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F/A Question. Seniority At Your Airline.  
User currently offlineTsaord From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Posted (8 years 5 months 1 week 11 hours ago) and read 3662 times:

When I first came here I noticed some people mentioning that here in the U.S most F/A's on international long hual were mostly older F/A's with the most seniority all the time. Working in T5 at ORD when I would see AA come from LHR, NRT, MAN, FRA, I noticed they were always older say 40 years old+ and some granny looking. Then I would see BA, KE, JL, AF, LH, MX and wonder how their F/A's bidded on flights because they all seemed in their 20s-late 30s with a few older F/A.

So I'm asking how do non U.S airlines handle their bidding for flights? Is it the same as U.S airlines with the seniority system or is it just as simple as those other airlines just have a younger generation of people working for them?

36 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
 
User currently offlineFutureFO From Ireland, joined Oct 2001, 3132 posts, RR: 21
Reply 1, posted (8 years 5 months 1 week 10 hours ago) and read 3651 times:

The european and asian F/A's have an age maximum, the US has no restriction. Unfortuantely that is the way it is, personally I think there should be an age maximum here in the US.



Sean from MCO and SDF



I Don't know where I am anymore
User currently offlineAA767400 From United States of America, joined Jan 2001, 2363 posts, RR: 26
Reply 2, posted (8 years 5 months 1 week 10 hours ago) and read 3633 times:

There is no age maximum with the U.S. based airlines. Which means that granny will not leave until she dies on the plane.

The seniority system here for most airlines is that the more seniority you have, the better the trip. Hence the younger Crew members do the dirty work. They will do ORD-PHX-ORD-MIA(layover)MIA-DEN-LAX-DEN(layover)DEN-LGA-DEN-ORD. That is a normal 3-day domestic trip with little time to grab food, and not enough rest on their layovers. Then you do 5 or 6 of these trips a month to fill in your hours.

The grannys bid for a nice NRT where they do 3 trips a month. Folks that 9 days of work a month.

Sure they earned the right to have this seniority, but the reality is that MANY of them are way to old to be up there anymore. And let's face it, a young fresh group of Flight Attendants sure looks better. Take a look at VS, I had one VS deadheading Flight Attendant ask why I was the only one below 50 on my last SJU turn. And why do we keep the seat belt sign on for so long. I said that this is the reality here in the states.



"The low fares airline."
User currently offlineKLMCedric From Belgium, joined Dec 2003, 812 posts, RR: 22
Reply 3, posted (8 years 5 months 1 week 8 hours ago) and read 3561 times:

I think the problem is that on US carriers you have to fly on regional sector
for ages before you ever get the chance to do some longhaul!

On European carriers that's not an issue, at KLM for example everyone who
enters service wether they'be 21 or 45 immediately starts flying longhaul
as well as intra-european trips!


User currently offlineL1011Lover From Germany, joined Oct 2003, 989 posts, RR: 14
Reply 4, posted (8 years 5 months 6 days 19 hours ago) and read 3390 times:

Well, I wouldn´t say that the age restriction is necessarily the reason that more younger F/A´s are flying the international routes on the Non-US international carriers.

In the case of LH for instance the F/A´s usually retire at the age of 55, as it is still part of the LH cabin staff contract that they can get a so called transitional period compensation. How much you´ll get as a compensation or pension depends on how long you´ve been with the company. Easy count, the longer you´ve been around the more you´ve paid into the fund/account, the more you´ll get when entering the transitional period until you reach the legal German retirement age.

But there´s always the opportunity to skip the first 5 years of that period and keep active flying until the age of 60. And just recenly one of our former Pan Am F/A´s won a lawsuit against LH, and is now allowed to continue to fly until full retirement, which is at the age of 63 in her case. She argued that due to the fact that she came from Pan Am and only got half of her seniority when the former Pan Amers were taken over by LH the compensation she´d get wouldn´t be adequate and enough for comfortable living.

But back to the topic, I think one reason is that most of our older and more senior F/A´s are less passionate than the majority of the American F/A´s. So many of them just gladly retire at the age of 55 or quit even earlier in favor for another job away from the airline business or another position within the airline. Mostly the pursers stay till the end, but only a very small number of F/A´s... You need to know that unlike with the US carriers with European carriers its a big difference if you´re a simple F/A or a Puser and actually someone who wants to keep flying as long as possible usually works on getting promoted as a Purser sooner or later.
So LH and all the other European carriers simply have a higher fluctuation in F/A staffing than US carriers.

But there are even more contributing factors that result in a younger F/A crowd on European carriers on international flights especially to the US.

First of all our bidding is different. F/A´s have the opportunity to bid for one trip a month and 4 days off in a row, or two trips a month plus the 4 days off if they are language qualified and passed through a test in a second foreign language (beside English which of course is a requirement), the rest of the month F/A´s get assigned to trips by crew scheduling regardless of seniority or position. Also regardless of seniority every F/A has to take a few days of reserve or at least two reseve/stand-by lines a year, so everybody gets a schedule not only the more senior F/A´s. That´s something that is totally different at US airlines.

And while talking about bidding for flights it´s just a fact that US routes aren´t the most desired among our senior F/A´s. You´ll find the oldest crews usually on flights to Asia. Mostly BKK, HKG, PEK and PVG. I have 8 years of seniority with LH now and I´m usually not able to get a trip to BKK... the flight is simply too senior for me. I flew a BKK trip once out of reserve and the average F/A age on that flight was way higher than on any flight to the US. But since I´m one of a few LH F/A´s who loves the United States and I don´t really wanna fly anywhere else I´m happy with the way it is... Big grin Give me LAX, JFK, IAD or SFO over Asia any day... If I´d have to fly to Asia constantly the job would lose much of its attraction to me!

And one more reason is that the European carriers are simply more international airlines than the American carriers. While the majority of the US legacy carriers business is domsetic, the majority of LH´s business for instance is international flying, logically since the US is so much bigger than all of the European countries! Of course all the big 6 US carriers have become big players in the international market but compared to the European carriers they´re more domestic. The big European carriers are still more Pan Am like with service to almost all continents and many, many international destinations while US carriers are mostly big players in specific markets... like DL, which is number one across the atlantic but without a worth mentioning service to Asia, or NW and UA with big Asian networks but a smaller presence in Europe than DL... etc.
So I´d say, while 100% of Flight Attendants at American carriers cover like 30-40% (depending on airline) of international flights and 70-60% (or maybe even more) of domestic flights the ratio on European carriers is just the other way around.

So more international than domestic/european flights combined with a slightly higher fluctuation of F/A´s on European carriers and the assignment of flights regardless of seniority to each individual F/A by crew scheduling subsequently results in more younger F/A´s on international flights.

Still the most senior F/A´s at LH usually don´t fly the short hops, as with higher seniority they have the opportunity to transfer to an inflight service department that solely serves intercontinental flying and only widebody aircrafts while the younger crowd is flying a mixture of short/medium and longhaul flights and usually one widebody and one narrowbody type.

And last but not least, Americans in general have a longer working life than most Europeans... resulting in more grannys in the sky!!!!

By the way, I adore them and when flying privately I take US carriers as I love their performance and I enjoy oveserving the senior mommas work... their routine, enthusiasm and proffesionalism is a pleasure to see! And honestly every now and then I enjoy watching a grumpy, rude, old F/A... LOL!!!

Best regards

L1011Lover


User currently offlineL1011Lover From Germany, joined Oct 2003, 989 posts, RR: 14
Reply 5, posted (8 years 5 months 4 days 5 hours ago) and read 3220 times:

There are a few questions that come to my mind regarding F/A seniority at different carriers:

How hold are the most senior F/A´s at the respective US carriers and how much seniority do they have? I remember that TWA´s Number 1 F/A had close to 50 years of service and rather quit before being laid off by AA the very next day!!!  Sad

What is the age maximum at different Asian carriers and what kind of compensation is offered to those F/A´s who need to "retire". Or are they offered other positions with the airline? Or does the contract simply includes they´re out of the job once they reach a certain age? And then look for themselves whatelse to do for a living?


User currently offlineMonkeyboi From United Kingdom, joined Oct 2004, 457 posts, RR: 3
Reply 6, posted (8 years 5 months 4 days 2 hours ago) and read 3166 times:

At BA F/A seniority comes into almost everything....except for the rosters themselves.

Seniority is used to determine transfers between 'fleets': most crew start on short-haul then place their name on a transfer list to long haul. Your place on the list is determined by your date of joining although many crew choose to stay on short-haul.

Seniority is used to determine working conditions on the aircraft. Most senior gets first choice followed by 2nd most senior etc etc etc.

Seniority also comes into annual leave allocation and the ability to change to a part-time contract. Also staff travel.

Seniority DOESN'T actually come into play with the allocation of certain trips or days off.

We cannot bid to fly a certain route or to a certain destination. Each F/A is simply given two 'request trips' a year, regardless of seniority. We fly on whatever route the computer decides they will allocate to us.

We have little flexibility in our rosters due to the complex nature of the industrial agreements attached to each particular trip. So, whether you are the most senior F/A in BA you can still be rostered a NRT, HKG, or where ever else BA flies.

All in all, I am very junior within the scheme of things at long-haul LHR and yet get a good variety of destinations. The desirable and undesirable. The financially lucrative and the 'charity' trips!

There is new European Union legislation coming into effect later this year though which effectively bans seniority giving certain benefits within an organisatioin. Once this law is implemented it will likely have an impact on most of the above!


User currently offlineTG992 From New Zealand, joined Jan 2001, 2910 posts, RR: 10
Reply 7, posted (8 years 5 months 4 days 2 hours ago) and read 3160 times:

Air NZ has a very fair and equitable rostering system. Certain trips are classed as 'undesirable' (ie Australia 'double bangers' or sameday returns, one night LA stopovers) and are allocated equally to all crew using the computer rostering system.

We can request one trip per month and one lot of days off per month. The rest is all allocated by computer. Our trip request is assigned depending on 'last achieved request' - ie if a 40 year veteran had last got the trip she wanted two months ago and my last time was three months, I'd be ahead of her in the priority.

Our number 1 f/a has 43 years, incidentally. She started flying for TEAL, Air NZ's predecessor, on Lockheed Electras.



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User currently offlineFlyua From United States of America, joined Mar 2001, 318 posts, RR: 6
Reply 8, posted (8 years 5 months 3 days 23 hours ago) and read 3091 times:

Not an answer to the original poster's questions, but our #1 senior flight attendant at United started in 1948. She's 83 or 84 years old this year, and is flying the purser position from SFO to Beijing in May.

User currently offlineCommavia From United States of America, joined Apr 2005, 11640 posts, RR: 61
Reply 9, posted (8 years 5 months 3 days 23 hours ago) and read 3079 times:

Quoting L1011Lover (Reply 5):
How hold are the most senior F/A´s at the respective US carriers and how much seniority do they have?

I could be wrong, but I think I remember hearing that AA's most senior FA started with the company some time around 1955-1960.


User currently offlineL1011Lover From Germany, joined Oct 2003, 989 posts, RR: 14
Reply 10, posted (8 years 5 months 3 days 22 hours ago) and read 3049 times:

Hey Flyua

So I guess you´re talking about Iris, huh??? I think that was her name... I`ve always wondered if she´s still around... lol...


User currently offlineC680 From United States of America, joined Apr 2005, 588 posts, RR: 0
Reply 11, posted (8 years 5 months 3 days 22 hours ago) and read 3040 times:

Quoting Flyua (Reply 8):
Not an answer to the original poster's questions, but our #1 senior flight attendant at United started in 1948. She's 83 or 84 years old this year, and is flying the purser position from SFO to Beijing in May.

Who helps her get on and off the plane? Passengers or Crew?



My happy place is FL470 - what's yours?
User currently offlineL1011Lover From Germany, joined Oct 2003, 989 posts, RR: 14
Reply 12, posted (8 years 5 months 3 days 22 hours ago) and read 3028 times:

If I remember correctly she´s even a commuter... !!!

User currently offlineL1011Lover From Germany, joined Oct 2003, 989 posts, RR: 14
Reply 13, posted (8 years 5 months 3 days 22 hours ago) and read 3027 times:

If I remember correctly she´s even a commuter... !!!

User currently offlineL1011Lover From Germany, joined Oct 2003, 989 posts, RR: 14
Reply 14, posted (8 years 5 months 3 days 22 hours ago) and read 3016 times:

Now imagine that... a 83 year old lady commuting from somewhere to SFO and then working a 10 hour longhaul international flight...

I´m torn between unblievable, funny, impressive and scary... lol

I guess she must be quite fit for her age... anyone who can tell???


User currently offlineTsaord From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 15, posted (8 years 5 months 3 days 21 hours ago) and read 2997 times:

Quoting Flyua (Reply 8):
Not an answer to the original poster's questions, but our #1 senior flight attendant at United started in 1948. She's 83 or 84 years old this year, and is flying the purser position from SFO to Beijing in May.

WOW! Now I know all Airlines have have people with YEARS of tenure to the same Airline but I think this woman should get some type of award! I'm sure she has been on every aircraft manufactured to date from Boeing!

Somtimes I think about becoming a F/A but I dont think I have what it takes to be away from home for days on end! Plus I cant get on a plane nowadays without praying it doesnt explode or fall suddenly!
Thanks for the Information L1011


User currently offlineTG992 From New Zealand, joined Jan 2001, 2910 posts, RR: 10
Reply 16, posted (8 years 5 months 3 days 21 hours ago) and read 2991 times:



A photo of Ms. Peterson in 1953!

I believe she lives in SEA and commutes to SFO. Wikipedia notes she was born in 1921 and joined UA in 1944.



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User currently offlineFlyua From United States of America, joined Mar 2001, 318 posts, RR: 6
Reply 17, posted (8 years 5 months 3 days 20 hours ago) and read 2962 times:

TG992-- Wow! Thanks for the photo, and the facts! I love it that "Wikipedia" mentions our Iris!

Iris holds the crew "general declaration" forms close to her on all her flights (those are the forms that list our passport information and birth dates), so most of us nosey SFO-based flight attendants know of her age only by word of mouth. Thank you for helping set the record straight!

As for that photo, I can see the resemblance in the current-day Iris. She's just a bit hunched over nowadays!


User currently offlineHALFA From United States of America, joined Jan 2004, 1354 posts, RR: 15
Reply 18, posted (8 years 5 months 3 days 18 hours ago) and read 2918 times:

Here at Hawaiian Airlines, our senior most flight attendant is Charlotte. She has been flying for 49 years. She was hired in 1957. At Hawaiian, seniority is everything. We bid for our trips and days off each month and they are awarded by seniority. We use a computer based program to bid for the trips we want to take as well as the days off that we want to have. Presently, our most desired trips are the 3 day Sydney trips, HNL-SYD (10 hour flight) layover in SYD for 26 hours, and then SYD-HNL. The trip is worth 20 flight hours and our senior flight attendants only work this one trip per week. It leaves HNL on Wednesday's and returns to HNL on Fridays. Our LAX turns are also very senior. We leave HNL at 0810 and fly to Los Angeles. Spend about an hour and a half on the ground at LAX and then fly back to HNL and arrive at 8:25pm. This trip is worth 11 hours of flight time so flight attendants doing this trip only work 8 or 9 days per month and have LOTS of days off!
Seniority also determines which position we work on board the aircraft, with the first flight attendant position usually being the most senior as it pays $5.00 more per hour.
I have 21 years at Hawaiian and my normal run is the 4 day SYD trips. I leave HNL on Mondays, have 50 hours in SYD and then return home on Thursdays with the weekend off at home here in Hawaii. I have no complaints!

Aloha,
HALFA



Don't mess with Texas....We just may do that!
User currently offlineTWAviator From Brazil, joined Dec 2005, 18 posts, RR: 0
Reply 19, posted (8 years 5 months 3 days 14 hours ago) and read 2873 times:

Quoting L1011Lover (Reply 4):
Americans in general have a longer working life than most Europeans...

Thank you L1011Lover,
I learned something new today!



cheers
TWAviator



The most confortable way to fly
User currently offlineLetsgetwet From United States of America, joined Jul 2005, 609 posts, RR: 0
Reply 20, posted (8 years 5 months 3 days 14 hours ago) and read 2866 times:

Quoting AA767400 (Reply 2):
And let's face it, a young fresh group of Flight Attendants sure looks better

Since when is it a job requirement that you have to be a young pretty girl to be an F/A? I got hired after retiring from a large Chemical Company at the age of 58. I am neither young nor female, but I have better work ethics than most, and I'll challange any person half my age to keep up with me physically.


User currently offlineMats From United States of America, joined Jul 2003, 631 posts, RR: 1
Reply 21, posted (8 years 5 months 3 days 12 hours ago) and read 2835 times:

I was kind of shocked earlier this week on a flight from EZE to IAH. One of the cabin crew had only 7 years of seniority. She said that she was a Japanese speaker, hence her ability to get those trips. I was just surprised that with 7 years of seniority she was able to fly a very long non-Japanese flight. She did not speak Spanish.

User currently offlineL1011Lover From Germany, joined Oct 2003, 989 posts, RR: 14
Reply 22, posted (8 years 5 months 2 days 23 hours ago) and read 2708 times:

Letsgetwet

that was very well said!!! I highly agree! Truer words never spoken!

Monkeyboi, TG992, HALFA

Thanx for sharing all the info. It was very interesting indeed! It´s amazing how different certain airlines rostering and bidding systems are.


User currently offlineTbear815 From United States of America, joined Jun 2003, 704 posts, RR: 4
Reply 23, posted (8 years 5 months 2 days 21 hours ago) and read 2672 times:

As with anything, age is merely a state of mind. Yes, physical challenges must be taken into consideration, but a young 50-year old can sometimes work circles around a 20-year old with little ambition. There again, a state of mind!

User currently offlineCRGsFuture From United States of America, joined Jan 2006, 536 posts, RR: 1
Reply 24, posted (8 years 5 months 2 days 21 hours ago) and read 2662 times:

So with the European carriers, how old is your oldest F/A, and is there a push in labor laws to expand the years an F/A can work?


Flying you to your destination; your girlfriend to her dreams.
25 Corsairf/a : At Corsair, our roster is made by computer so seniority does not work. You can bid for one flight a month or for your 6 day off.
26 Rainbird : At DL the #1 FA was hired in 1956. DL uses Carmen's preferential bidding software for rostering and seniority is rewarded. #1 can preference what trip
27 AA767400 : We live in a world where sex sells! And anyone who says different is fooling themselves. Why do you think VS, and SQ do so well? Many Asian airlines
28 Post contains images CO767FA : Go look in the mirror...you are not getting any younger. Hopefully, as you age, you will become wise enough to know when your comments are constructi
29 Post contains images FURUREFA : The 3 most senior at AA are: 1 06-Nov-52 2 01-Oct-58 3 11-Nov-58 NWA is a purser hired in 1946 , rumour has it that he is an a** to the female flight
30 Airnewzealand : Hey guys at Qantas we work like the majors in the states! It all goes on ow senior you are! For example, you can bid on what trips you want from our b
31 CO767FA : At CO our top 5: June 21, 1957 Oct 24, 1959 Dec 12, 1959 Feb 06, 1960 Mar 21, 1961
32 AlanUK : If the success of an airline depended on the look and youth of its flight attendant, perhaps Hooters would still be with us! VS/SQ do well for lots o
33 Post contains images Travatl : I'll tell ya, there is something to be said for working at a young airline when it comes to senority. I'm going on my 11th year at AirTran - which wou
34 Aloha73G : The most senior F/A at Aloha is Patti. She was hired in January 1957. She was deadheading on my HNL-OAK flight last month and was very nice. She's in
35 Post contains images AA767400 : Please....Like saying look in the mirror is constructive or not rude. Save the drama speech for someone who cares. And don't make it like I am talkin
36 CO767FA : Ummm.....flying around...as in "non-rev"? Or flying around as a crewmember?
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