Well, I don't know about Europe, but in the US, it's the FAA that decides crew rest (8 hours for FA
), and you can't expect the airlines to be more generous. Crew scheduling will give you just that, 8 hours. That's just how it works this day and age.
Let's talk ATL
for example and let's use a small plane like a 737. You are a flight attendant who just flew from Mexico City to Atlanta. Crew rest starts 15 minutes after the aircraft block in time. So, plane pulls in and you start deboarding. On a 737 this can take at about 30 minutes from start to finish. You can add another 15 for gathering up your bags and the rest of the crew and the walk to immigrations, where the customs process begins. On a good day, with an average amount of crew in front of you, immigration, customs, and security will take about an hour. Next hop on the train then walk to ground transportation, 30 minutes. Waiting for the hotel shuttle, at least 15 minutes. Driving to the hotel, checking in, and getting to your room, 30 minutes.
So by the time your key hits that door, you have a whopping total of five and a half hours until your airline can make you work again. Of course there are some variables here, but I did it for the past year and it consistently took two and a half hours until I was home. This isn't even taking into account getting ready and getting to the airport in the morning. You're lucky to get four hours sleep.
And this is with a small plane. I can imagine the process is a lot longer for a 757 and up. Let's also not forget that some crews do have to work connecting flights, and if they aren't on the plane as soon as possible, that flight is going no where.
Now if we had to wait for all our passengers to go through before us, you would have crew on their next flight that are fatigued, and that's not safe.
I understand what you're saying, put the customer first, and that's a nice thought, but it doesn't work in practice in this case. Flights get delayed when crews don't get priority through customs and security. Most importantly it's a safety issue. If I'm a passenger, I want my pilots and flight attendants as well rested as possible. An on time flight with an alert crew is
good customer service.
Brian - SPOT THIS!