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gia777
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Why many flight attendant in the US are very not customer friendly?

Wed Apr 26, 2017 2:25 am

Ok, I am trying not to accuse every single flight attendant in the US are rude / having high temper and not customer friendly, however in the recent weeks, we have seen many incident involving flight attendant's bad attitudes toward the customers. My biggest question is, why can't each airline in the US implement a new set of training and improve their service quality into 5 stars, I mean how hard it is?

I have been flying with Garuda many2 times, and in the past 5 years, I can't recall / remember any bad experience with their service quality. In fact, all I experienced lately, they keep improving, always smile and care and polite. I am sure that goes as well with all other asian carriers such as SQ, Cathay, ANA, Eva. I mean if they can do it, why the US can't?
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Re: Why many flight attendant in the US are very not customer friendly?

Wed Apr 26, 2017 2:44 am

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Re: Why many flight attendant in the US are very not customer friendly?

Wed Apr 26, 2017 2:58 am

The FA in the article has only been in the business for 4 years. The attitudes and service levels of US airlines has been below that of most foreign carriers for much longer than 4 years. I have flown many foreign carriers, and have noticed the difference in service levels for the past 20 years.
Airlines always complain about the issue of carry on luggage. However the airlines started this issue when they started charging for checked luggage. They started the problem, and they could fix it if they were motivated to. They have gotten used to the billions collected in checked luggage fees.
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atcsundevil
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Re: Why many flight attendant in the US are very not customer friendly?

Wed Apr 26, 2017 3:10 am

I think it seems that perhaps you're making a few too many assumptions suggesting this is some kind of endemic problem among US carriers. There are bad apples, sure, but in my years of flying, it has been on very rare occasions that I've come across them. As a former 1K on United, I would say the cabin crew met or exceeded my expectations at least 85% of the time. Another 14% fell below my expectations, with less than 1% being downright poor at their jobs.

This isn't to say the isn't room for plenty of improvement, because the culture at many US carriers over the past 15+ years has fueled some of the surliness. Cabin crews and flight crews have been screwed a number of different ways in recent years. That said, I think many of the stories in the media have been overhyped to a large extent as it relates to cabin crew "friendliness". The vast majority are extremely competent at their jobs, and perform very well at their customer service duties. The service levels aren't always on par with some of the top global airlines, but that doesn't always make for a great comparison. CX or SQ, for example, strive to be the best. AA or UA or DL strive to be good. Expectations sometimes need to be put into perspective.
 
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Pellegrine
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Re: Why many flight attendant in the US are very not customer friendly?

Wed Apr 26, 2017 3:18 am

As a UA FF I've had mostly pleasant FAs, met some nasty ground crew, but most of them were nice too.

It's customer service, sometimes people get fed up. Working a CS job is not easy, and you are not paid very well. You have to deal with people and their attitudes all day, every day. I don't blame some of them for having meltdowns.

In the US specifically, a lot of CS workers are looked down upon...as if they are of a class less than the customer. You might find this opposite to some countries where that Garuda steward is in a very esteemed position and treated as such.
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Re: Why many flight attendant in the US are very not customer friendly?

Wed Apr 26, 2017 3:19 am

Will be a constant back and forth between passengers and cabin crew. I have met some wonderful, wonderful individuals that truly put the safety and comfort of their passengers first while some I can count on one hand need to start holding a homeless sign outside my local Walmart.

With that being said, the problem with these airlines are not the good employees or passengers or management, it's the very few bad eggs and the corrupt unions that let them keep their job.
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Re: Why many flight attendant in the US are very not customer friendly?

Wed Apr 26, 2017 3:29 am

Why many customer in the US are very not flight attendant friendly?
 
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Re: Why many flight attendant in the US are very not customer friendly?

Wed Apr 26, 2017 3:32 am

atcsundevil wrote:
I think it seems that perhaps you're making a few too many assumptions suggesting this is some kind of endemic problem among US carriers. There are bad apples, sure, but in my years of flying, it has been on very rare occasions that I've come across them. As a former 1K on United, I would say the cabin crew met or exceeded my expectations at least 85% of the time. Another 14% fell below my expectations, with less than 1% being downright poor at their jobs.

This isn't to say the isn't room for plenty of improvement, because the culture at many US carriers over the past 15+ years has fueled some of the surliness. Cabin crews and flight crews have been screwed a number of different ways in recent years. That said, I think many of the stories in the media have been overhyped to a large extent as it relates to cabin crew "friendliness". The vast majority are extremely competent at their jobs, and perform very well at their customer service duties. The service levels aren't always on par with some of the top global airlines, but that doesn't always make for a great comparison. CX or SQ, for example, strive to be the best. AA or UA or DL strive to be good. Expectations sometimes need to be put into perspective.


So as a 1K flyer you think they treat Coach passengers the same? They know your a 1K before you board and will go beyond to make you happy as well as most in first or business. The back of the plane they worry less about the passengers these days.
 
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Re: Why many flight attendant in the US are very not customer friendly?

Wed Apr 26, 2017 3:32 am

Also wanted to add that most problems come from either management through nickle and diming and the FAA with some both extremely needed and extremely unnecessary rules. The FA's of course have to enforce all of that to keep their jobs and now look like the bad guys.

Can't really talk about management unless people want to pay more for their tickets, so that just leaves the FAA, which needs to be shut down and restarted with an entirely new organization anyway.
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Re: Why many flight attendant in the US are very not customer friendly?

Wed Apr 26, 2017 3:38 am

It all comes down to scale, how many more flight attendant "flights" are there in the US per day vs other countries? Break down each type of plane a carrier operates (to get number of flight attendants on board) multiplied by number of flights of that type per day and add them all up.

I am not making an excuse for flight attendants or anyone with poor customer service but I think it is relative. People doing their jobs and being pleasant does not make the news or a social media story. To be social media famous, it needs to be egregious.

I would bet if the numbers were run, regardless of country, we would see very small (near zero %) of incidents the OP is referring to, per flight per flight attendant.

Looking at fleet size (not the clear cut metric but still gives a ballpark), in the OPs post he mentions SQ, Eva, ANA, Cathay and Garuda, using Wiki i get a quick count of approx 700 aircraft in the combined fleet. That is about the size of Southwest Airlines fleet. The point being, on a relative basis, I would be shocked if there was a significant difference. Not to mention the demands on a flight attendant are more on short / frequent flights, vs 1 long haul flight (why else would senior FAs want the later?)
 
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Re: Why many flight attendant in the US are very not customer friendly?

Wed Apr 26, 2017 3:41 am

I don't think such a generalization is fair. Some of the incidents reported of late have had nothing to do with flight attendants.

Airline jobs often include having to tell customers what they don't want to hear. It does seem that some folks translate that into a personal affront no matter how nicely an employee puts it, and whether it's anything the airline has control over or not. I think perhaps that the U.S. customer cultural base has for whatever reason evolved into looking for trouble, and when you go looking for trouble, you find it. We just aren't as polite as we used to be. And yes, employees are human too, and some are indeed absolute stinkers, but not anywhere close to the majority.
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According to my FlightMemory statistics, I've flown 87 airlines, so I do think I have a good perspective on this. I certainly cannot indict any country's flight attendants as a group... there are clinkers in every aspect of life. I usually feel honored by flight service and table waiters in the U.S. as a whole.
Last edited by Wingtips56 on Wed Apr 26, 2017 3:44 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Why many flight attendant in the US are very not customer friendly?

Wed Apr 26, 2017 3:43 am

Pellegrine wrote:
As a UA FF I've had mostly pleasant FAs, met some nasty ground crew, but most of them were nice too.

It's customer service, sometimes people get fed up. Working a CS job is not easy, and you are not paid very well. You have to deal with people and their attitudes all day, every day. I don't blame some of them for having meltdowns.

In the US specifically, a lot of CS workers are looked down upon...as if they are of a class less than the customer. You might find this opposite to some countries where that Garuda steward is in a very esteemed position and treated as such.


Yes we see people with an I don't have to follow rules attitude board every day and drive you guys bonkers. When they get told they can't do something the first reaction seems to be the more noise and fuss I make the more the airline will pay me. Sorry world we live in. And it's all customer service jobs now. Seen people bagging on restaurant workers and just told them you here every day eating and bitching. If they stopped serving you would you starve as you obviously do not know how to cook & feed yourself. Shuts them right up.
 
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Re: Why many flight attendant in the US are very not customer friendly?

Wed Apr 26, 2017 3:44 am

rbavfan wrote:
So as a 1K flyer you think they treat Coach passengers the same? They know your a 1K before you board and will go beyond to make you happy as well as most in first or business. The back of the plane they worry less about the passengers these days.

I'm a former 1K. I still fly quite often, but I quit chasing status a couple of years ago. Even without status, there hasn't been some marked change in treatment towards me regardless of which cabin I fly. I've generally found that if you're friendly to them, they're friendly back...it doesn't matter who you are or what your status may be.
 
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Re: Why many flight attendant in the US are very not customer friendly?

Wed Apr 26, 2017 3:50 am

Because it's the (very) few that are actually bad that get the press exposure. The vast majority, probably the middle 80%, are just normal people with normal attitudes and are (I don't mean to sound mean) memorable because they weren't assholes or weren't super-mega-badass flight attendants, but more of just being a normal human being. Think of it as you don't remember everyone you walk past on the street, but you do remember the 2 guys cussing out each other and making a ruckus. Then there is the top 10% that are so good they actually are memorable.
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Re: Why many flight attendant in the US are very not customer friendly?

Wed Apr 26, 2017 3:54 am

rbavfan wrote:
atcsundevil wrote:
I think it seems that perhaps you're making a few too many assumptions suggesting this is some kind of endemic problem among US carriers. There are bad apples, sure, but in my years of flying, it has been on very rare occasions that I've come across them. As a former 1K on United, I would say the cabin crew met or exceeded my expectations at least 85% of the time. Another 14% fell below my expectations, with less than 1% being downright poor at their jobs.

This isn't to say the isn't room for plenty of improvement, because the culture at many US carriers over the past 15+ years has fueled some of the surliness. Cabin crews and flight crews have been screwed a number of different ways in recent years. That said, I think many of the stories in the media have been overhyped to a large extent as it relates to cabin crew "friendliness". The vast majority are extremely competent at their jobs, and perform very well at their customer service duties. The service levels aren't always on par with some of the top global airlines, but that doesn't always make for a great comparison. CX or SQ, for example, strive to be the best. AA or UA or DL strive to be good. Expectations sometimes need to be put into perspective.


So as a 1K flyer you think they treat Coach passengers the same? They know your a 1K before you board and will go beyond to make you happy as well as most in first or business. The back of the plane they worry less about the passengers these days.


Absolutely, Even when I worked for Copa airlines, We used to filter the global services and 1k members to give them a superior service...
 
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andrefranca
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Re: Why many flight attendant in the US are very not customer friendly?

Wed Apr 26, 2017 3:58 am

when we had delta airlines in MAO, I remember the managers came from the USA to teach the staff and they reaaaallly had the attitude that paxs are the annoying part of the job, and that the staff should only care for the bizz and status customers, the john doe flying discount tickets had no voice, they were also extremely arrogant, sorry to say that, but I was glad when I saw delta leaving MAO.

PS- I flew united, southwest, jetblue, alaska, spirit, seabourne... not in a million years would I fly united and seabourne again.
 
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Re: Why many flight attendant in the US are very not customer friendly?

Wed Apr 26, 2017 4:18 am

So a handful of stories means many FA's in the US? Did you know that there approximately 100,000 flight attendants in the US, if not more?
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Re: Why many flight attendant in the US are very not customer friendly?

Wed Apr 26, 2017 4:22 am

Being 1K on United does not amount to anything anymore. (Except that you get more award miles per ticket.). You get ignored like everyone else. Case in point: April 18 I flew SAT-IAD-BRU-EBB in Business. I arrived at IAD with only 30 minutes to go from one end of Terminal D to the other end of Terminal C. Plane was late due to mechanical issues, and then we waited an additional 20 minutes to get a gate! As we deplaned at IAD, I asked the gate agent if there was any help to get us delayed pax to their gates. She just walked away. I got to the BRU flight just as boarding was finishing up. Fortunately, they had not given away my seat. From now on, I will fly which ever carrier has the best schedule. I think that Oscar Munoz means well, but poor service is ingrained in UA, and I do not see that changing.

And, I agree with the original poster, that US carriers offer worse customer service. Just fly the major European, Asian, and ME carriers. There is no comparison!
 
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Re: Why many flight attendant in the US are very not customer friendly?

Wed Apr 26, 2017 4:38 am

The situation with US flight attendants is a classic example of "normalisation of deviance" which describes a situation that was once "not okay" slowly over time and for no good reason gets reclassified as "okay".

It's time for a reality check. In the USA, customer service from the airlines (in general, not just the FAs) is absolutely woeful. Why is this happening? Simply because it can. Aviation in the US is a mega industry and is protected from meaningful competition. In the US, carriers as a group have simply defaulted to the lowest common demoninator.

And please, don't anyone try and turn this around saying it's because the pax will only pay for cheap tickets. The economic factors are due to the airlines seeking to extract as much money for as little service as they can; but that's only part of the story anyway. Bad attitude is pernicious, contagious, and in the US on aircraft - well entrenched.
 
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Re: Why many flight attendant in the US are very not customer friendly?

Wed Apr 26, 2017 4:51 am

atcsundevil wrote:
rbavfan wrote:
So as a 1K flyer you think they treat Coach passengers the same? They know your a 1K before you board and will go beyond to make you happy as well as most in first or business. The back of the plane they worry less about the passengers these days.

I'm a former 1K. I still fly quite often, but I quit chasing status a couple of years ago. Even without status, there hasn't been some marked change in treatment towards me regardless of which cabin I fly. I've generally found that if you're friendly to them, they're friendly back...it doesn't matter who you are or what your status may be.


The number of fliers with status at this point is out of control so for the most part (not including the ConciergeKey, DL 360 and GS passengers), flight attendants treat everyone equally so long as you are polite to them. As Americans, we have become very entitled and seem to forget to show respect to flight attendants, customer service agents, etc. There certainly are bad seeds and I know some who unfortunately pass on the negative attitude to the customer; but by no means is it a majority or even maybe more than 5-10%.

As an example, I can certainly count the number of negative experiences I've had on AS/QX on one hand and I remember each one of them. It doesn't make me any less likely to choose them though. DL, on the other hand, I can't remember the experiences good or bad. UA & AA have both yet to give me a negative experience.

Now as an airline employee I certainly am treated nicer than some of my revenue paying passengers next to me, but the second you disrespect the crew or gate agent, all respect for you is lost.
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Re: Why many flight attendant in the US are very not customer friendly?

Wed Apr 26, 2017 5:03 am

I think that in the states airlines have gotten so large with so many employees they have kind of lost their way when it comes to customer service, the larger the company the harder it is to keep on top of that! Which is ironic considering the likes of Pan Am, TWA etc set some of the industry standards on how flight attendants should compose themselves, and yet the industry standard in america has completely lost its way when it comes to those terms!
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Re: Why many flight attendant in the US are very not customer friendly?

Wed Apr 26, 2017 5:10 am

I for one happen to think the service has improved, especially on regional flights and international flights. Mainline domestic is a bit behind the curve. I still come across the occasional flight attendant who'd rather retire but can't afford to and let it show in her attitude (even in TATL premium cabins), but it is far less frequent than it used to be. Back during the recession, I've even had entire crews disappear behind the curtain for 6 hours after an expedited meal service. Doesn't happen anymore.

Both hard and soft products are improving on American and United. Can't comment on Delta.
 
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precure787
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Re: Why many flight attendant in the US are very not customer friendly?

Wed Apr 26, 2017 5:21 am

I guess that would be how well the flight crew had been paid or treated by the CEO (in other words, the crew morale). Morale and customer service correspond to each other.
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Re: Why many flight attendant in the US are very not customer friendly?

Wed Apr 26, 2017 5:25 am

delta747tlv wrote:
Why many customer in the US are very not flight attendant friendly?

You, sir, win this thread!
 
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Re: Why many flight attendant in the US are very not customer friendly?

Wed Apr 26, 2017 5:34 am

Can I point to news stories in Asia of flight attendants fighting with each other and pilots as "proof" why FA's in Asia are [insert baseless accusation here]?
 
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Re: Why many flight attendant in the US are very not customer friendly?

Wed Apr 26, 2017 5:46 am

I have taken multiple flights in US all in economy, and now with no free service other than drinks, one rarely gets to interact with FAs much. You have the FAs at the gate just nodding their head and welcoming you, probably if you brought too big of carry-on luggage and cant fit it in the bins, you might talk to a FA, and saying thank you when they hand you your drink, and again nodding their head when you walk off the plane . So on majority of the flights, one hardly has the extended interactions with the FAs to judge whether they are good or bad or have an attitude etc. Its just like going to a fast food restaurant, paying for your food and picking it up.

And I agree with other posters that given the large scale operations of airlines in US compared to other countries, there is bound to be people of all types. In some countries, FAs are paid quite a good salary compared to average wages there, but in the US its not so.

I have had both good and bad experiences on airlines. However, I still remember once on a UA flight 12-15 year back, the FA brought some pastries from business class for my dad who is old, as he was hungry and asked her if there was something to eat. Really appreciated that gesture, there was no reason for her to do it for someone in economy. When someone goes beyond whats expected, or worse than whats expected, it stays with you. In 99% of the cases, it people doing their job, so it isn't as memorable.
 
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Re: Why many flight attendant in the US are very not customer friendly?

Wed Apr 26, 2017 5:50 am

Hey D: I'm an FA!

I smother everyone with kindness and good service...And Biscoffs! I smother them with Biscoffs too :spin: Yes, I have worked with FAs that I would otherwise not want to interact with as a passenger.
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mark787
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Re: Why many flight attendant in the US are very not customer friendly?

Wed Apr 26, 2017 6:10 am

the biggest part or contributor to this is "company policy". Many of these "Mega" companies operate for one reason... profits. The trend these days however, are to neglect or disassociate with the customer, with a mind set that people are almost forced to buy the cheapest product available, therefore, customer service can be degraded as a result of that "cheap" selection. The motto: "The customer is always right" , went out the window years ago like the pay phone. Add in the age of technology and press button or voice hearing features, and you then begin to see where customer service values have gone. Greed is a driving factor in the world of business and American companies are masters at this. It is no accident that you will get a better product flying on a non US carrier, than you would at any of the big three. (I excluded WN and B6, and the rest as I see them as LCCs or a version of them).

Now, from a flight attendant's view, one has to understand that people who work as customer service agents are effectively human punching bags that the customer loves to hit. And not surprisingly, the bad apples that I often see are usually in the "high seniority" category who have been "punched" too many times in their career. Think about it, they are acting as the representatives for the company, problem is, they don't make the rules. The ones that do, YOU the customer, will never see. So, when rules and policies are put into place, guess who enforces them? Guess who will be the one to tell the customers? And logically, you the customer who is irate and got less than what you expected will take it out on them. Now imagine being on the receiving end of this, not daily, but in hourly increments. What will this do to the customer service representative's moral? I can answer that. After having worked for several years on passenger rail, I came to the conclusion 7 years back that my skin wasn't as thick as I thought it was. While I was paid well, I didn't take on to the idea of being a full time babysitter to adult babies. So I am in a new career that deals with minimal customer service and is equally rewarding pay wise as my previous employer. Long story short, as a born and raised American, I am implying that there are many countrymen out there that feel that they are kings and queens and that they are entitled to royal service. and in many cases, behave like children. Not everyone, but there are MANY of them out there, Not saying that there are no arrogant people elsewhere in the world, but I do feel we have slightly more of them in closer proximities.

When I buy a ticket to fly on whatever airline, I expect to have a seat, have my bags get there in one piece, get there safely, and to have flight attendants to be nice. I don't expect the red carpet to be rolled out for me in economy, but I don't expect to come across someone who is undesirable. If I buy business or first class, then I would expect more attention, and better quality of service. Staying on the subject, the reason why you will be less likely to see this on a non us airline is again, company policy which directly affects company moral. I believe I have seen a quote by Sir Richard Branson stating that if you treat your employees right, they will then be inclined to treat the customers right. (not at all word for word). That explains why on a Virgin Atlantic flight from LHR to JFK, left me thinking I was royalty for a little over six hours that day. Consider that the US majors have all declared bankruptcy at one point or another and consider what it did to many people's pensions and opinions on their employers. These sort of things seem to be predominant in the US, and not too common in other parts of the world. Unique in the US is that companies can file bankruptcy and start all over while in other parts of the world, you go bankrupt, you go bye bye. All of these things contribute to what many see as a problem affecting US carriers. Oddly enough, I see very limited disgruntled flight attendants on B6, WN, and VX. Interesting that they are considered LCCs. Those are my two cents. Sorry if some feel otherwise, but having to fly almost weekly for my job, and having been on the customer service side of things, I may seem to have a biased view on this subject.
 
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Re: Why many flight attendant in the US are very not customer friendly?

Wed Apr 26, 2017 6:20 am

After 9/11 most of the FA pension programs were terminated. As a result FA's today never retire. They are aging and have some very poor attitudes. The new FA's progress at a very slow pace as result of the lack of retiring FA's. The new FA's are surrounded by negative attitudes of the older FA's and the cycle builds to create new FA's with poor attitudes.

There needs to be QC of FA's for their customer service. More ghost riders to assure they are customer focused and failing to do so should result in termination.
 
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Re: Why many flight attendant in the US are very not customer friendly?

Wed Apr 26, 2017 6:32 am

gia777 wrote:
Ok, I am trying not to accuse every single flight attendant in the US are rude / having high temper and not customer friendly, however in the recent weeks, we have seen many incident involving flight attendant's bad attitudes toward the customers. My biggest question is, why can't each airline in the US implement a new set of training and improve their service quality into 5 stars, I mean how hard it is?

I have been flying with Garuda many2 times, and in the past 5 years, I can't recall / remember any bad experience with their service quality. In fact, all I experienced lately, they keep improving, always smile and care and polite. I am sure that goes as well with all other asian carriers such as SQ, Cathay, ANA, Eva. I mean if they can do it, why the US can't?


From your username, how much did you get paid from Garuda? :P

Anyway, I agree with many comments here that we shouldn't generalise. I've flown with UA for so many times (a former Premier Platinum) and I would say 80% "based on my personal experience" the FAs were great! I've also flown with some Asian carriers and noticed that there were some discrepancies in their service as well. So no need to generalise.

However, I would just like to add that we now live in a social-media world, where video clips can be easily recorded. We then start to see more of the situations like this being recorded and gone viral, whereas in the past this kind of evidence were so rare. With more numbers of video clips like this gone viral, we sometimes unconsciously make assumption.
 
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eisenbach
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Re: Why many flight attendant in the US are very not customer friendly?

Wed Apr 26, 2017 6:55 am

I flew in my life with more than 50 airlines at all continents, except Africa and Antarctica :)

First I have to say, the attitude of flight attendants depends as well very often on the PAX. I experienced quiet a lot badass passengers and sometimes I can understand the reaction.

BUT in general I have to say that service quality and the professionality of customer interaction is declining in the US. This includes in my opinion as well other classical customer oriented industries as gastronomy, hotelery...

I don't know what came first, the "annoying" customers or the bully and inflexible employees!?

_____
US:

My personal experience is, that it is generally a cultural thing. In the US most of the airline employees don't go an extra mile for their customers and do not care very much about their problems. I am always a very friendly and polite person, but at US airlines I had my only experiences thinking, if I would have a little bit of bad temper, I would have exploded right now :) ... especially with ground staff during IRREGs. Also the the on board experience is sometimes ... let's say ... interesting with lazy and/or aggressive flight attendants.


____
Europe / Canada:

The professionality in Europe and Canada are in my experience on a much higher level, than in the US. The employees are showing most of the time empathy to the passengers and trying to solve problems.

E.g. when a flight is delayed, giving proactive information which connection flight would wait for PAX and trying the best on the ground that passengers will get their connections (personal assistance waiting at the gates of the arriving flight or calling the gate, that passenger XYZ is on the way and they should wait ... and this independent of status and class).

The employees are as well flexible, calling supervisors for out of the box solutions or rebookings to other carriers (experienced at Air France, Air Berlin and Lufthansa, Finnair).

So there is still some humanity in customer interaction.

Furthermore, at the European legacy carriers, especially at Lufthansa Group and the nordic carriers, the FAs are in my opinion very well trained to deal with problematic passengers and to calm down critical situations in a very professional way!

____
Asia:

As everybody know, in Asia the standards are generally high. The employees, especially in the Middle East and South Asia, are not always very good trained and the service quality varies, but if you need special help (questions, IRREG...) they will help you.

In Australasia and South America, I didn't experience any irregularities, so it's little bit more difficult to make assumptions, but general customer interaction was on a professional and friendly level.

____ ____ ____ ____ ____ ____ ____ ____ ____ ____ ____ ____ ____ ____ ____

My personal opinion about the US airline service quality is, that it is mostly the fault of the management, giving their employees no rights to solve problems in a flexible and human way.

So my conclusio: I think that the airline employees in the US are good trained and that they have a high potential, but they need the right to make decisions by their own! The management should encourage a good customer experience and rewarding employees which get a lot positive customer feedback. This would be the end of this dreadful circle, that the PAX hate the FAs and vice versa - a more positive environment could be re-established!

eisenbach
DC-6, DC9, Do228, Saab340, Twin-Otter, C212, Fokker50, AN24, MD90, MD83, EMB120, A380, A300, A343, A346, B721, B742, B744, B748...
 
mark787
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Re: Why many flight attendant in the US are very not customer friendly?

Wed Apr 26, 2017 6:57 am

flightmania:

Funny you should mention the social media world issue. I often wondered why is it when something like this comes up as with many other things these days, we then end up with an epidemic of it afterwards?

Anyway, I want to point out on my post before, that by no means am I implying that this is on all flights with the US big three. I have had several flights that had superb flight attendants. But I have had more instances of it on these airlines.
 
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eisenbach
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Re: Why many flight attendant in the US are very not customer friendly?

Wed Apr 26, 2017 7:02 am

flightmania wrote:
Anyway, I agree with many comments here that we shouldn't generalise. I've flown with UA for so many times (a former Premier Platinum) and I would say 80% "based on my personal experience" the FAs were great! .


But isn't 80% a low number? You have to take in mind, that they work in a customer orientated job - that's their profession! I would be quiet disappointed with my airlines I fly the most, when in 20% of the cases I would have to say - "they make their job, but they are not great".

cheers
eisenbach
DC-6, DC9, Do228, Saab340, Twin-Otter, C212, Fokker50, AN24, MD90, MD83, EMB120, A380, A300, A343, A346, B721, B742, B744, B748...
 
BestWestern
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Re: Why many flight attendant in the US are very not customer friendly?

Wed Apr 26, 2017 7:06 am

Customer service in a company comes from the top. In US airlines, individual customers don't matter, as they can fill seats with someone else. Because of this, poor service is permitted.

Service in the US usually comes from the opportunity of a tip.
Greetings from Hong Kong.... a subsidiary of China Inc.
 
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readytotaxi
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Re: Why many flight attendant in the US are very not customer friendly?

Wed Apr 26, 2017 7:06 am

In the UK I am always suprised how many people go into the customer service industry and hate interacting with people, I find it so in France too.
It appears they are doing a job they have not thought through, just doing it to earn money.
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77H
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Re: Why many flight attendant in the US are very not customer friendly?

Wed Apr 26, 2017 7:09 am

Gasman wrote:
The situation with US flight attendants is a classic example of "normalisation of deviance" which describes a situation that was once "not okay" slowly over time and for no good reason gets reclassified as "okay".

It's time for a reality check. In the USA, customer service from the airlines (in general, not just the FAs) is absolutely woeful. Why is this happening? Simply because it can. Aviation in the US is a mega industry and is protected from meaningful competition. In the US, carriers as a group have simply defaulted to the lowest common demoninator.

And please, don't anyone try and turn this around saying it's because the pax will only pay for cheap tickets. The economic factors are due to the airlines seeking to extract as much money for as little service as they can; but that's only part of the story anyway. Bad attitude is pernicious, contagious, and in the US on aircraft - well entrenched.


But I hope you'd acknowledge and agree that the normalization of deviance is not just an airline problem, but a US cultural problem at large these days as a poster above stated. If anything, it would seem that the airlines have matched the evolving normalization of deviance in this country's culture. As a child I flew, what many would consider more than your average American child. I never once saw or rarely, if ever heard of incidents occurring like you do today. I remember thinking the guy that passed out drunk in the lav on a LAX-HNL flight once to be wild. These days, whether its at the airport, the sports arena, a college campus you hear instances of behavior I wouldn't have imagined even 20 years ago. I understand that I wasn't soaking in the world the same way I do now as a child but I still have very vivid memories of my frequent flights as I have always been an aviation enthusiast.

For your average passenger, traveling in an of itself is a anxiety producing situation. Arranging accommodations at destination, packing, getting to the airport can all be stressful. Add to it being treated like a criminal at the TSA check points and by the time you even get to the gate you're already at your wits end. For front line airline staff, they have to deal with customers who are already on edge everyday, many of whom now view them with the same prestige of a fast food drive thru employee. Many passengers ask for and expect from front line employees information they don't have or requests they have no power to fulfill. I have done many CS jobs from high school, through college and after in and out of the aviation world and I'll tell you, dealing with people all day everyday can be an exhausting and I can empathize. That said, you are on the job, you represent your company, the company who provides your meal ticket and sometimes you just have to grin and bare it. For the vast majority of airline employees, they do that without incident.

77H

77H
 
bgm
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Re: Why many flight attendant in the US are very not customer friendly?

Wed Apr 26, 2017 7:14 am

usflyguy wrote:
So a handful of stories means many FA's in the US? Did you know that there approximately 100,000 flight attendants in the US, if not more?


"US carriers are widely regarded for their excellent customer service"

...said no one ever. :duck:

I think it's the rotten culture in the US airline industry, that starts from above. Southwest, for example seem to have a much happier workforce than say, United. Look at how each company is run and it's not hard to figure out why.

The only reason they get away with it is because:

1) there is now less competition (although this issue has been around long before consolidation)
2) Americans are conditioned to expect such awful levels of service, and thus are less likely to complain about it.

I have taken hundreds of flights in the US, and I would say the service was 75% average/meh, 20% horrible, and maybe 5% excellent.
 
stlgph
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Re: Why many flight attendant in the US are very not customer friendly?

Wed Apr 26, 2017 7:24 am

Let's just get to the point. When you make a miserable salary, you're a miserable person.
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EricAY05
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Re: Why many flight attendant in the US are very not customer friendly?

Wed Apr 26, 2017 8:13 am

flightmania wrote:
gia777 wrote:
Ok, I am trying not to accuse every single flight attendant in the US are rude / having high temper and not customer friendly, however in the recent weeks, we have seen many incident involving flight attendant's bad attitudes toward the customers. My biggest question is, why can't each airline in the US implement a new set of training and improve their service quality into 5 stars, I mean how hard it is?

I have been flying with Garuda many2 times, and in the past 5 years, I can't recall / remember any bad experience with their service quality. In fact, all I experienced lately, they keep improving, always smile and care and polite. I am sure that goes as well with all other asian carriers such as SQ, Cathay, ANA, Eva. I mean if they can do it, why the US can't?


From your username, how much did you get paid from Garuda? :P



He doesn't have to get payed by Garuda (I know you were joking). Every single flight I have taken in Southeast Asia has had extremely friendly FA's. Yes, some of them might have been fake-friendly, but at least you don't see the European-American attitude there much. In SEA the customer is the king, no matter how much he or she payed for the flight, while in the West the FA is way too often considering himself/herself to be some kind on flight-god. This does not only apply to flying, but to every aspect of the service industry. Check in to pretty much any decent hotel in Bangkok and you are treated as a valuable customer and the staff are your "servants". Do the same in most of the West and chances are you only get that treatment if you stay in the presidential suite. Different cultures.
 
kimimm19
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Re: Why many flight attendant in the US are very not customer friendly?

Wed Apr 26, 2017 8:25 am

I think it's a case of a few things. Firstly, FAs are generally romtanicized positions of essentially working your way around the world. This of course exempts the rude people, long hairs, being away from family, and jetlag.

Now turning to your question, I think people in America in service roles are less professional in general in relation to the rest of the world. Whether this be on an aircraft, in an airport, in a restaurant, etc... I don't know if this is first world problems going on, but people in America (and in the UK) bring their lives and entitlement to work, in my opinion and experience (far more than any other country). You never have such attitude or rudeness on European Airlines or airports, other than them being cold sometimes. I think it's a culture thing quite honestly. Add to that, many of the FAs in America are older in the legacy airlines (mainline at least) and I would think they already have bad attitudes towards customers anyway after years of dealing with American customers in particular.
 
EricAY05
Posts: 231
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Re: Why many flight attendant in the US are very not customer friendly?

Wed Apr 26, 2017 8:26 am

bgm wrote:
usflyguy wrote:
So a handful of stories means many FA's in the US? Did you know that there approximately 100,000 flight attendants in the US, if not more?


"US carriers are widely regarded for their excellent customer service"

...said no one ever. :duck:

I think it's the rotten culture in the US airline industry, that starts from above. Southwest, for example seem to have a much happier workforce than say, United. Look at how each company is run and it's not hard to figure out why.

The only reason they get away with it is because:

1) there is now less competition (although this issue has been around long before consolidation)
2) Americans are conditioned to expect such awful levels of service, and thus are less likely to complain about it.

I have taken hundreds of flights in the US, and I would say the service was 75% average/meh, 20% horrible, and maybe 5% excellent.


Why blame the airline industry alone? Name one industry in the USA where customers get excellent service. An industry where the employees do not kiss customer ass for tips, provision (is this correct word for bonuses employees get for selling things?), bonuses... An industry where you get your monthly salary and that's it.
 
treetreeseven
Posts: 298
Joined: Wed Aug 10, 2016 5:18 am

Re: Why many flight attendant in the US are very not customer friendly?

Wed Apr 26, 2017 9:24 am

EricAY05 wrote:
Why blame the airline industry alone? Name one industry in the USA where customers get excellent service. An industry where the employees do not kiss customer ass for tips, provision (is this correct word for bonuses employees get for selling things?), bonuses... An industry where you get your monthly salary and that's it.

Apparently the Newspeak for Human Resources (the people, not the department) is Human Capital. That ought to be a clue.

In the USA, customer service positions pay crap and employees know they are completely replaceable. That doesn't exactly inspire the best from most human beings, especially over time.
Last edited by treetreeseven on Wed Apr 26, 2017 9:27 am, edited 1 time in total.
 
treetreeseven
Posts: 298
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Re: Why many flight attendant in the US are very not customer friendly?

Wed Apr 26, 2017 9:26 am

Also, I know I'm up late when y'all can get this far into a good USA bashing sesh without the MAGA brigade appearing to USA! USA! USA! all over the thread :stirthepot:
 
gia777
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Re: Why many flight attendant in the US are very not customer friendly?

Wed Apr 26, 2017 9:47 am

flightmania wrote:
gia777 wrote:
Ok, I am trying not to accuse every single flight attendant in the US are rude / having high temper and not customer friendly, however in the recent weeks, we have seen many incident involving flight attendant's bad attitudes toward the customers. My biggest question is, why can't each airline in the US implement a new set of training and improve their service quality into 5 stars, I mean how hard it is?

I have been flying with Garuda many2 times, and in the past 5 years, I can't recall / remember any bad experience with their service quality. In fact, all I experienced lately, they keep improving, always smile and care and polite. I am sure that goes as well with all other asian carriers such as SQ, Cathay, ANA, Eva. I mean if they can do it, why the US can't?


From your username, how much did you get paid from Garuda? :P

Anyway, I agree with many comments here that we shouldn't generalise. I've flown with UA for so many times (a former Premier Platinum) and I would say 80% "based on my personal experience" the FAs were great! I've also flown with some Asian carriers and noticed that there were some discrepancies in their service as well. So no need to generalise.

However, I would just like to add that we now live in a social-media world, where video clips can be easily recorded. We then start to see more of the situations like this being recorded and gone viral, whereas in the past this kind of evidence were so rare. With more numbers of video clips like this gone viral, we sometimes unconsciously make assumption.


lol I didn't get paid but I am simply sharing my experience so far with them and Garuda;s flight attendant service and treat always amaze me and no wonder they won the skytrax award for best cabin crew and most loved airlines....
Cheers,

GIA777 :coffee:
 
rocketPower
Posts: 110
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Re: Why many flight attendant in the US are very not customer friendly?

Wed Apr 26, 2017 10:12 am

My only real bad experience with UA FAs is when one was sitting in front of me and reclined the seat very harshly, during TAKEOFF! She seemed really, really stressed so I let it go but she did break an FAA regulation.

Now customer service at O'Hare or La Guardia is a whole other story.

But generally I agree service sucks in the USA and that's because they are paid poverty wages. Cause and effect.
rocketPower

Life is about enjoying being uncomfortable. If you're complacent, something is wrong!
 
dtw2hyd
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Re: Why many flight attendant in the US are very not customer friendly?

Wed Apr 26, 2017 10:39 am

Just like any other business you have to treat your employees well for them to take care of your customers.

Post 9/11 with bankruptcies, contract negotiations, constant layoffs, cuts in perks employees are under constant worry about their jobs. If you don't know whether you will have a job tomorrow, it is difficult to treat your customer nicely.

Airline finances improved drastically but not employee conditions. Entire aviation industry became border line minimum wage.
All posts are just opinions.
 
N505fx
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Re: Why many flight attendant in the US are very not customer friendly?

Wed Apr 26, 2017 10:46 am

Good customer service is not enforceable, most of the old cows and nasty pricks know they are protected by either their union or the government so they can be as nasty as they want and not have an repercussions. There is also the entitlement syndrome, rampant in America, and it appears across all sectors in customer service. The only ones that truly offer good customer service are those companies that truly have it in their culture, and unfortunately that doesn't include most legacy airlines, the C level only care about shareholder return and the staff only care about doing the minimum to get the job of transporting you from a-b safely done. Welcome to fat, lazy, entitled America!
 
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JetBuddy
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Re: Why many flight attendant in the US are very not customer friendly?

Wed Apr 26, 2017 10:50 am

I don't envy any flight attendants anymore, their work enviroment is getting worse every year. I don't blame them for snapping once in a while. That being said, I know flight attendants who have been in the job for 30 years who are always cheerful and helpful, and I know flight attendants who's been in the job much shorter who can barely cope any more.

I don't blame the passengers for this, it's the airlines fault.
 
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Revelation
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Re: Why many flight attendant in the US are very not customer friendly?

Wed Apr 26, 2017 11:05 am

stlgph wrote:
Let's just get to the point. When you make a miserable salary, you're a miserable person.

To a degree. Doubling every customer facing employee's salary not only isn't economically feasible but also doesn't mean they become grateful and provide excellent customer service long term. I'd say it might make them temporarily more likely to provide better service, but in the long run it's more about the person and their approach to their job rather than what they're getting paid. The company can influence that to some degree, but as people here are saying it's also a lot about their own attitudes and what they pick up from their fellow employees.
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LA704
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Re: Why many flight attendant in the US are very not customer friendly?

Wed Apr 26, 2017 11:24 am

eisenbach wrote:
I flew in my life with more than 50 airlines at all continents, except Africa and Antarctica :)

First I have to say, the attitude of flight attendants depends as well very often on the PAX. I experienced quiet a lot badass passengers and sometimes I can understand the reaction.

BUT in general I have to say that service quality and the professionality of customer interaction is declining in the US. This includes in my opinion as well other classical customer oriented industries as gastronomy, hotelery...

I don't know what came first, the "annoying" customers or the bully and inflexible employees!?

_____
US:

My personal experience is, that it is generally a cultural thing. In the US most of the airline employees don't go an extra mile for their customers and do not care very much about their problems. I am always a very friendly and polite person, but at US airlines I had my only experiences thinking, if I would have a little bit of bad temper, I would have exploded right now :) ... especially with ground staff during IRREGs. Also the the on board experience is sometimes ... let's say ... interesting with lazy and/or aggressive flight attendants.


____
Europe / Canada:

The professionality in Europe and Canada are in my experience on a much higher level, than in the US. The employees are showing most of the time empathy to the passengers and trying to solve problems.

E.g. when a flight is delayed, giving proactive information which connection flight would wait for PAX and trying the best on the ground that passengers will get their connections (personal assistance waiting at the gates of the arriving flight or calling the gate, that passenger XYZ is on the way and they should wait ... and this independent of status and class).

The employees are as well flexible, calling supervisors for out of the box solutions or rebookings to other carriers (experienced at Air France, Air Berlin and Lufthansa, Finnair).

So there is still some humanity in customer interaction.

Furthermore, at the European legacy carriers, especially at Lufthansa Group and the nordic carriers, the FAs are in my opinion very well trained to deal with problematic passengers and to calm down critical situations in a very professional way!

____
Asia:

As everybody know, in Asia the standards are generally high. The employees, especially in the Middle East and South Asia, are not always very good trained and the service quality varies, but if you need special help (questions, IRREG...) they will help you.

In Australasia and South America, I didn't experience any irregularities, so it's little bit more difficult to make assumptions, but general customer interaction was on a professional and friendly level.

____ ____ ____ ____ ____ ____ ____ ____ ____ ____ ____ ____ ____ ____ ____

My personal opinion about the US airline service quality is, that it is mostly the fault of the management, giving their employees no rights to solve problems in a flexible and human way.

So my conclusio: I think that the airline employees in the US are good trained and that they have a high potential, but they need the right to make decisions by their own! The management should encourage a good customer experience and rewarding employees which get a lot positive customer feedback. This would be the end of this dreadful circle, that the PAX hate the FAs and vice versa - a more positive environment could be re-established!

eisenbach


Amen!
Regarding South America:
JJ was mixed, I had many good and several poor flights, the 85% ratio mentioned above seems to be right.
For LA, they have always be polite, up to lovely. But if something goes wrong they don't really know what they are doing. Nowhere near the organizational talent of LH, FI, etc. From my experience these guys are hard to beat.

Side question: I knew IB for rude behaviour of elderly FA's, did not fly them for this reason in 15 years. Did things get better under the IAG umbrella?
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