tu154
Posts: 334
Joined: Fri Dec 17, 2004 1:37 am

American Flight Attendants, What Happened To Us?

Thu Dec 08, 2005 4:12 pm

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!!
 
AY104
Posts: 451
Joined: Sun Nov 27, 2005 8:35 am

RE: American Flight Attendants, What Happened To Us?

Thu Dec 08, 2005 4:51 pm

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
 
ETStar
Posts: 1850
Joined: Mon Jan 12, 2004 6:25 am

RE: American Flight Attendants, What Happened To Us?

Thu Dec 08, 2005 5:26 pm

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.
 
TG992
Posts: 2310
Joined: Tue Jan 09, 2001 12:03 pm

RE: American Flight Attendants, What Happened To Us?

Thu Dec 08, 2005 5:46 pm

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!
-
 
beowulf
Posts: 743
Joined: Wed Jul 30, 2003 3:22 am

RE: American Flight Attendants, What Happened To Us?

Thu Dec 08, 2005 6:22 pm

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
 
Lufthansa
Posts: 2303
Joined: Thu May 20, 1999 6:04 am

RE: American Flight Attendants, What Happened To Us?

Thu Dec 08, 2005 6:30 pm

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.
 
FlyGuyClt
Posts: 1579
Joined: Tue Aug 02, 2005 10:23 pm

RE: American Flight Attendants, What Happened To Us?

Thu Dec 08, 2005 6:30 pm

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 ......
 
semsem
Posts: 1621
Joined: Fri Jul 29, 2005 1:06 am

RE: American Flight Attendants, What Happened To Us?

Thu Dec 08, 2005 6:55 pm

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.
 
zvezda
Posts: 8891
Joined: Sat Aug 28, 2004 8:48 pm

RE: American Flight Attendants, What Happened To Us?

Thu Dec 08, 2005 7:00 pm

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).
 
LPLAspotter
Posts: 671
Joined: Mon Jan 17, 2005 4:27 am

RE: American Flight Attendants, What Happened To Us?

Thu Dec 08, 2005 7:25 pm

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
 
LPLAspotter
Posts: 671
Joined: Mon Jan 17, 2005 4:27 am

RE: American Flight Attendants, What Happened To Us?

Thu Dec 08, 2005 7:27 pm

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
 
PacCoaster
Posts: 3
Joined: Sat Aug 20, 2005 7:29 am

RE: American Flight Attendants, What Happened To Us?

Thu Dec 08, 2005 8:47 pm

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
 
kiwiandrew

RE: American Flight Attendants, What Happened To Us?

Thu Dec 08, 2005 8:57 pm

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 .
 
TG992
Posts: 2310
Joined: Tue Jan 09, 2001 12:03 pm

RE: American Flight Attendants, What Happened To Us?

Thu Dec 08, 2005 9:07 pm

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..
-
 
zvezda
Posts: 8891
Joined: Sat Aug 28, 2004 8:48 pm

RE: American Flight Attendants, What Happened To Us?

Thu Dec 08, 2005 9:14 pm

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.
 
CO767FA
Posts: 388
Joined: Mon Aug 08, 2005 1:45 am

RE: American Flight Attendants, What Happened To Us?

Thu Dec 08, 2005 9:28 pm

Not to worry, most of us will be replaced in the "outsourcing" and then the service improvements, everyone appears to seek, will be met.
 
Gilligan
Posts: 1993
Joined: Mon May 02, 2005 12:15 pm

RE: American Flight Attendants, What Happened To Us?

Thu Dec 08, 2005 9:48 pm

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.
Warm winds blowing, heating blue skies, and a road that goes forever, I'm going to Texas!
 
User avatar
yowza
Posts: 4275
Joined: Fri Jul 29, 2005 7:01 am

RE: American Flight Attendants, What Happened To Us?

Thu Dec 08, 2005 10:13 pm

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
 
christao17
Posts: 902
Joined: Sun Apr 17, 2005 12:14 pm

RE: American Flight Attendants, What Happened To Us?

Thu Dec 08, 2005 10:19 pm

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...
 
Xkorpyoh
Posts: 727
Joined: Fri Oct 29, 2004 12:55 am

RE: American Flight Attendants, What Happened To Us?

Thu Dec 08, 2005 10:46 pm

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.
 
commavia
Posts: 9744
Joined: Mon Apr 25, 2005 2:30 am

RE: American Flight Attendants, What Happened To Us?

Thu Dec 08, 2005 11:09 pm

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.
 
NYCAAer
Posts: 595
Joined: Thu Jul 29, 2004 10:22 pm

RE: American Flight Attendants, What Happened To Us?

Thu Dec 08, 2005 11:09 pm

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!"
 
lahaina
Posts: 238
Joined: Sun Sep 03, 2000 1:51 am

RE: American Flight Attendants, What Happened To Us?

Thu Dec 08, 2005 11:50 pm

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.
 
panamair
Posts: 3761
Joined: Fri Oct 12, 2001 2:24 am

RE: American Flight Attendants, What Happened To Us?

Fri Dec 09, 2005 12:29 am

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.
 
ckfred
Posts: 4714
Joined: Wed Apr 25, 2001 12:50 pm

RE: American Flight Attendants, What Happened To Us?

Fri Dec 09, 2005 12:46 am

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.
 
CO767FA
Posts: 388
Joined: Mon Aug 08, 2005 1:45 am

RE: American Flight Attendants, What Happened To Us?

Fri Dec 09, 2005 12:48 am

Quoting Gilligan (Reply 17):
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.

That's great....what career are u pursuing?

Quoting Gilligan (Reply 17):
beats the living day lights out of selling fruit from a cart on some dusty or chilly corner.

What exactly are you saying here...that f/a's would be "selling fruit" if they weren't flying?

Quoting YOWza (Reply 18):
FAs on US carriers on the whole seem to have the worst attitudes.

Generalizations like this are infuriating. F/A's are just like everyone else, some days are good, others are bad and often it has to do with how they are treated by the flying public.

Problems with appearance, attitudes and overall job performance are due to a lack of good supervision and management. US Labor Laws also have a hand in letting people keep jobs they should otherwise lose. Although, the laws were put in place because of the mismanagement of personnel by corporate managers.
 
FL1TPA
Posts: 225
Joined: Tue May 18, 2004 7:29 am

RE: American Flight Attendants, What Happened To Us?

Fri Dec 09, 2005 12:49 am

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 here for 10 years and have no reason to change. They wear non-uniform pieces, hair in non-compliance, snap at passengers and argue with hotels about thier rooms. If they get called on any of it, the supervisor looks the other way figuring "the union has protected them for 10 years, what can I do?" or it's a slap on the wrist with absolutely no consequences. Meanwhile, the junior F/A in thier first few months gets fired for being 5 minutes late because they're still on probation - and not yet represented by the union.

Not to turn this into a non-union thread, but I really don't think they do as much good as they do bad. I worked as a non-union Customer Service Agent for 2 1/2 years and never felt I was being jerked around or cheated by the Company. Agents would vote NO on a union every year. I personally detest the fact they take almost $20 a month from me and for what? That's about $1,000 a year from EVERY F/A in the Company. $1,500,000 a year!!! We were in negotiations for a new contract for about 3 years; I doubt it was worth $4,500,000. On top of that, you don't even have a choice. You MUST pay union dues or the Company can fire you.

I also believe that unions are a contributing factor to the ailing health of our industry. While my employer is relatively stable, I look around the ramp at all the other majors in BK and wonder if they would be there if no unions existed.
"But FL1TPA, unions help employees and keep them from being 'raped' by the management when things aren't going so well." BULL. If management cut wages to non-union employees by too much, those employees would find other jobs or retire. Oh, and I don't buy the argument that F/As and Pilots only have one skill set and that's all they know how to do; that's crap in a hat.

Sorry to rant like that. I love my job and pride myself on looking professional and treating the Customer like family. I just don't want anyone ruining it for all of us who do enjoy being a "sexy stew."  silly 

FL1TPA
"Looks like I picked the wrong week to stop sniffin' glue."
 
kiwiandrew

RE: American Flight Attendants, What Happened To Us?

Fri Dec 09, 2005 12:49 am

Quoting Ckfred (Reply 25):
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.

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 had) the same policy .
 
commavia
Posts: 9744
Joined: Mon Apr 25, 2005 2:30 am

RE: American Flight Attendants, What Happened To Us?

Fri Dec 09, 2005 12:58 am

Quoting Ckfred (Reply 25):
The other point to remember is that the U.S. is much less class conscious than other countries.

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 obviously a generalization, but I think that it is definitely not unfair to say that foreigners (particularly Europeans) care far more about their appearance, and looking "stylish" and presentable, than Americans do. There are good and bad to this, no doubt, and one definite downside is that, generally speaking, Europeans just look much better when they get dressed up for work (as a flight attendant or anything else) whereas Americans basically pile on whatever they have time for between layovers, try to squeeze in a few hours of sleep, and say "the hell with it" to any other forms of beautification.
 
XA744
Posts: 630
Joined: Sat Mar 13, 2004 11:40 am

RE: American Flight Attendants, What Happened To Us?

Fri Dec 09, 2005 1:00 am

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 consideration to others is a rule in daily life, like what you see happening in the eastern world.

Speaking of crew behavior and attitudes in the industry in Mexico, I can only tell you, that you don´t find consistency and standards. It looks like we have decided to follow pretty much the American way.

Devotion, commitment and attitude, are ingredients that would need to be nourished during the early years, both at home and at school.

Regards
No matter how you fly...just never get your wings clipped !
 
highguy76
Posts: 174
Joined: Wed Jun 25, 2003 10:38 pm

RE: American Flight Attendants, What Happened To Us?

Fri Dec 09, 2005 2:41 am

Quoting FL1TPA (Reply 27):
If they get called on any of it, the supervisor looks the other way figuring "the union has protected them for 10 years, what can I do?" or it's a slap on the wrist with absolutely no consequences.

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 than not a lax attitude is taken in matters of grooming and appearance by supervisors, and these kinds of problems rarely are cause for termination disscussion.

Even in cases of insubordination or safety issues, a terminated FA seems to get more help from leagle counsel than they do from a union rep. While it is not an easy or fast process, FAs get fired quite often, and the union is no assistance at all. After a couple of years in court, we see those same FAs back on the line, with back pay and damages. The union is more concerned with upholding contractual rights, and of course keeping their own posistions.

Highguy76
 
JAFA
Posts: 740
Joined: Wed Aug 27, 2003 1:31 pm

RE: American Flight Attendants, What Happened To Us?

Fri Dec 09, 2005 3:23 am

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 flight attendants never start off with a bad attitude. It doesn't take long dealing with the American general public to "break" a new flight attendant.

passengers who don't even look at you when you ask them if they want a beverage.

Passengers who don't bother to return a "good morning", many of my colleagues stoppped saying it because they don't get a response.

Passengers who routinely ignore annoucements requesting normal procedures, like turning off electronic devices.

people who use you as thier sounding board when they don't get what they feel they deserve.

These are the biggest problems as I see them. There is also lack of any kind of service training from the airlines, and to a lesser degree U.S. based flight attendants are a product of thier own culture. Rudeness, slopiness, and indifference is the norm not just on airlines but in most places of business.

In Europe and Asia a higher emphasis is placed on service and appearance.
 
malaysia
Posts: 2615
Joined: Wed Nov 03, 1999 3:26 am

RE: American Flight Attendants, What Happened To U

Fri Dec 09, 2005 4:08 am

Quoting YOWza (Reply 18):
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.

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 work for EA and they let her wear it on her America West Uniform.
There Are Those Who Believe That There May Yet Be Other Airlines Who Even Now Fight To Survive Beyond The Heavens
 
commavia
Posts: 9744
Joined: Mon Apr 25, 2005 2:30 am

RE: American Flight Attendants, What Happened To Us?

Fri Dec 09, 2005 4:13 am

Quoting Jafa (Reply 32):
Generally its a lack of respect from passengers that eventually wears down people.

So true. Flight attendants get treated like crap by passengers. Someone missed their meeting, someone has a bad marriage, whatever, and flight attendants have to be treated miserably because of it. It's pathetic, but not a complete excuse for the way some flight attendants act, either.
 
zvezda
Posts: 8891
Joined: Sat Aug 28, 2004 8:48 pm

RE: American Flight Attendants, What Happened To Us?

Fri Dec 09, 2005 4:21 am

Quoting CO767FA (Reply 26):
US Labor Laws also have a hand in letting people keep jobs they should otherwise lose.

Yes, very true.

Quoting CO767FA (Reply 26):
Although, the laws were put in place because of the mismanagement of personnel by corporate managers.

No, the laws were put in place because politicians sell legislation to special interest groups such as labor unions.
 
kevi747
Posts: 991
Joined: Sat Apr 14, 2001 5:59 pm

RE: American Flight Attendants, What Happened To Us?

Fri Dec 09, 2005 4:24 am

Quoting Beowulf (Reply 4):
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.

Drama queen.  sarcastic 

Quoting Zvezda (Reply 8):
No!!! Xmas is offensive to many non-Christians.

Don't be so sensitive.  sarcastic 

Quoting NYCAAer (Reply 22):
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!"

Those coats they give us SUCK!!! They are eyesores, and the wind blows right through them and into your bones.  cold  They're terrible!! I wear a cashmere overcoat that my dad gave me 2 years ago, and it looks TIGHT with the uniform! I love it. I'll agree with you about the clogs though...hideous.  Wink

I think every stereotype has some truth to it, so I won't say you guys are completely off-base. But you all are much more critical than normal passengers. We always have happy people disembarking who thank us for a great flight. It's a normal occurance.

I hate when I have to work with a rude F/A (just a headsup: they're mean to the rest of the crew too). I worked with this one lady the other night and I just wanted to crawl under a rock because she was being so mean to the PAX. I was so embarrassed. And the PAX were really sweet too!! I just tried to be extra nice and managed to keep them happy.

But we have foreign nationals at AA who are bsed in South America, and I think they are much ruder to PAX than any of us are. (Especially those putas from Lima.) Plus I've gotten really cold "service" on foreign airlines too. Infact I think we are much nicer than some of the European and South American F/A's.
"Reality has a well-known liberal bias." --Stephen Colbert
 
AirWillie6475
Posts: 2372
Joined: Thu Jan 27, 2005 1:45 pm

RE: American Flight Attendants, What Happened To Us?

Fri Dec 09, 2005 4:45 am

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 some Int. airlines don't want their F/As to be older than 30 years. I know it's hard to believe but it's the truth.

Also another thing, comparing the service and apperance of Japanse and French to the American F/As is like comparing night and day. Especially the Japanese. The culture is very different Japnase and French tend to be more obediant and like to serve, while U.S flight attendants think they are there for saftey and not serving people. Glad to know a U.S F/As is noticing things.
 
APFPilot1985
Posts: 1840
Joined: Fri Nov 26, 2004 12:51 pm

RE: American Flight Attendants, What Happened To Us?

Fri Dec 09, 2005 5:01 am

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

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 he "shed"
Stand Up and Be Counted Visit Site Related to Voice your opinion
 
HPLASOps
Posts: 1767
Joined: Thu Nov 24, 2005 6:13 pm

RE: American Flight Attendants, What Happened To Us?

Fri Dec 09, 2005 5:30 am

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 found that the men usually have bigger smiles, hide their baggage (issues, troubles, i'm referring to) well, and really do focus better on making the customer experience the best it can be. One time I flew MSP-LAS on HP, and I sat in the first row of first class on a 737 (which means no partition wall between first class and the jumpseats) and I listened and payed close attention to the two flight attendants and their actions. There was an older gentleman, probably in his 50s or 60s, who stayed very quiet throughout the flight but constantly made sure that the first class pax were well taken care of. The other one was a young woman, about mid 20s who spent much of her time in the jumpseat as opposed to the main cabin and she did quite alot of grumbling about how tired she was, the issues she was having with her ex bf and her kid, etc. And I have sinced looked for such trends on other flights and tried to remember previous flights and I do notice a distinct difference in the level of service men provide over women. Perhaps its because F/As have always been percieved to be a female dominated posistion and the men feel like they have to work that much harder since they don't have the T and A to show off. Just something I noticed - anybody have a similar/differing viewpoint on this matter?
"Just because I know how to get off a freeway doesn't mean I know how to get back on!" - Retard Joe
 
Ken777
Posts: 9046
Joined: Thu Mar 11, 2004 5:39 am

RE: American Flight Attendants, What Happened To Us?

Fri Dec 09, 2005 5:45 am

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 laws have stopped the practice of having FAs leave when they reach a certain age or become pregnant. The result is that a lot of FAs have been around for a long time and no longer find the job exciting, or even interesting. They don't love their job any more, and it shows.

Then you throw in a mix of pax - some good and some pretty bad - and things can head south rather fast. I've seen too many pax that believe they have unique "rights" and, at times, have given the FA my business card in case a pax complained. I always made a note of the problem in the event I was contacted.

For US carriers I believe that the international flights (at a minimum) should have a balance of FAs based on seniority - a percentage of various levels of seniority. It would certainly wake up a few of the bad ones.

In general terms I think you get about the same as you give. It doesn't cost a penny to smile and good manners aren't expensive. I remember being on a CIA-LHR BA flight a few years back. The FAs were very good and towards the end of the flight I was asked to fill out one of their surveys. I wrote a very complementary comment, which reflected the actual service, and I saw a few of them reading it like mad - and several came by to thank me for the comments. It appears that too many pax don't understand the FAs job, or notice when they do it very well.

From my experience, CX and BA FAs have always been very good, QF is up there most of the time and AA some of the time.
 
zvezda
Posts: 8891
Joined: Sat Aug 28, 2004 8:48 pm

RE: American Flight Attendants, What Happened To U

Fri Dec 09, 2005 5:56 am

Quoting Jafa (Reply 32):
Generally its a lack of respect from passengers that eventually wears down people. New flight attendants never start off with a bad attitude. It doesn't take long dealing with the American general public to "break" a new flight attendant.

Even if true, this does not explain why non-US FAs provide (on average) dramatically better service than US FAs.

Quoting HPLASOps (Reply 39):
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.

That, for me at least, is an inciteful observation. I've never noted it before, but I've had excellent service from both male and female US FAs, however, I cannot recall ever seeing truly horrendous service from male FA. I've written plenty of orchid letters for both male and female FAs but, to the best of my recollection, I have written onion letters only about female FAs.
 
skyhigh777
Posts: 334
Joined: Sun Aug 14, 2005 7:07 am

RE: American Flight Attendants, What Happened To Us?

Fri Dec 09, 2005 6:00 am

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 difference I once experienced going from a TAM flight to an AA flight was truly astonishing. The South American FA's were impecabbly dressed, young, and represented the airline in the most excellent style with superior customer service. I have also flown numerous times in LAN and they are truly exceptional too. It's not to say that the service I experienced on AA was bad, it is just that the service I experienced on South American airlines like TAM and LAN were far supperior. We'll see how my flight on AA to Paraguay in two weeks works out.
Prepare for take-off.
 
PRAirbus
Posts: 687
Joined: Wed Apr 20, 2005 11:59 pm

RE: American Flight Attendants, What Happened To Us?

Fri Dec 09, 2005 6:03 am

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 cultural. Europeans and Asians tend to dress better and more conservative. Take a look at the average middle America not so frequent traveler or the ordinary passenger that goes once or twice a year to a leisure resort, Hawaii or Vegas...see how they dress? Americans are too laid back about dress codes. I do think a foreign carrier FA earns more respect than the average US waitress or waiter in the sky! If you look like a waiter(tress) that is how you will be treated. It's about perception. Foreign carriers are more selective when hiring and hold their employees accountable. As a frequent flyer on one of US largest carriers, the majority of the FAs do look like they just rolled out of bed. No pride whatsoever. On top of that, most are rude and hate their jobs! That's is a sad reality...there are always a few that are extra nice, care about their jobs, treat passengers like humans, etc...for the most part...US FAs are like a box of chocolates...you never know what you are gonna get. I rather fly w/a foreign carrier: BA, LH, CX, LA, JL, SQ are world class operations and so the majority of their FAs. Sorry, US guys but you do not match them...and your grooming is terrible.
 
skyhigh777
Posts: 334
Joined: Sun Aug 14, 2005 7:07 am

RE: American Flight Attendants, What Happened To Us?

Fri Dec 09, 2005 6:10 am

Quoting Kevi747 (Reply 36):

But we have foreign nationals at AA who are bsed in South America, and I think they are much ruder to PAX than any of us are. (Especially those putas from Lima.) Plus I've gotten really cold "service" on foreign airlines too. Infact I think we are much nicer than some of the European and South American F/A's.

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 a "puta" too if I had to deal with an old Airbus that breaks down and causes delays left and right during each trip to and from Lima. I think that maybe your perception is a bit off about them. People from Lima, particularly the upper-middle class white ones, tend to be a bit snobbish and stuck up. But, that does not mean they did not deliver good service. Actually I even remember one of them comforting the boy sitting in front of me the whole time because he was afraid of flying, so she kept bringing him coloring books and things to keep him entertained. That was just my experience of it, though.
Prepare for take-off.
 
soamsky
Posts: 293
Joined: Mon Jan 26, 2004 3:41 am

RE: American Flight Attendants, What Happened To Us?

Fri Dec 09, 2005 6:15 am

Quoting Zvezda (Reply 8):
No!!! Xmas is offensive to many non-Christians. Prosletizing on the job (or at any time while in uniform is unacceptable).

Get a life!!!!!
Soar the blue of the South American Sky
 
PRAirbus
Posts: 687
Joined: Wed Apr 20, 2005 11:59 pm

RE: American Flight Attendants, What Happened To Us?

Fri Dec 09, 2005 6:18 am

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 work w/backpacks, no make up, wearing clogs or wearing a non-Company issued sweater. Going back to the cultural mentality, foreigners tend to dress better when they leave their house or go to work. It's ironic because they do portray a professional look even when they wear the same "polyester"...God forbid you ask a US based FA for his/her name...they threaten calling Security! Foreign carrier employees wear nametags and do not get killed on layovers...lack of professionalism I call it...usually the ones that don't wear a nametag are the rudest. Wonder why?????
 
luv2fly
Posts: 11056
Joined: Tue May 13, 2003 2:57 am

RE: American Flight Attendants, What Happened To Us?

Fri Dec 09, 2005 6:46 am

Quoting Commavia (Reply 21):
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.

Southwest has been around for over 30+ years. Low fares have nothing to do with it.
You can cut the irony with a knife
 
Welsh987
Posts: 1
Joined: Sat Jun 26, 2004 12:38 am

RE: American Flight Attendants, What Happened To Us?

Fri Dec 09, 2005 6:50 am

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 both a pilot and passenger and these are the things I pay attention to and take stock in when traveling: 1) Trusting that the flight crew will perform all operations safely so that we can get from point A to B in a secure manner; 2) and that I am treated by the FAs in a manner that reflects that I have paid hundreds of dollars for a seat on their airline. That is ALL.

Does the fact that an FA's roots are showing inhibit his/her ability to work safely? No. Does it endanger the flight or make my in-flight snack less 'pleasurable' (haha) if an FA's hair is tossled? No. Does it matter if an FA is overweight and 'dumpy'? No. And in this vein, I must say that trashing flight attendants about their weight is not only a trivial act, but outright unethical. We don't care if our lawyers, doctors, professors, and the other slew of professionals are overweight. To focus so much on the weight of FAs seems like a horribly demeaning throwback to the sexist era.

The point is this: Just board the plane (a glorified bus, really), try not to get too disparaged about the lack of food the airline serves you, read a book, do a crossword, go to sleep, and just sit back and wait until you get to your destination. Face it, this isn't the glorious jet age of travel anymore. It's about utility now.

Ciao!
 
commavia
Posts: 9744
Joined: Mon Apr 25, 2005 2:30 am

RE: American Flight Attendants, What Happened To Us?

Fri Dec 09, 2005 6:52 am

Quoting Luv2fly (Reply 47):
Southwest has been around for over 30+ years. Low fares have nothing to do with it.

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 service that consumers could expect on U.S. carriers was exceedingly higher, generally, than what they can expect today. This is due, at least in part, to the fact that crimped budgets and an increasing cost pressure have led to service cutbacks in order to deliver the one factor that most consumers not care about: price.

I'm not criticizing Southwest or in any way trying to say that I disagree with their business model or what they have done. It's obvious that they have given customers what they wanted, which is not a bad thing. I'm just simply stating something that I think virtually everyone would agree with:

a) Southwest is largely responsible for the low-fare culture prevelant in today's airline industry
b) The low-fare culture prevelant in today's airline industry is partly responsible for different service standards
c) Therefore, Southwest is at least "something to do" with different service standards
 
DCrawley
Posts: 328
Joined: Mon Jun 06, 2005 3:18 am

RE: American Flight Attendants, What Happened To Us?

Fri Dec 09, 2005 6:55 am

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.

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 in the contract dealing with the "in case of.." issues (like health, policy) for it to be somewhat attractive to an employee as well.. and how would this go over with the unions? The only contracts of similar nature in this industry that I can think of are when an airline hires a pilot and he must sign a contract (for 2 years) saying he will not leave the airline because they paid for his training and if he does, he owes them something to the effect of $10,000. I'd be interested to your thoughts on what this contract would include.

Quoting Zvezda (Reply 8):
No!!! Xmas is offensive to many non-Christians. Prosletizing on the job (or at any time while in uniform is unacceptable).

Oh, give them a break. If it means better service, I'm all for it! I know many non-Christians whom aren't offended by Christmas (including a lot of Jewish people, Buddhists, Muslims, and Atheists). IMO, the world we live in is too sensitive and especially in the USA, where everyone deems it necessary to be "politically correct".

Quoting YOWza (Reply 18):
You are spot on my friend regardless of what some bitter Americans may have to say.

Couldn't you have just said "I agree" instead of name calling?

-d
"Weather at our destination is 50 degrees with some broken clouds, but they'll try to have them fixed before we arrive."