Moderators: richierich, ua900, PanAm_DC10, hOMSaR

 
Cory6188
Topic Author
Posts: 2766
Joined: Mon Feb 02, 2004 12:29 am

Differences in US vs. European Airline Operating Practices

Sun Nov 20, 2022 3:27 pm

Over time, with a good bit of travel in Europe (in addition to the US, my home country), I've noticed a handful of different aspects of how airlines in the two regions operate that's always been a bit puzzling to me. I'd be curious as to the genesis of how these things came to be, and what's resulted in these differences over time.


  • Crew carry-on vs. checked bags: Crews for European airlines seem to always check their bags at the ticket counter and wait at bag claim with all of the regular pax, while US airline crews never (ever) check their bags - they always have their carry-ons with them. Given how fluid airline crew staffing can be with delays, reroutings, etc., I'm surprised that checked bags don't pose more of a headache if a crew's plans change.
  • Reservations/call centers: This isn't true for all European airlines, but at a glance, BA, SK, KL (all of which I'd consider pretty large EU carriers) don't operate 24 hour call centers, while all the US airlines (even NK!) do, by default. I'm a little surprised that with a global operation across time zones, the EU carriers can get away without having res agents available 24/7. I've definitely had my fair share of phone calls morning time in Europe trying to rebook a delayed/canceled flight with an agent from a US airline who's working in the US at 2 am his/her time.
  • Exit row luggage & window shades: US airlines don't care if pax in exit rows put items under the seat in front of them, while it's a strict no-no on EU airlines. I consider both US and EU airlines to hold similarly high safety standards - so what makes that safe/acceptable in the US, but not in Europe? Similarly, EU airlines are much more deliberate about requiring window shades up for takeoff & landing, and I've never heard crews on US airlines comment one way or another.
  • Ground crew outsourcing: EU airlines seem to by default outsource their ground staff in nearly all airports other than their major hubs and sometimes a few major outstations (e.g. JFK), while US airlines often have their own ground crew (above wing, anyway), even in smaller airports. I flew out of PVR a few weeks ago on DL, and noticed that the agents all had DL badges - can't imagine an EU airline having their own full ground staff in a station with 4-5 flights a day (max).
  • Notably more comprehensive gate announcements: This one's minor and is maybe more a cultural difference than anything else, but the gate agents for US airlines always do a huge spiel before each flight about the boarding process, lines, zones, carry-on bags, checking at the gate, etc. Meanwhile, with European airlines, they might do a quick overview of the order of zones, and then it tends to be a bit of a free-for-all. Other times, they just start scanning boarding passes and pax just figure it out on their own. This one's not "good" or "bad," but it's certainly a pretty notable difference.

Apologies for the random set of thoughts, but I figured there'd be people more knowledgeable than me here on a.net that would have some insight to the above!
 
Pi7472000
Posts: 451
Joined: Fri Apr 27, 2018 3:26 pm

Re: Differences in US vs. European Airline Operating Practices

Sun Nov 20, 2022 4:09 pm

I was holding a small, light jacket in my lap while sitting in the exit row on BA and was told very sternly that it must go up or I need to wear it. I just put it on. In Europe they are much stricter with carry on bags as well for passengers. They tagged people’s carryons that need to go under the seat, but when I boarded they did not enforce that rule and most people with the tag still put their bags in the bins anyway and the FAs on BA said nothing so I didn’t understand the purpose of the tag.
 
Pontiac
Posts: 69
Joined: Wed Aug 17, 2022 2:56 am

Re: Differences in US vs. European Airline Operating Practices

Sun Nov 20, 2022 4:40 pm

Pi7472000 wrote:
I was holding a small, light jacket in my lap while sitting in the exit row on BA and was told very sternly that it must go up or I need to wear it...


I was on a IB flight 2 days ago LIS to MAD; the spiel for us exit rows was more detailed than a US flight but nothing about banning items under the seat?
 
User avatar
Tinek
Posts: 16
Joined: Mon Mar 29, 2010 2:55 pm

Re: Differences in US vs. European Airline Operating Practices

Sun Nov 20, 2022 4:50 pm

Cory6188 wrote:
Crew carry-on vs. checked bags: Crews for European airlines seem to always check their bags at the ticket counter and wait at bag claim with all of the regular pax, while US airline crews never (ever) check their bags - they always have their carry-ons with them. Given how fluid airline crew staffing can be with delays, reroutings, etc., I'm surprised that checked bags don't pose more of a headache if a crew's plans change.

That is not always true, nor is it the default. On long-haul flights - yes, crew do check-in their bags. On most short-haul, they do not.

Reservations/call centers: This isn't true for all European airlines, but at a glance, BA, SK, KL (all of which I'd consider pretty large EU carriers) don't operate 24 hour call centers, while all the US airlines (even NK!) do, by default. I'm a little surprised that with a global operation across time zones, the EU carriers can get away without having res agents available 24/7. I've definitely had my fair share of phone calls morning time in Europe trying to rebook a delayed/canceled flight with an agent from a US airline who's working in the US at 2 am his/her time.

Again, not fully true. Yes, some airlines do have their 'local' call centre open only during specific hours, but generally there is always at least one open. Just a matter of organisation. When your local, let's say, Swedish Call Centre is closed, you may call the US one, or the Japanese one and go with english. Easy.

Exit row luggage & window shades: US airlines don't care if pax in exit rows put items under the seat in front of them, while it's a strict no-no on EU airlines. I consider both US and EU airlines to hold similarly high safety standards - so what makes that safe/acceptable in the US, but not in Europe? Similarly, EU airlines are much more deliberate about requiring window shades up for takeoff & landing, and I've never heard crews on US airlines comment one way or another.

Possibly a matter of regulations that they need to adhere.

Ground crew outsourcing: EU airlines seem to by default outsource their ground staff in nearly all airports other than their major hubs and sometimes a few major outstations (e.g. JFK), while US airlines often have their own ground crew (above wing, anyway), even in smaller airports. I flew out of PVR a few weeks ago on DL, and noticed that the agents all had DL badges - can't imagine an EU airline having their own full ground staff in a station with 4-5 flights a day (max).

Yes. Generally handling agents are contracted per airport from the ones that are available at the given airport. Why have own staff somewhere where you only fly once a day? It has its upsides and downsides, obviously. But does significantly lean out the airlines staffing. Also: the process of specialization. GHA (ground handling agents) are specialized in ground handling stuff and airlines in airline stuff.

Notably more comprehensive gate announcements: This one's minor and is maybe more a cultural difference than anything else, but the gate agents for US airlines always do a huge spiel before each flight about the boarding process, lines, zones, carry-on bags, checking at the gate, etc. Meanwhile, with European airlines, they might do a quick overview of the order of zones, and then it tends to be a bit of a free-for-all. Other times, they just start scanning boarding passes and pax just figure it out on their own. This one's not "good" or "bad," but it's certainly a pretty notable difference.[/list]

I think that depends on the airport procedures as well as airline procedures. Personally I am a fan of the truly quiet airport. The less announcements the better. But that is just my opinion and I know that absolutely 0 announcements is impossible. I do feel, like in the US there is more freedom when it comes to gate announcements.
 
Aliqiout
Posts: 836
Joined: Wed Oct 05, 2016 6:10 pm

Re: Differences in US vs. European Airline Operating Practices

Sun Nov 20, 2022 5:10 pm

Cory6188 wrote:
Over time, with a good bit of travel in Europe (in addition to the US, my home country), I've noticed a handful of different aspects of how airlines in the two regions operate that's always been a bit puzzling to me. I'd be curious as to the genesis of how these things came to be, and what's resulted in these differences over time.


  • Crew carry-on vs. checked bags: Crews for European airlines seem to always check their bags at the ticket counter and wait at bag claim with all of the regular pax, while US airline crews never (ever) check their bags - they always have their carry-ons with them. Given how fluid airline crew staffing can be with delays, reroutings, etc., I'm surprised that checked bags don't pose more of a headache if a crew's plans change.
  • Reservations/call centers: This isn't true for all European airlines, but at a glance, BA, SK, KL (all of which I'd consider pretty large EU carriers) don't operate 24 hour call centers, while all the US airlines (even NK!) do, by default. I'm a little surprised that with a global operation across time zones, the EU carriers can get away without having res agents available 24/7. I've definitely had my fair share of phone calls morning time in Europe trying to rebook a delayed/canceled flight with an agent from a US airline who's working in the US at 2 am his/her time.
  • Exit row luggage & window shades: US airlines don't care if pax in exit rows put items under the seat in front of them, while it's a strict no-no on EU airlines. I consider both US and EU airlines to hold similarly high safety standards - so what makes that safe/acceptable in the US, but not in Europe? Similarly, EU airlines are much more deliberate about requiring window shades up for takeoff & landing, and I've never heard crews on US airlines comment one way or another.
  • Ground crew outsourcing: EU airlines seem to by default outsource their ground staff in nearly all airports other than their major hubs and sometimes a few major outstations (e.g. JFK), while US airlines often have their own ground crew (above wing, anyway), even in smaller airports. I flew out of PVR a few weeks ago on DL, and noticed that the agents all had DL badges - can't imagine an EU airline having their own full ground staff in a station with 4-5 flights a day (max).
  • Notably more comprehensive gate announcements: This one's minor and is maybe more a cultural difference than anything else, but the gate agents for US airlines always do a huge spiel before each flight about the boarding process, lines, zones, carry-on bags, checking at the gate, etc. Meanwhile, with European airlines, they might do a quick overview of the order of zones, and then it tends to be a bit of a free-for-all. Other times, they just start scanning boarding passes and pax just figure it out on their own. This one's not "good" or "bad," but it's certainly a pretty notable difference.

Apologies for the random set of thoughts, but I figured there'd be people more knowledgeable than me here on a.net that would have some insight to the above!

AS requires exit row window shades to be open. This is also common in Canada.
 
Iluvtofly
Posts: 142
Joined: Tue Oct 20, 2015 4:22 pm

Re: Differences in US vs. European Airline Operating Practices

Sun Nov 20, 2022 5:22 pm

Overall I feel that Euro standards are way higher than US ones. The most obvious being the amount of hours US F/A's are allowed to fly in a month.
I read of some US based crew flying 160 hours a month. That would never ever be allowed in most countries due to health and safety concerns. No wonder
US flight crew fall asleep in their jumpseats. Do US crew really fly with only carry on when doing a multi-day layover? And many many US carriers use contract staff
for their *above wing* operations. Where do you get the idea that they don't ?
 
santi319
Posts: 1492
Joined: Thu Dec 29, 2005 3:24 pm

Re: Differences in US vs. European Airline Operating Practices

Sun Nov 20, 2022 5:27 pm

Iluvtofly wrote:
Overall I feel that Euro standards are way higher than US ones. The most obvious being the amount of hours US F/A's are allowed to fly in a month.
I read of some US based crew flying 160 hours a month. That would never ever be allowed in most countries due to health and safety concerns. No wonder
US flight crew fall asleep in their jumpseats. Do US crew really fly with only carry on when doing a multi-day layover? And many many US carriers use contract staff
for their *above wing* operations. Where do you get the idea that they don't ?


I agree with everything you said, but all US airlines’ staff above wing work directly with the airline. And almost all are unionized, except new entrants Breeze, Avelo, etc. and Delta.
 
User avatar
Rookie87
Posts: 366
Joined: Tue Sep 08, 2015 9:33 pm

Re: Differences in US vs. European Airline Operating Practices

Sun Nov 20, 2022 5:48 pm

santi319 wrote:
Iluvtofly wrote:
Overall I feel that Euro standards are way higher than US ones. The most obvious being the amount of hours US F/A's are allowed to fly in a month.
I read of some US based crew flying 160 hours a month. That would never ever be allowed in most countries due to health and safety concerns. No wonder
US flight crew fall asleep in their jumpseats. Do US crew really fly with only carry on when doing a multi-day layover? And many many US carriers use contract staff
for their *above wing* operations. Where do you get the idea that they don't ?


I agree with everything you said, but all US airlines’ staff above wing work directly with the airline. And almost all are unionized, except new entrants Breeze, Avelo, etc. and Delta.


Not true at outstations where contractors like Swissport are used.
 
User avatar
eta unknown
Posts: 3424
Joined: Wed Jun 13, 2001 5:03 am

Re: Differences in US vs. European Airline Operating Practices

Sun Nov 20, 2022 5:49 pm

I guarantee you the UA crew upon arrival in SYD will be waiting at the baggage carousel for their luggage like everybody else (although these will be the first bags down the chute). And when you depart the check-in staff will be outsourced (sometimes they wear the airline's uniform, but usually not- it's the airline's decision).
As for reservations call centers, yes most European airlines have these operating 24/7.
 
GalaxyFlyer
Posts: 10336
Joined: Fri Jan 01, 2016 4:44 am

Re: Differences in US vs. European Airline Operating Practices

Sun Nov 20, 2022 5:52 pm

Iluvtofly wrote:
Overall I feel that Euro standards are way higher than US ones. The most obvious being the amount of hours US F/A's are allowed to fly in a month.
I read of some US based crew flying 160 hours a month. That would never ever be allowed in most countries due to health and safety concerns. No wonder
US flight crew fall asleep in their jumpseats. Do US crew really fly with only carry on when doing a multi-day layover? And many many US carriers use contract staff
for their *above wing* operations. Where do you get the idea that they don't ?


Why is carry-on crew bags a standards or safety issue? Most US crews fly 2-5 days trips, why would have them check bags when they change planes at least once, sometimes as much as 3 times a day? We don’t stay with the same plane.
 
Iluvtofly
Posts: 142
Joined: Tue Oct 20, 2015 4:22 pm

Re: Differences in US vs. European Airline Operating Practices

Sun Nov 20, 2022 5:57 pm

santi319 wrote:
Iluvtofly wrote:
Overall I feel that Euro standards are way higher than US ones. The most obvious being the amount of hours US F/A's are allowed to fly in a month.
I read of some US based crew flying 160 hours a month. That would never ever be allowed in most countries due to health and safety concerns. No wonder
US flight crew fall asleep in their jumpseats. Do US crew really fly with only carry on when doing a multi-day layover? And many many US carriers use contract staff
for their *above wing* operations. Where do you get the idea that they don't ?


I agree with everything you said, but all US airlines’ staff above wing work directly with the airline. And almost all are unionized, except new entrants Breeze, Avelo, etc. and Delta.


I think you need to check your facts ..... Certainly not true in Vancouver.
 
SteelChair
Posts: 1955
Joined: Fri Aug 25, 2017 11:37 am

Re: Differences in US vs. European Airline Operating Practices

Sun Nov 20, 2022 5:58 pm

To me, operating practices means something very literal: the operation of the airplanes in revenue service.

No system of joint operational control exists in most of Europe. By operational control I mean certificated aircraft dispatchers with joint responsibility. (As an aside, authority cannot be shared, you either have it or you don't. The Captain/PIC always retains final authority. One often sees the words responsibility and authority used interchangeably in this context and that is incorrect.) There have been many incidents where a certificated dispatcher might have been helpful in preventing an accident or incident. BA 268 and Hapag-Lloyd 3378 come to mind.

Over many decades, shared responsibility through positive operational control has been shown to be the safest operational model. It is true that many European airlines have someone on the ground performing dispatch-like functions, but they lack regulatory responsibility for their actions. The US FAA Aircraft (not Flight) Dispatcher Certificate and the enumerated responsibilities lend credence to the role. A very brief summation: 1) in the absence of an emergency, the PIC and Dispatcher must agree on the course of action, and 2) no one in the airline operations center can make a dispatcher do something he/she doesn't want to do. The dispatcher is a voice for the crew in the operations center. Many, many questionable ideas and suggestions are headed off by dispatchers. Dispatchers provide another layer of safety in the "swiss cheese" model of safety management.

Some airlines have found that voluntarily introducing a system of positive operational control enhances safety. In the wake of an accident at one European airline, a blue ribbon safety panel found that a lack of a system of operational control was a risk, a gap. As a result, that airline voluntarily chose to introduce a system of operational control, giving folks on the ground true responsibility, and authority for certain actions, for the first time. I believe that another European airline has also introduced such a system. I don't know that any other carriers have done so. The gap manifests itself in many ways, but one has to be educated in the nuances of the business to see them. Negative fuel at ETP on ETOPS flights due to corporate fuel mandates is one example. Another is when you see flights on the North Atlantic tracks (without dispatchers) operating at FL 370 and 390 reporting moderate to severe turbulence while the flight with dispatchers were planned at 310 or 330 (more expensive) and reporting smooth and light. And this example is when meteorological models exist showing the forecast turbulence. The turbulence forecasts were just never looked at by anyone on the ground in the planning phase who was empowered to make decisions based upon them. Decisions in this context meaning more fuel burn/more cost. And pilots can sometimes be "led" in such a way to accept the plan as it exists, even if they did see the turbulence forecast prior to departure. Uploading fuel that late in the game might mean bumping payload or incurring a fueling delay, and keep in mind, "its just a forecast......lets go with the plan." Airline bean counters programming computers to compute fuel requirements either without human intervention or with humans who aren't really well trained and have no true authority is a bad combination in my opinion.

Pilots operating flights without dispatchers are on their own. I had a pilot tell me one time that he flew all night to Africa, sometimes in areas of no radar separation and very limited ATC, and no one was watching his destination weather or alternate weather. No one not on the flight deck was monitoring fuel consumption. He wished for a "second set of eyes," to back up the flight crew. When initially exposed to the idea, some pilots don't like it. It is a big change for some military pilots, some of the tactical/fighter guys in particular seem to see it as a challenge to their authority. But after operating for awhile, they come to see the value. I've never met one who, after operating that way for awhile, didn't ultimately believe that having dispatchers was a better way to operate. Its just one more layer of safety, and in many cases also adds efficiency.

I've often wondered if you asked an airline passenger flying along in the middle of the night at 7 miles a minute and FL350, and getting bumped around by turbulence, if it made them feel safer knowing that a second set of eyes on the ground were watching their flight what they would say. And conversely, what they would say if they knew that no one on the ground with any real regulatory responsibilities was watching their flight. And no, ATC does not and cannot fulfill these requirements, and they don't want to. They don't want to watch alternate weather and compute minima taking into account MELs and NOTAMs. The government doesn't want that responsibility, it rests with the operators. ATC have enough on their plate already in fulfilling their own duties.

Finally, I believe that the Chinese and some of the Middle Eastern carriers (Emirates) have adopted the model of the three legged stool of safety: Pilots, Dispatcher, Controllers.
 
bluecrew
Posts: 684
Joined: Sun Apr 20, 2014 3:13 am

Re: Differences in US vs. European Airline Operating Practices

Sun Nov 20, 2022 6:03 pm

Cory6188 wrote:
Crew carry-on vs. checked bags: Crews for European airlines seem to always check their bags at the ticket counter and wait at bag claim with all of the regular pax, while US airline crews never (ever) check their bags - they always have their carry-ons with them. Given how fluid airline crew staffing can be with delays, reroutings, etc., I'm surprised that checked bags don't pose more of a headache if a crew's plans change.

Never give them your bag. Never ever ever.

I made the mistake as a young newhire on one of my first trips on the line on a deadhead - the gate agent was begging for bags to gate check, and I begrudgingly said yes.

The next time I saw it, it was falling out of an A320 bin, destroyed the handle and the J hook. It was super fun to have a broken bag for 3 days, and then to go home and have to buy a new $300 bag. On Year 1 pay.

Question for the Europeans - this will not apply to the long haul people. Do all of you get schedule modifications like we do, constantly? I know we tend to have a little more variety of nasty weather which usually adds to the disruption, but there are months where almost every trip feels like it gets significantly changed.
 
e175a321fan
Posts: 24
Joined: Wed Feb 23, 2022 7:04 am

Re: Differences in US vs. European Airline Operating Practices

Sun Nov 20, 2022 6:38 pm

The outsourcing of ground staff by many, if not most, European airlines has always bugged me... I thought Western European and EU countries had fairer labor practices and protections than here in the US? I work for an airline, and there is no way I would work for a contractor/third party company for lower pay and less benefits (including no flight privileges). Why do Europeans tolerate so much outsourcing?
 
schernov
Posts: 135
Joined: Thu Aug 22, 2019 8:41 pm

Re: Differences in US vs. European Airline Operating Practices

Sun Nov 20, 2022 6:45 pm

One more
US airlines safety demo always says that "closest emergency exit could be behind you".
Non US airlines very rarely say that.

Also, in US - almost any gate agent can rebook you on ANY airline even outside their alliance, provided the circumstance warrants that. In EU - forget about it. No button for that or very few people have access.

Most US based airlines allow seat changes even after check in up to the point where gate agent takes control. Most nonUS airlines do not allow seat changes after checking in. It is most likely system related...
 
Eikie
Posts: 228
Joined: Tue Nov 06, 2018 1:15 pm

Re: Differences in US vs. European Airline Operating Practices

Sun Nov 20, 2022 7:09 pm

e175a321fan wrote:
The outsourcing of ground staff by many, if not most, European airlines has always bugged me... I thought Western European and EU countries had fairer labor practices and protections than here in the US? I work for an airline, and there is no way I would work for a contractor/third party company for lower pay and less benefits (including no flight privileges). Why do Europeans tolerate so much outsourcing?

Its European law.

Before the 2000's, most airports had their own handling for (almost) all airlines visiting that airport plus most (bigger) airlines had their own staff, both on homebase and outstations.

Law came into practice stating airports had to allow third party handlers to step in, creating a flurry of startups. Of course for lower costs, so smaller airlines (and later the bigger ones) started using them to save money.

But that isnt that different in the US, at least under the wing, were there are competing handlers working different airlines.
 
bennett123
Posts: 11654
Joined: Sun Aug 15, 2004 12:49 am

Re: Differences in US vs. European Airline Operating Practices

Sun Nov 20, 2022 7:13 pm

Pontiac wrote:
Pi7472000 wrote:
I was holding a small, light jacket in my lap while sitting in the exit row on BA and was told very sternly that it must go up or I need to wear it...


I was on a IB flight 2 days ago LIS to MAD; the spiel for us exit rows was more detailed than a US flight but nothing about banning items under the seat?


Were you in an exit row?.
 
ILUV767
Posts: 3068
Joined: Mon May 29, 2000 2:21 pm

Re: Differences in US vs. European Airline Operating Practices

Sun Nov 20, 2022 7:13 pm

eta unknown wrote:
I guarantee you the UA crew upon arrival in SYD will be waiting at the baggage carousel for their luggage like everybody else (although these will be the first bags down the chute).


American based crews typically do not check their bags. The big exception is US based crews leaving the UK may check a bag since the UK is very strict when it comes to liquid size even for crew members. That is the exception to the norm.

AA, DL, HA and UA crews arriving in Australia will normally just have their carry on roller bag, tote bag and maybe an additional bag. All of these items are carried in the cabin and are not carried in the cargo hold.

Most layovers in Australia are between 24 and 48 hours. US based crews fly five day domestic trips with carry on baggage. A single leg to SYD followed by a 24 hour layover, filled by a single leg home really doesn't warrant bringing a whole lot of stuff.
 
User avatar
sassiciai
Posts: 1200
Joined: Mon Jan 07, 2013 8:26 pm

Re: Differences in US vs. European Airline Operating Practices

Sun Nov 20, 2022 7:20 pm

schernov wrote:
One more
US airlines safety demo always says that "closest emergency exit could be behind you".
Non US airlines very rarely say that.

Also, in US - almost any gate agent can rebook you on ANY airline even outside their alliance, provided the circumstance warrants that. In EU - forget about it. No button for that or very few people have access.

Most US based airlines allow seat changes even after check in up to the point where gate agent takes control. Most nonUS airlines do not allow seat changes after checking in. It is most likely system related...

On your first point, I really disagree, on many EU airlines and Etihad flights, the "behind you" bit is entirely standard!

The topic of changing anything about an airline booking deserves its own thread
 
jamesontheroad
Posts: 512
Joined: Sat Jul 16, 2005 1:52 am

Re: Differences in US vs. European Airline Operating Practices

Sun Nov 20, 2022 7:38 pm

Cory6188 wrote:
[list]
[*]Ground crew outsourcing: EU airlines seem to by default outsource their ground staff in nearly all airports other than their major hubs and sometimes a few major outstations (e.g. JFK), while US airlines often have their own ground crew (above wing, anyway), even in smaller airports. I flew out of PVR a few weeks ago on DL, and noticed that the agents all had DL badges - can't imagine an EU airline having their own full ground staff in a station with 4-5 flights a day (max).


US airports (which tend to be publicly-owned by local authorities rather than privatized like many, especially LCC-oriented airports in Europe) also tend to lease specific gates to airlines who decorate them with their signage, logos etc. Most European airports don't have this - gate area branding is generally limited to screens, mobile baggage sizers, etc.
 
Bongodog1964
Posts: 3556
Joined: Wed Oct 18, 2006 6:29 am

Re: Differences in US vs. European Airline Operating Practices

Sun Nov 20, 2022 7:47 pm

e175a321fan wrote:
The outsourcing of ground staff by many, if not most, European airlines has always bugged me... I thought Western European and EU countries had fairer labor practices and protections than here in the US? I work for an airline, and there is no way I would work for a contractor/third party company for lower pay and less benefits (including no flight privileges). Why do Europeans tolerate so much outsourcing?


Why would any airline want to employ staff at an outstation for one or two flights a day ?, check in staff required for 1.5 hours, ramp staff for 1 hour etc. Would they even get anyone ?
 
Vicenza
Posts: 1015
Joined: Sun Apr 19, 2020 3:21 pm

Re: Differences in US vs. European Airline Operating Practices

Sun Nov 20, 2022 8:05 pm

schernov wrote:
One more
US airlines safety demo always says that "closest emergency exit could be behind you".
Non US airlines very rarely say that.


Are you meaning that the other way around perhaps because, if not, you haven't flown on many EU airlines at all.
 
FlyingHonu001
Posts: 758
Joined: Thu Jan 30, 2020 2:33 pm

Re: Differences in US vs. European Airline Operating Practices

Sun Nov 20, 2022 8:24 pm

Eikie wrote:
e175a321fan wrote:
The outsourcing of ground staff by many, if not most, European airlines has always bugged me... I thought Western European and EU countries had fairer labor practices and protections than here in the US? I work for an airline, and there is no way I would work for a contractor/third party company for lower pay and less benefits (including no flight privileges). Why do Europeans tolerate so much outsourcing?

Its European law.

Before the 2000's, most airports had their own handling for (almost) all airlines visiting that airport plus most (bigger) airlines had their own staff, both on homebase and outstations.

Law came into practice stating airports had to allow third party handlers to step in, creating a flurry of startups. Of course for lower costs, so smaller airlines (and later the bigger ones) started using them to save money.

But that isnt that different in the US, at least under the wing, were there are competing handlers working different airlines.


Just take a look at airside AMS over the years...Most of the groundhandling used to be monopolised by KL, all the vehicles were blue. Today there are a plethora of different companies with their own vehicles roaming around the airside, Its now a flurry of cargo handlers, aircraft maintenance, baggage handlers, aircraft catering, passenger assistance, refueling, cabin cleaning, aircraft security etc etc
 
Draken21fx
Posts: 261
Joined: Wed Jun 15, 2016 10:38 am

Re: Differences in US vs. European Airline Operating Practices

Sun Nov 20, 2022 8:37 pm

FlyingHonu001 wrote:
Eikie wrote:
e175a321fan wrote:
The outsourcing of ground staff by many, if not most, European airlines has always bugged me... I thought Western European and EU countries had fairer labor practices and protections than here in the US? I work for an airline, and there is no way I would work for a contractor/third party company for lower pay and less benefits (including no flight privileges). Why do Europeans tolerate so much outsourcing?

Its European law.

Before the 2000's, most airports had their own handling for (almost) all airlines visiting that airport plus most (bigger) airlines had their own staff, both on homebase and outstations.

Law came into practice stating airports had to allow third party handlers to step in, creating a flurry of startups. Of course for lower costs, so smaller airlines (and later the bigger ones) started using them to save money.

But that isnt that different in the US, at least under the wing, were there are competing handlers working different airlines.


Just take a look at airside AMS over the years...Most of the groundhandling used to be monopolised by KL, all the vehicles were blue. Today there are a plethora of different companies with their own vehicles roaming around the airside, Its now a flurry of cargo handlers, aircraft maintenance, baggage handlers, aircraft catering, passenger assistance, refueling, cabin cleaning, aircraft security etc etc


I think (happy to be corrected) it has to do with how the labour law is structured in Europe as well.

EU consists of 25+ countries but you cannot be employed in Italy with a German contract as an example. That means that Iberia as an example would have to open 25+ different local companies in every EU country it operates if it wanted to employ its own staff.
 
santi319
Posts: 1492
Joined: Thu Dec 29, 2005 3:24 pm

Re: Differences in US vs. European Airline Operating Practices

Sun Nov 20, 2022 9:10 pm

Iluvtofly wrote:
santi319 wrote:
Iluvtofly wrote:
Overall I feel that Euro standards are way higher than US ones. The most obvious being the amount of hours US F/A's are allowed to fly in a month.
I read of some US based crew flying 160 hours a month. That would never ever be allowed in most countries due to health and safety concerns. No wonder
US flight crew fall asleep in their jumpseats. Do US crew really fly with only carry on when doing a multi-day layover? And many many US carriers use contract staff
for their *above wing* operations. Where do you get the idea that they don't ?


I agree with everything you said, but all US airlines’ staff above wing work directly with the airline. And almost all are unionized, except new entrants Breeze, Avelo, etc. and Delta.


I think you need to check your facts ..... Certainly not true in Vancouver.


Last time I checked Vancouver was not part of the US…


Rookie87 wrote:
santi319 wrote:
Iluvtofly wrote:
Overall I feel that Euro standards are way higher than US ones. The most obvious being the amount of hours US F/A's are allowed to fly in a month.
I read of some US based crew flying 160 hours a month. That would never ever be allowed in most countries due to health and safety concerns. No wonder
US flight crew fall asleep in their jumpseats. Do US crew really fly with only carry on when doing a multi-day layover? And many many US carriers use contract staff
for their *above wing* operations. Where do you get the idea that they don't ?


I agree with everything you said, but all US airlines’ staff above wing work directly with the airline. And almost all are unionized, except new entrants Breeze, Avelo, etc. and Delta.


Not true at outstations where contractors like Swissport are used.


When the person said *above wing* it means pilots and FA. Outstation staff is called *below wing*.
 
YIMBY
Posts: 725
Joined: Tue Sep 20, 2016 4:32 pm

Re: Differences in US vs. European Airline Operating Practices

Sun Nov 20, 2022 9:16 pm

In US, fasten seatbelt light is set on during half of the flight, but no one cares if you go to toilet except while landing.

In Europe, it is set only during takeoff, landing and turbulence, and is controlled very strictly.
 
e175a321fan
Posts: 24
Joined: Wed Feb 23, 2022 7:04 am

Re: Differences in US vs. European Airline Operating Practices

Sun Nov 20, 2022 9:42 pm

Bongodog1964 wrote:
e175a321fan wrote:
The outsourcing of ground staff by many, if not most, European airlines has always bugged me... I thought Western European and EU countries had fairer labor practices and protections than here in the US? I work for an airline, and there is no way I would work for a contractor/third party company for lower pay and less benefits (including no flight privileges). Why do Europeans tolerate so much outsourcing?


Why would any airline want to employ staff at an outstation for one or two flights a day ?, check in staff required for 1.5 hours, ramp staff for 1 hour etc. Would they even get anyone ?


I wasn't referring to outstations... I did not understand why, for example, Lufthansa outsources all of its ground staff at its biggest hubs in Frankfurt and Munich. The same goes for other major European carriers at their hubs... It must be great for the shareholders, but it's disappointing from a labor point of view, especially in a continental union that supposedly champions workers' rights.
 
User avatar
767Forever
Posts: 29
Joined: Thu Sep 01, 2016 11:44 pm

Re: Differences in US vs. European Airline Operating Practices

Sun Nov 20, 2022 10:16 pm

In Europe, the departure boards are ordered chronologically, while in US, departure boards are ordered alphabetically. I much prefer the US system.

In Europe, planes often times will taxi into the runway and start takeoff roll without stopping. In US I don’t ever remember this happening
 
schernov
Posts: 135
Joined: Thu Aug 22, 2019 8:41 pm

Re: Differences in US vs. European Airline Operating Practices

Sun Nov 20, 2022 10:21 pm

On the take off from the roll - depends on the airport and if the runway is used to land and depart at the same time. At ORD, for example where usually there are dedicated departure runways - take off from a roll are often, if there is no line.
 
airboss787
Posts: 429
Joined: Mon Apr 29, 2019 11:39 pm

Re: Differences in US vs. European Airline Operating Practices

Sun Nov 20, 2022 10:34 pm

Interesting topic. Another difference I have noticed is that European and in fact Indian airlines as well, will switch off the seat belt sign soon after crossing 10,000ft whereas US airlines usually keep it on till cruise altitude is reached. The captain then makes the announcement and switches it off at that time.
 
GalaxyFlyer
Posts: 10336
Joined: Fri Jan 01, 2016 4:44 am

Re: Differences in US vs. European Airline Operating Practices

Sun Nov 20, 2022 10:34 pm

In the US, remote parking is unheard of for passenger flights. In the rest of the world, it common. I hate getting off the plane via stairs, dash into the bus, ride to the terminal, then find your gate, only to get another bus ride.

I mostly check my bags and never had one damaged; probably half dozen times they didn’t make a connection. I travel with a small carry-on with two days, always worked after I learned my lesson the hard way.
 
schernov
Posts: 135
Joined: Thu Aug 22, 2019 8:41 pm

Re: Differences in US vs. European Airline Operating Practices

Sun Nov 20, 2022 10:37 pm

Yes. Busses suck. Although sometimes there is an advantage as bus drops you off at the right connection point and avoids a long walk. But still. Busses suck.
 
schernov
Posts: 135
Joined: Thu Aug 22, 2019 8:41 pm

Re: Differences in US vs. European Airline Operating Practices

Sun Nov 20, 2022 10:40 pm

Is bag check at the gate and getting them back inside a jetway a thing outside of US? Aka valet check on small regional planes? I have not seen it
 
GalaxyFlyer
Posts: 10336
Joined: Fri Jan 01, 2016 4:44 am

Re: Differences in US vs. European Airline Operating Practices

Sun Nov 20, 2022 11:09 pm

schernov wrote:
Is bag check at the gate and getting them back inside a jetway a thing outside of US? Aka valet check on small regional planes? I have not seen it


It’s a “thing” on US regionals, but no where else that I’ve seen. You can gate check your bag in the US for free, but it’ll be at your destination baggage claim. The first because there’s no overhead storage; the second to encourage checking large bags to free up the overheads.
 
User avatar
nbc7
Posts: 20
Joined: Fri Mar 11, 2022 4:38 am

Re: Differences in US vs. European Airline Operating Practices

Mon Nov 21, 2022 12:14 am

I haven't read this whole thread but European airlines generally give better food on board (at least the non-low cost ones). Although I find that at least on Air France (which I take most often) it has declined in size and quality since covid. Also though Air France gives beer and wine as complementary in-flight drinks (people would probably be outraged if not) whereas the American airlines don't. European ones also are generally better about doing an in-flight drink service ; I've hardly ever had a time where they don't, even on short flights, whereas it seems like US airlines are desperate to find any excuse to avoid doing it these days.
 
dcajet
Posts: 6243
Joined: Sun Aug 01, 2004 9:31 am

Re: Differences in US vs. European Airline Operating Practices

Mon Nov 21, 2022 12:24 am

Without getting into the details, the reason why American crews do not check baggage, particularly overseas, has to do with security, Basically you want your bags with you and within sight at all times. This has been the case for many years now, at least since the late 80s.
 
GalaxyFlyer
Posts: 10336
Joined: Fri Jan 01, 2016 4:44 am

Re: Differences in US vs. European Airline Operating Practices

Mon Nov 21, 2022 12:48 am

dcajet wrote:
Without getting into the details, the reason why American crews do not e tcheck baggage, particularly overseas, has to do with security, Basically you want your bags with you and within sight at all times. This has been the case for many years now, at least since the late 80s.


Long before the late 80s, we always carried out bags on board. I can’t imagine how one would go to baggage claim after each leg to pick up your bags, race to the next flight gate. I’ve done plenty of 50 minute turns.
 
User avatar
B727skyguy
Posts: 183
Joined: Tue Nov 05, 2013 8:23 am

Re: Differences in US vs. European Airline Operating Practices

Mon Nov 21, 2022 1:14 am

santi319 wrote:
I agree with everything you said, but all US airlines’ staff above wing work directly with the airline. And almost all are unionized, except new entrants Breeze, Avelo, etc. and Delta.


Seven years ago, Frontier (F9) outsourced all of their ground handling functions, including their home base of DEN. They outsourced all of their res functions as well.

Source: https://www.usatoday.com/story/todayint ... /21903721/

NW outsourced all except 40 of its largest stations in the mid-2000s.
 
usflyer msp
Posts: 4954
Joined: Tue May 23, 2000 11:50 am

Re: Differences in US vs. European Airline Operating Practices

Mon Nov 21, 2022 1:25 am

santi319 wrote:
Iluvtofly wrote:
santi319 wrote:

I agree with everything you said, but all US airlines’ staff above wing work directly with the airline. And almost all are unionized, except new entrants Breeze, Avelo, etc. and Delta.


I think you need to check your facts ..... Certainly not true in Vancouver.


Last time I checked Vancouver was not part of the US…


Rookie87 wrote:
santi319 wrote:

I agree with everything you said, but all US airlines’ staff above wing work directly with the airline. And almost all are unionized, except new entrants Breeze, Avelo, etc. and Delta.


Not true at outstations where contractors like Swissport are used.


When the person said *above wing* it means pilots and FA. Outstation staff is called *below wing*.


That is not what "above wing" means. "Above wing" means check-in and gate agents while "below wing" means baggage handlers and rampers.
 
Cubsrule
Posts: 15908
Joined: Sat May 15, 2004 12:13 pm

Re: Differences in US vs. European Airline Operating Practices

Mon Nov 21, 2022 1:29 am

B727skyguy wrote:
NW outsourced all except 40 of its largest stations in the mid-2000s.


How many European carriers have their own staff at more than, say, 20 stations?
 
Iluvtofly
Posts: 142
Joined: Tue Oct 20, 2015 4:22 pm

Re: Differences in US vs. European Airline Operating Practices

Mon Nov 21, 2022 1:31 am

767Forever wrote:
In Europe, the departure boards are ordered chronologically, while in US, departure boards are ordered alphabetically. I much prefer the US system.

In Europe, planes often times will taxi into the runway and start takeoff roll without stopping. In US I don’t ever remember this happening

I guess you dont fly in the USA very often LOL !
 
Aliqiout
Posts: 836
Joined: Wed Oct 05, 2016 6:10 pm

Re: Differences in US vs. European Airline Operating Practices

Mon Nov 21, 2022 1:49 am

GalaxyFlyer wrote:
In the US, remote parking is unheard of for passenger flights. In the rest of the world, it common. I hate getting off the plane via stairs, dash into the bus, ride to the terminal, then find your gate, only to get another bus ride.

I mostly check my bags and never had one damaged; probably half dozen times they didn’t make a connection. I travel with a small carry-on with two days, always worked after I learned my lesson the hard way.

It is less common, but not unheard of. I have been on remote parked flights at SEA and ATL, and probably more.
 
santi319
Posts: 1492
Joined: Thu Dec 29, 2005 3:24 pm

Re: Differences in US vs. European Airline Operating Practices

Mon Nov 21, 2022 1:49 am

usflyer msp wrote:
santi319 wrote:
Iluvtofly wrote:

I think you need to check your facts ..... Certainly not true in Vancouver.


Last time I checked Vancouver was not part of the US…


Rookie87 wrote:

Not true at outstations where contractors like Swissport are used.


When the person said *above wing* it means pilots and FA. Outstation staff is called *below wing*.


That is not what "above wing" means. "Above wing" means check-in and gate agents while "below wing" means baggage handlers and rampers.

Thanks for the lesson! I always thought it was inflight crew members above wing and below wing ground services.

Apologies to all for the confusion.
 
Aliqiout
Posts: 836
Joined: Wed Oct 05, 2016 6:10 pm

Re: Differences in US vs. European Airline Operating Practices

Mon Nov 21, 2022 1:51 am

767Forever wrote:
In Europe, the departure boards are ordered chronologically, while in US, departure boards are ordered alphabetically. I much prefer the US system.

In Europe, planes often times will taxi into the runway and start takeoff roll without stopping. In US I don’t ever remember this happening

US departure boards come in both flavors. It varies by airport, although alphabetical is more common.
 
Avgeek21
Posts: 403
Joined: Mon Mar 04, 2019 5:44 am

Re: Differences in US vs. European Airline Operating Practices

Mon Nov 21, 2022 2:54 am

ILUV767 wrote:
eta unknown wrote:
I guarantee you the UA crew upon arrival in SYD will be waiting at the baggage carousel for their luggage like everybody else (although these will be the first bags down the chute).


American based crews typically do not check their bags. The big exception is US based crews leaving the UK may check a bag since the UK is very strict when it comes to liquid size even for crew members. That is the exception to the norm.

AA, DL, HA and UA crews arriving in Australia will normally just have their carry on roller bag, tote bag and maybe an additional bag. All of these items are carried in the cabin and are not carried in the cargo hold.

Most layovers in Australia are between 24 and 48 hours. US based crews fly five day domestic trips with carry on baggage. A single leg to SYD followed by a 24 hour layover, filled by a single leg home really doesn't warrant bringing a whole lot of stuff.


Whilst working for an EU national airline we used to have all our bags with us on a multiple day trip. We didn’t have a hard shell checked-in bag. Now working non EU/US we have to use our hard shell bag IF you want/need to take it on a multi day trip. You are not allowed to have a mix of cabin bags with you and are only allowed to use the company provided trolley. We take our hold bags to the aircraft ourselves, drop it at the airstairs and pick up on the carousel at the other end. Waiting together with our passengers. Sometimes it comes first, sometimes it comes last. We don’t operate multi stop trips. No aircraft changes inbetween either. Just base to destination and back.

airboss787 wrote:
Interesting topic. Another difference I have noticed is that European and in fact Indian airlines as well, will switch off the seat belt sign soon after crossing 10,000ft whereas US airlines usually keep it on till cruise altitude is reached. The captain then makes the announcement and switches it off at that time.


Yes. Standard is 10,000ft we release the FA’s. The up to pilots when to release cabin crew. No PA ever to release pax. Not done. I tend to leave belts off as long as I can unless safety might become an issue or FA’s call me. But on/off for every bump is highly annoying.

Compared to the UW we talk a LOT less to passengers at the gate and on board. I think simply due to the crew, airport staff and passengers all being from different nationalities. Most of whom have English as a second or third language. Same with crews actually. Most passengers don’t even speak or understand it. So less is more. Keep it brief and simple. Especially when your airline employs nearly 200 nationalities.
 
questions
Posts: 2561
Joined: Thu Sep 15, 2011 4:51 am

Re: Differences in US vs. European Airline Operating Practices

Mon Nov 21, 2022 3:19 am

Iluvtofly wrote:
I read of some US based crew flying 160 hours a month.


Is this true? What is generally min and max?
 
usflyer msp
Posts: 4954
Joined: Tue May 23, 2000 11:50 am

Re: Differences in US vs. European Airline Operating Practices

Mon Nov 21, 2022 3:27 am

B727skyguy wrote:
santi319 wrote:
I agree with everything you said, but all US airlines’ staff above wing work directly with the airline. And almost all are unionized, except new entrants Breeze, Avelo, etc. and Delta.


Seven years ago, Frontier (F9) outsourced all of their ground handling functions, including their home base of DEN. They outsourced all of their res functions as well.

Source: https://www.usatoday.com/story/todayint ... /21903721/

NW outsourced all except 40 of its largest stations in the mid-2000s.


To me, the way US carriers outsource is strange.
Normally, when carriers use third party handling it is to lower costs by leveraging staff across several contracts. In the US, carriers will outsource but then those outsourced employees will only work one contract so it is essentially the same as insourced employees just with lower pay and no union. Sometimes the outsourced workers are unionized so I don't see the savings there and sometimes the mainline ground staff are non-union (like DL) so I don't see the savings there either.
 
User avatar
Jamake1
Posts: 1026
Joined: Mon May 17, 2004 2:30 pm

Re: Differences in US vs. European Airline Operating Practices

Mon Nov 21, 2022 6:23 am

questions wrote:
Iluvtofly wrote:
I read of some US based crew flying 160 hours a month.


Is this true? What is generally min and max?


This is absolutely true. At my airline there are some F/A's who fly a west coast turn from their east coast base 6 x week (think NYC-LAX-NYC or NYC-SFO-NYC several days in a row). They average 225 hrs per month. Unlike the EU, the FAA has no limits on how many hours a F/A can fly per month (one does have to have 24 hrs free of duty in a 7-day period, but the rest can occur on a layover of at least 24 hours). I believe in the EU, F/A's can only fly a maximum of 900 flight hours per year. There are also EU limits as to how many times a F/A can work a long haul polar route during the year. This is due to the possible effects of radiation exposure. No such regulation exits in the U.S. So U.S. F/A's have the potential to maximize earnings and can earn up to $200,000+ per year, but to the detriment of one's health, life balance, and well-being.

As to your other question; F/A flying schedules at my airline are typically built between 70 & 80 hours per month. From there we can pick up trips from other F/A's or from "open flying" which are un-crewed trips. My body is a good compass and let's me know when I'm out of balance, so for me, 90-100 hours per month of flying is a good benchmark in terms of flying maximum.
 
questions
Posts: 2561
Joined: Thu Sep 15, 2011 4:51 am

Re: Differences in US vs. European Airline Operating Practices

Mon Nov 21, 2022 6:46 am

Jamake1 wrote:
questions wrote:
Iluvtofly wrote:
I read of some US based crew flying 160 hours a month.


Is this true? What is generally min and max?


This is absolutely true. At my airline there are some F/A's who fly a west coast turn from their east coast base 6 x week (think NYC-LAX-NYC or NYC-SFO-NYC several days in a row). They average 225 hrs per month. Unlike the EU, the FAA has no limits on how many hours a F/A can fly per month (one does have to have 24 hrs free of duty in a 7-day period, but the rest can occur on a layover of at least 24 hours). I believe in the EU, F/A's can only fly a maximum of 900 flight hours per year. There are also EU limits as to how many times a F/A can work a long haul polar route during the year. This is due to the possible effects of radiation exposure. No such regulation exits in the U.S. So U.S. F/A's have the potential to maximize earnings and can earn up to $200,000+ per year, but to the detriment of one's health, life balance, and well-being.

As to your other question; F/A flying schedules at my airline are typically built between 70 & 80 hours per month. From there we can pick up trips from other F/A's or from "open flying" which are un-crewed trips. My body is a good compass and let's me know when I'm out of balance, so for me, 90-100 hours per month of flying is a good benchmark in terms of flying maximum.


Thank you for your thorough response.
 
Avgeek21
Posts: 403
Joined: Mon Mar 04, 2019 5:44 am

Re: Differences in US vs. European Airline Operating Practices

Mon Nov 21, 2022 6:51 am

Jamake1 wrote:
questions wrote:
Iluvtofly wrote:
I read of some US based crew flying 160 hours a month.


Is this true? What is generally min and max?


This is absolutely true. At my airline there are some F/A's who fly a west coast turn from their east coast base 6 x week (think NYC-LAX-NYC or NYC-SFO-NYC several days in a row). They average 225 hrs per month. Unlike the EU, the FAA has no limits on how many hours a F/A can fly per month (one does have to have 24 hrs free of duty in a 7-day period, but the rest can occur on a layover of at least 24 hours). I believe in the EU, F/A's can only fly a maximum of 900 flight hours per year. There are also EU limits as to how many times a F/A can work a long haul polar route during the year. This is due to the possible effects of radiation exposure. No such regulation exits in the U.S. So U.S. F/A's have the potential to maximize earnings and can earn up to $200,000+ per year, but to the detriment of one's health, life balance, and well-being.

As to your other question; F/A flying schedules at my airline are typically built between 70 & 80 hours per month. From there we can pick up trips from other F/A's or from "open flying" which are un-crewed trips. My body is a good compass and let's me know when I'm out of balance, so for me, 90-100 hours per month of flying is a good benchmark in terms of flying maximum.


Are those block hours or duty hours? Block hours of 90+ would be insane tbh. Especially without those above mentioned protections.

Popular Searches On Airliners.net

Top Photos of Last:   24 Hours  •  48 Hours  •  7 Days  •  30 Days  •  180 Days  •  365 Days  •  All Time

Military Aircraft Every type from fighters to helicopters from air forces around the globe

Classic Airliners Props and jets from the good old days

Flight Decks Views from inside the cockpit

Aircraft Cabins Passenger cabin shots showing seat arrangements as well as cargo aircraft interior

Cargo Aircraft Pictures of great freighter aircraft

Government Aircraft Aircraft flying government officials

Helicopters Our large helicopter section. Both military and civil versions

Blimps / Airships Everything from the Goodyear blimp to the Zeppelin

Night Photos Beautiful shots taken while the sun is below the horizon

Accidents Accident, incident and crash related photos

Air to Air Photos taken by airborne photographers of airborne aircraft

Special Paint Schemes Aircraft painted in beautiful and original liveries

Airport Overviews Airport overviews from the air or ground

Tails and Winglets Tail and Winglet closeups with beautiful airline logos