for the most part, a microcosm of life. Good days, bad days, problems and heartache. The issue is work ethic and the ability to pu
109 Jaysit : "American Flight Attendants, What Happened To Us?" The pretty ones found husbands in the First Class cabins and left. As for the rest of you, I don't
110 SKYYBLUE : This is so true! Now that I have coworkers I can compare the situations, I have found the more senior crowd to be more professional. I just worked a
111 Tu154 : Why would you be so cruel? Joke? Poor one at that. You must not be very attractive yourself or you would not make such a nasty comment. A sense of hu
112 Post contains images UA772IAD : While a FA's technical, primary purpose is for the safety of passengers- the fact of the matter is, it is still the service industry. FAs are really
113 LufthanseatLAX : This is all the fault of the airlines themselves. They have very regimented rules regarding uniform regulation and service presentation however they a
114 Jamake1 : As a Purser for a major U.S. airline, I can tell you that we are not empowered to discipline our crewmembers. That is the role of inflight supervisors
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