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What Makes And Breaks A Good Cabin Crew Dynamic?

Sun Dec 21, 2014 8:37 pm

Granted cabin crew work for the same airline and are trained in service and operational procedures. However it's still a group of unknowns getting together to serve customers in a confined space for what could be many hours.

As passengers we've been on one flight that had a so so vibe from the cabin crew and then experienced an awesome cabin crew on the connecting flight.

What are some of the things that go a long way towards making the cabin crew perform as a top notch team? What are some of the things that can sour the dynamic?
 
tommy767
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RE: What Makes And Breaks A Good Cabin Crew Dynamic?

Sun Dec 21, 2014 8:49 pm

Quoting questions (Thread starter):
What are some of the things that go a long way towards making the cabin crew perform as a top notch team? What are some of the things that can sour the dynamic?

Politeness, friendliness, & not being a grouch for one. I had some of the DL and UA NYC based crews to fall into the sourpuss category.

Of course if you are in F the one big pet peeve of mine is when flight crews check out to read magazines instead of giving drink refills. This drives me nuts. Had it one time on an EWR-LAX sCO 753 flight.
"KEEP CLIMBING" -- DELTA
 
JRadier
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RE: What Makes And Breaks A Good Cabin Crew Dynamic?

Sun Dec 21, 2014 9:12 pm

I think it's a great question, and one I'm not sure what the answer to it is. I've been cabin crew for a while, but I don't have a good answer.

I think it is the same as in any situation, you need to have compatible people. You just have these people where one look is enough, where the jokes keep flying and where you have gotten that drink ready before your colleague could even ask for it. Then on the other hand there are people you don't have that connection with. Selection and training will make sure you will work together just fine with most people, but there just are people where it doesn't work. If one person is more 'just go with it' and the other more serious, it won't really work. Neither of them are bad at their job, it's just the connection. We're all human after all.
 
Prost
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RE: What Makes And Breaks A Good Cabin Crew Dynamic?

Sun Dec 21, 2014 9:27 pm

The vibe gets set at check in. On International flights where you have a formal briefing the Purser and Service Leader set the tone, professional, set the customer expectations out, safety, special circumstances of the flight, etc. Informative, but not condescending. They make everyone want to be part of the team, to do their share, and to meet and exceed their customer expectations.

A lot also has to do with when you get to work, do you have the tools to do your job? As a customer, you may not know what the crew is putting up with to 'make do.' Is the cabin crew short staffed? Are all the special meals there? Did they give you the correct menus? Is there a menu item you know 80% of the plane is going to want, but you've only been given 35%? Believe me, when you are on that meal cart and you are only 1/2 way through the cabin and you have to tell the customer "I'm sorry, we no longer have the roasted roadkill selection available, would you like to have the pigeon? (exaggerating, obviously)" people react very...strongly. Telling the Flight Attendant how much you paid for your ticket doesn't make the roadkill appear. So there's a lot of things that can set the tone for the crew.
 
SFOThinker
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RE: What Makes And Breaks A Good Cabin Crew Dynamic?

Sun Dec 21, 2014 9:34 pm

On domestic US flights is there a leader who supervises service? If so, do such people receive training? Do some carriers do this and others not?
 
aacun
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RE: What Makes And Breaks A Good Cabin Crew Dynamic?

Sun Dec 21, 2014 9:34 pm

The Purser has to do a lot with the flight. If you have a knowledgeable, professional and a skilled director on board, flight attendants will follow your example for the most part. To me it is the outmost important and key element in how the crew will perform during the flight. There are always flight attendants that no matter how you handle them will always under perform, but there is nothing the Pirser can do to change that. But that is a very small percent. And If I could have it my way..... I would always as a Purser be the one greeting the passengers. That is one key part of the flight believe or not. It makes all the difference in the world when you get to that door and you are greeted by a professional well mannered and warm smiled person rather than one that just points and sends you on the right side of the plane and onwards to your seat with no personality or eye contact. This has also come very handy sometimes when problem develops inflight..... Usually if I have greeted the passengers, I already have an idea of where there might be boobie traps or any red flags in that cabin while inflight. And there is nothing better as a Purser to then stand at that door and have passengers tell you what a great flight that crew made for them. Most people bash us day in and out. But the most majority of flight attendants out there do care for the passengers, and we really want you to get to your destination safe and happy.

By the way, Happy Holidays to all, and a very Happy New Year, and lots of safe flying to you and your families....
 
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aerorobnz
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RE: What Makes And Breaks A Good Cabin Crew Dynamic?

Sun Dec 21, 2014 9:49 pm

A good crew is one with a constant but not obtrusive presence in the cabin - drinks, rubbish collection, exrra set of hands while baby is being settled and looking for passengers who are out of sync with the others (eg pax wakes after meal service hungry or finishes first etc.. The FSM/PURSOR should lead from the front, their expectations high but not unachievable. I know of one pursor for example who likes to do business class drink service himself then the rest of the entire plane as the Y class meal gets served later on in the flight. It doesnt take forever and he interacts with every single passenger.
Flown to 147 Airports in 62 Countries on 83 Operators and counting. Wanderlust is like Syphilis, once you have the itch it's too late for treatment.
 
DDR
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RE: What Makes And Breaks A Good Cabin Crew Dynamic?

Sun Dec 21, 2014 11:36 pm

A lot of it just has to do with different personalities. Most of the people I fly with are great and love doing the job. We have fun on the plane and try to include the passengers in the fun. Every once in a while you will get stuck with someone who just does not want to be there but at my airline, we fly together for a whole month so that usually only happens when a reserve gets called in. But to be honest, most of them are usually excited to fly and can often add a lot of fun and energy to the pairing.

I do not want to get bashed but normally the people who are not fun are the people who should have retired many years ago. Also, sometimes the pilots can affect the cabin crew morale. Most are nice guys but there are still a few old types out there who can put a damper on the experience. Luckily, we change pilots frequently so we are not paired with them the whole month.
 
DTWPurserBoy
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RE: What Makes And Breaks A Good Cabin Crew Dynamic?

Mon Dec 22, 2014 12:15 am

Quoting sfothinker (Reply 4):
On domestic US flights is there a leader who supervises service? If so, do such people receive training? Do some carriers do this and others not

There is a flight leader on every flight be it domestic and international.

My purser initial training was a week long course taught by an outstanding third party company and all of the instructors were former BA pursers. The airline removed themselves from the equation and allowed the selection to be made by these instructors. There was a lot of role playing--one interesting one was where you and a team of 3-4 other people sitting at a table. They tell you your airplane has just ditched and you are on the beach of a deserted island. They had about 20 objects floating on the water but moving rapidly out to sea. We individually made our priority list of what we would save and what to let go and then we made one as a group. The 20 objects included such things as a bottle of water, a sheet of plastic, a life vest, seat cushion, first aid kit, a bottle of wine and say a survival manual from the slide raft compartment. You made you personal list and then you collaborated on a final list of priorities as a group. Of course, there was no correct order. The whole process was to see you working together as a team to problem solve, to disagree in a respectful manner but to firmly stand your ground on something you felt strongly about.

They also had an exercise where one of the instructors played the meanest SOB passenger in the history of time and it was taped. They watched how you dealt with his complaints, your body language, facial expressions, etc. Then at the end of the exercise they played the tape back to you and pointed out where you had done well or where they felt the mean passenger was getting to you. It was a great learning experience.

On domestic flights the flight leader is usually but not always the most senior one in the group. You have the option to accept the position or pass. If it goes all the way through the crew then it is forced in reverse seniority order and the junior f/a is flight leader.

And then there are those awful flights that we have all experienced where the entire crew is made up of brand new hires on either a domestic or international trip. Everyone has the same skill set and are expected to comply with company rules but it not an ideal situation. I have seen a 747 go out with 16 brand new f/a's on board. Schedulers tend to not be especially sympathetic to your situation and expect you to deal with it as a professional. That makes for an interesting flight. During initial training everyone is given the roll of flight leader/purser in the mockup so you have had some practice.

I distinctly remember the first time I was in charge of a full 747. I remember sitting on my jumpseat for takeoff and thinking "OK, you can do this." And I did. That was back in about 1979 as I recall. I had been flying for 5 years at that point so I knew what was expected of me.
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DTWPurserBoy
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RE: What Makes And Breaks A Good Cabin Crew Dynamic?

Mon Dec 22, 2014 12:21 am

One thing to remember is that we are all human beings. Just like at any other job there are some days when you come to work and you have just had an argument with your spouse, your dog died, your mom is in the hospital terminally ill--a million scenarios that can make the best f/a work at less than their best due to real life.

There was one trip where we were getting ready to land and one of my colleagues asked me what I was going to do on my days off. I said I had to paint the kitchen, take the dog to the vet and catch up on some yard work. This lady sitting right across from the galley said "I didn't know you all had homes." She thought we all just lived at the airport, a rather odd assumption I thought.

The trick is to leave the problems at home at home. They will still be there when you get back and most of us do that. Especially if you share with your crew that you are in a difficult place right now and why--they will bend over backwards to make you laugh and to make the time go by as fast as possible.
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FlyboyOz
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RE: What Makes And Breaks A Good Cabin Crew Dynamic?

Mon Dec 22, 2014 12:30 am

I am surprised that Emirate flight attendants have done very good job!!! I really want to get that job one day and want to learn from them!
The Spirit of AustraliAN - Longreach
 
Prost
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RE: What Makes And Breaks A Good Cabin Crew Dynamic?

Mon Dec 22, 2014 12:38 am

DTW Purser Boy, that has changed at the Delta, on domestic flights at DL the Flight Leader position is a positioin that is set at bid, not at check in. One problem with this scenario is sometimes the most junior flight attendants being assigned trip schedules don't want to be flight leader, but that's the only position when PBS is doing it'd bid run. There are pros and cons to both systems because sometime you may have bid the Flight Leader position, but due to circumstances (life interrupts flight attendants as well folks, we get flat tires, baby sitters late, husbands acting like children) maybe being FL isn't in everyone's best interest, but that's your assignment.
 
DTWPurserBoy
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RE: What Makes And Breaks A Good Cabin Crew Dynamic?

Mon Dec 22, 2014 12:43 am

Quoting Prost (Reply 11):






DTW Purser Boy, that has changed at the Delta, on domestic flights at DL the Flight Leader position is a positioin that is set at bid, not at check in. One problem with this scenario is sometimes the most junior flight attendants being assigned trip schedules don't want to be flight leader, but that's the only position when PBS is doing it'd bid run. There are pros and cons to both systems because sometime you may have bid the Flight Leader position, but due to circumstances (life interrupts flight attendants as well folks, we get flat tires, baby sitters late, husbands acting like children) maybe being FL isn't in everyone's best interest, but that's your assignment.

Thanks, prost. I was going to put it down that way but I thought that explaining the bidding process for domestic flight leader would be too complicated for some non-airline folks on here.

Really the whole tone for the flight is set at the briefing. If you have a flight leader/purser who is dynamic and a natural leader chances are it will be a good flight. What I always hated were the "pot stirrers." Those are disgruntled people who either hate their job or the company and for whom the glass is not only half empty the other half was stolen from them. One of those can wreck an otherwise good trip.
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DTWPurserBoy
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RE: What Makes And Breaks A Good Cabin Crew Dynamic?

Mon Dec 22, 2014 2:26 am

Quoting FlyboyOz (Reply 10):
I am surprised that Emirate flight attendants have done very good job!!! I really want to get that job one day and want to learn from them!

Emirates has a reputation for consistently good service. From what I have managed to learn through chats in hotel lobbies or airports is that that hardest adjustment to make is to live in Dubai. For the men that is not a serious problem but local customs can make it difficult for the women, especially western women. They are extremely strict with their female cabin crew and it does not take much to get your ticket punched and be dismissed. A few have told me that they were offered a chance to renew their contract but chose not to for various reasons like wanting to marry, etc.

Watch their website for the "cattle call" open houses around the world. Literally around the world. They draw from every country. And if you do go for one of the open sessions or are invited to participate in an interview, remember that you are on display from the moment you enter the venue. Many airlines will plant real employees among the applicants to listen for negativity or cultural insensitivity. Be positive, smile til your face freezes and have some fun with the process.
Qualified on Concorde/B707/B720/B727/B737/B747/B757/B767/B777/DC-8/DC-9/DC-10/A319/A320/A330/MD-88-90
 
DTWPurserBoy
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RE: What Makes And Breaks A Good Cabin Crew Dynamic?

Mon Dec 22, 2014 2:34 am

Quoting DTWPurserBoy (Reply 8):
On domestic US flights is there a leader who supervises service? If so, do such people receive training? Do some carriers do this and others not

I would find it unusual if there was not a designated cabin leader. The chain of command on the airplane is the captain, first officer, any other pilots working the trip, the purser/flight leader and then the flight attendants in seniority order. It is entirely possible that in an emergency the cockpit crew could be dead or incapacitated and command would then transfer to one of the flight attendants.

May we never find ourselves in that position!
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ltbewr
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RE: What Makes And Breaks A Good Cabin Crew Dynamic?

Mon Dec 22, 2014 2:55 am

Good selection initially, proper initial and continuing training, respect from bosses, learning to be firm but fair, not letting every little hassle get to you.
 
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RE: What Makes And Breaks A Good Cabin Crew Dynamic?

Mon Dec 22, 2014 4:31 am

Quoting DTWPurserBoy (Reply 8):
That was back in about 1979 as I recall. I had been flying for 5 years at that point...

Oh WOW... you've been flying for 40 years! Congratulations on a great career.
 
smi0006
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RE: What Makes And Breaks A Good Cabin Crew Dynamic?

Mon Dec 22, 2014 8:00 am

I know at QF and NZ there is a position on every aircraft sometimes two of onboard manager/supervisor. These roles aren't just lead flight attendant roles, they are selected to performance manage, develops coach and lead the team. And of course provide a point of escalation for passengers. They wear varied unifroms, and have significantly more training, along with KPIs to meet.

Like any manager they set the tone of their office, they can be lazy or draconian, it's all about people management and communication. People have their own leadership styles, but in my experience emotions and energies are infectious. The airline environment for both staff in the air and on the ground is physically and emotionally taxing; long strange hours, dealing with emotionally charged passengers, and their behaviours. As a manager it critical to project positive, energised, yet also calm and confidence. This is highly culturally dependant, some cultures need this structure, others not so much.
 
galleypower
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RE: What Makes And Breaks A Good Cabin Crew Dynamic?

Mon Dec 22, 2014 8:27 am

Quoting Prost (Reply 3):
The vibe gets set at check in. On International flights where you have a formal briefing the Purser and Service Leader set the tone, professional, set the customer expectations out, safety, special circumstances of the flight, etc. Informative, but not condescending. They make everyone want to be part of the team, to do their share, and to meet and exceed their customer expectations.

A lot also has to do with when you get to work, do you have the tools to do your job? As a customer, you may not know what the crew is putting up with to 'make do.' Is the cabin crew short staffed? Are all the special meals there? Did they give you the correct menus? Is there a menu item you know 80% of the plane is going to want, but you've only been given 35%? Believe me, when you are on that meal cart and you are only 1/2 way through the cabin and you have to tell the customer "I'm sorry, we no longer have the roasted roadkill selection available, would you like to have the pigeon? (exaggerating, obviously)" people react very...strongly. Telling the Flight Attendant how much you paid for your ticket doesn't make the roadkill appear. So there's a lot of things that can set the tone for the crew.

   Nicely said!
I would like to ad, its also the mood you are in. There good days and there are better days. Sometimes the mayority of the team have only a good day and it just wont work that day. Also, after almost 30 years on the job, I still cant figure out why the outward flight works and the returm flight doesnt, or vv.

Dont forget, we are just humans (well most of us)  
 
antonovman
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RE: What Makes And Breaks A Good Cabin Crew Dynamic?

Mon Dec 22, 2014 8:52 am

As a handling agent I remembered having to deal with the Dan-Air and Laker flight attendants, 99 percent female and they were the worst, nastiest women I had to work with.
Unbelievable
 
aviationaware
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RE: What Makes And Breaks A Good Cabin Crew Dynamic?

Mon Dec 22, 2014 8:56 am

Common values. Can't stress this enough, highly important for any team work. Value management techniques are used far too infrequently in staff selection.
If one of the team members cares more about what he will do on his layover than about rendering great service, that's a problem that's going to affect the entire team.
 
BFS
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RE: What Makes And Breaks A Good Cabin Crew Dynamic?

Mon Dec 22, 2014 4:39 pm

Quoting antonovman (Reply 19):

Antonovman, I'm intrigued! What was so difficult about this bunch??
 
ozark1
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RE: What Makes And Breaks A Good Cabin Crew Dynamic?

Mon Dec 22, 2014 7:53 pm

This is a very intere.sting topic. Sometimes we elect to fly with our friends so that makes it fun because we know what you are dealing with. When I do not know any of the crew, I find that if you have a good attitude, and are upbeat and positive, it has a tendency to permeate into other crew members. Here is a perfect example. I was working a very early flight to SEA. When we got to the front of the plane with the beverage cart, I preceded my question about beverage selection with "Good morning sir, what may I get you to drink?" I told everyone who was awake good morning. Sure enough, the other f/a heard me doing that and started doing it too!
I find....in all seriousness...that about 90 percent of my crews are positive, passenger oriented, and easy to work with. There is an instant camaraderie that develops. It has been more prevalent since 9/11. We are a team and we support each other (" That guy in 21F aint very nice!"). We are on our own back there with no assistance from the cockpit. So teamwork just seems to evolve.
I have definitely worked with some people who are just basically unhappy. I do not let them break my attitude. Actually, it makes me be even nicer so they can see that we aren't all like him/her
Our interaction with the cockpit is another interesting thing. Some of the pilots come back, introduce themselves, want to know our names, and brief us on the ride and the weather. Others could care less and other than meeting the purser who is going to serve them, they have no interest in the rest of us. They close the cockpit door and lock themselves in, never to be seen for the rest of the flight. Most of them keep the pax informed of delays, but due to the media, no one believes what they are saying. Others don't say a word. And we sit there past departure time waiting for news. Sometimes we have to call them and ask them to say something.
But, as unbelievable as this may seem, on domestic anyway, in 38 years I can count on two hands the number of times I have had a horrible crew. That's what makes the job fun.
 
idlewildchild
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RE: What Makes And Breaks A Good Cabin Crew Dynamic?

Mon Dec 22, 2014 7:57 pm

I've noticed, especially on trans-atlantic, the tone is set from the top. If the Pursuer, #1, Premium, whatever you want to call the role, is calm, positive and caring, the crew follow. If they're just about doing the job, that seems to play itself out too, which makes sense, why go against the tide!?
 
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AirAfreak
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RE: What Makes And Breaks A Good Cabin Crew Dynamic?

Mon Dec 22, 2014 11:49 pm

Not to change the topic, however, are Flight Leaders/Chief Pursers/Pursers empowered to make any sort of executive decisions in terms of customer service issues?

Specifically, I have had three catering-related issues with Delta where twice, I purchased two Delta Dine-Up meals on my LAX-JFK and JFK-LAX flight and they were not loaded onto the plane. Yes, twice, and on the same itinerary. I really wanted to try the antipasto snacks and I felt the ~20USD more or less was totally worth it so I was really looking forward to that. The third issue, was being seated in Row 1 (after paying into the thousands - so no complimentary upgrade here) and I felt being at a hub airport (MSP), I should not have been told the other meal option was unavailable. (Side note: Those Luvo meals are not the tastiest.) Who wants green-tea infused risotto when the enchiladas sound more appetizing?

Now here is the question:

Could the inflight leader not make a call to catering or communicate with the ground staff to have catering locate my pre-selected meal or perhaps, load more options for the passengers in First Class WHILE PARKED at the gate?

I know it is a lost cause once the plane is in the sky, however, do the executives in the corporate offices allow flight leaders to make these customer service decisions whenever possible?

Lastly, is it true the DELTA LAX-NRT flights only load one single Japanese Meal? I have seen many disappointing comments during the boarding process. Thankfully, I always reserve my Japanese Meal every single time I fly to Asia with Delta.

Okay, thanks for any insight!!!

Love the Delta Cheeseburger and skin-on Potato Salad on my Lunch flights, btw!!!!!!

 
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Prost
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RE: What Makes And Breaks A Good Cabin Crew Dynamic?

Tue Dec 23, 2014 12:51 am

We can do what we are given on the flight. We can call catering, but they won't be able to bring the food to the plane. Keeping in mind on a domestic flight we usually arrive 60 minutes before departure, and the kitchen is removed from the terminal. They won't take a delay. There are a lot of scenarios that I would hope would solve some of the issues, like having a small 'catering room' available for these last minute needs and requests, but there are still a lot of logistical blocks to this. I'm hopeful as the finances of the domestic airlines improve this will be something in the larger stations that can be maintained.

In first class domestically, the Flight Leader takes meal orders front to back on even numbered flights, and back to front on odd numbered flights, or at least they are supposed to. Status or price paid doesn't play a part of this.

I'm sorry that you weren't provided what you paid for, and I really hope that the next time we serve you better. I hope that the flight attendant's were caring towards you, and if you book in FC on future flights, and the food is important (it sounds like it is) remember, odd numbers back rows first, even numbers, front rows first.

I hope this helps in future bookings. And once again, I'm sorry you were disappointed.
 
DTWPurserBoy
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RE: What Makes And Breaks A Good Cabin Crew Dynamic?

Tue Dec 23, 2014 12:58 am

Quoting AirAfreak (Reply 24):
Could the inflight leader not make a call to catering or communicate with the ground staff to have catering locate my pre-selected meal or perhaps, load more options for the passengers in First Class WHILE PARKED at the gate?

The catering for a departing flight is closed out hours prior to departure. The flight kitchens are not necessarily located on airport property so it is not like they could run one out to you. If you ordered it, please accept my humble and sincere apologies, I will report the incident to DL and here are some extra miles to assist in your recovery from this unfortunate incident.

Quoting AirAfreak (Reply 24):

Lastly, is it true the DELTA LAX-NRT flights only load one single Japanese Meal? I have seen many disappointing comments during the boarding process. Thankfully, I always reserve my Japanese Meal every single time I fly to Asia with Delta.

No. If they were pre-ordered they are boarded but generally there are about (a rough guesstimate here) of about 15% Japanese meals boarded in BC.

The purser in empowered to try to minimize the disappointment of the passenger and we really do try to communicate through the company. They have the means to see if there is a series of such instance with one caterer or is it a system-wide issue. Just as in many things, some stations are better than others. When DL identifies an issue with a particular departure city they have been known to send an inflight manager over on a temporary duty assignment to the kitchen to follow the paper trail from reservations to the caterer and onto the flight.

If we have recently changed contracts in a city we anticipate a learning curve. There was a time when we kept standby meals on a cart in the terminal but those days are gone. It is impossible to keep that at a temperature that will keep everyone from getting sick and if you are like ATL or some other large station demand far exceeds the number of standby meals. They have never had standby meals for "special" meals like Kosher, lo-carb, low cholesterol, children's meals, etc. AMS was notorious for being a problem station but it runs hot and cold there.

We will NEVER take a delay to locate and board a special or pre-ordered meal. One area where we have trouble is when a passenger was booked on a flight, that flight left without the passenger in question on board due to a late arrival at the connecting city. There is simply no way to move meals from one airplane to another when you are carrying 150,000 passengers a day.

If there are 300 passengers on a flight there are 300 meals. The days are long gone of having a 10% overage or some such thing. The cost was astronomical and had a huge amount of waste. On that same note if 300 passengers were expected on a flight an another airline cancels and we get their passengers we generally will not get enough meals if the cancellation happened with, say, 3-4 hours of departure. I have found the best way to deal with this is with honesty and humor. "Ladies and gentleman, I have a confession to make. In order to accommodate our customers from a cancelled flight we were not able to wait for extra meals to be boarded so I am 50 meals short. If you, like all of your crew, are on a diet and trying to lose weight and feel like you can miss the meal, please let a flight attendant know and I will provide you with an extra (fill in the blank) number of frequently flyer miles as a thank you." I would say that probably 95% of the time that works and we actually have some meals left over. The key there is being frank, humble with just a touch of good humor.

And before anyone asks, no, we generally will not give up a crew meal for a passenger. Our meals are different (usually) from passenger meals and if we are scheduled for a crew meals on a segment it is because our duty day is 14-18 hours and you simply cannot function without food. And Lord help the flight attendant that gives away the captain's meal! I have seen that get really, really ugly. We generally sneak off into a corner, trying hard not to be observed, and wolf it down. I generally do not eat an entrée on a flight so I have given mine away many times--I will graze off the fruit and cheese platter in BC or pull together a salad...and I always travel with some cup-of-noodles, granola bars and those canned tuna salad and cracker packs for my 2 am hotel feeding.
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AirAfreak
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RE: What Makes And Breaks A Good Cabin Crew Dynamic?

Tue Dec 23, 2014 2:35 am

Quoting Prost (Reply 25):
In first class domestically, the Flight Leader takes meal orders front to back on even numbered flights, and back to front on odd numbered flights, or at least they are supposed to. Status or price paid doesn't play a part of this.

This is very helpful information and I really appreciate you taking the time to answer my question!  
Quoting Prost (Reply 25):
I'm sorry that you weren't provided what you paid for, and I really hope that the next time we serve you better. I hope that the flight attendant's were caring towards you, and if you book in FC on future flights, and the food is important (it sounds like it is) remember, odd numbers back rows first, even numbers, front rows first.

I don't fly very much domestic and very rarely do I ever fly a special LAX JFK LAX as all my free time from work goes to Asia so I was really excited to try your offerings, but I would like to share on BOTH occasions where my Dine-Up Meal wasn't loaded into the plane, the cabin attendants warmly offered me a dinner from First Class and complimentary beverages and miles, too! This was when I was really deciding to remain loyal with Delta Air Lines and this gesture really won me over. I thought maybe a snack box would have been provided in lieu of my pre-purchased meal, but talk about under-promise and over-deliver!!! Such a nice experience and no need to apologize. Was really just a logistical question related to how catering works and how your roles as Flight Leader work in these situations. All very insightful, too!!!  
Quoting Prost (Reply 25):
I hope this helps in future bookings. And once again, I'm sorry you were disappointed.

Again, a million-and-one thank you's   for your explanation. No need to be sorry. I want to give the JFK visit another try one day and hope for the best!!!  
Quoting DTWPurserBoy (Reply 26):
The catering for a departing flight is closed out hours prior to departure. The flight kitchens are not necessarily located on airport property so it is not like they could run one out to you. If you ordered it, please accept my humble and sincere apologies, I will report the incident to DL and here are some extra miles to assist in your recovery from this unfortunate incident.

On both flights, the cabin crew were quite lovely with the way a "down" became and "up!"   It was miles, a few rounds of drinks, and a lovely steak with pesto sauce from First Class. Wasn't expecting any of it, but maybe a snack box instead, and my expectations were exceeded from a customer stand-point. I sent a nice letter to delta.com explaining the wonderful people taking care of me.  
Quoting DTWPurserBoy (Reply 26):
No. If they were pre-ordered they are boarded but generally there are about (a rough guesstimate here) of about 15% Japanese meals boarded in BC.

The Japanese Meal improved drastically from January 2014 to March 2014. I am in complete shock as to why anyone would want the Western Option when there is a lovely presentation of food on the Japanese Option. If my memory serves me correct, I think the cabin attendant told me the catering department only loads one single extra non-preordered Japanese Meal on the LAX to NRT flights.

On a side note, it is impossible to pre-book the Korean Choice on the ICN flights. There is no option given when one calls the DL Reservations/SkyMiles/Medallion Desks over the telephone. I love my Korean Food!!!!  
Quoting DTWPurserBoy (Reply 26):
If we have recently changed contracts in a city we anticipate a learning curve. There was a time when we kept standby meals on a cart in the terminal but those days are gone. It is impossible to keep that at a temperature that will keep everyone from getting sick and if you are like ATL or some other large station demand far exceeds the number of standby meals. They have never had standby meals for "special" meals like Kosher, lo-carb, low cholesterol, children's meals, etc. AMS was notorious for being a problem station but it runs hot and cold there.

It must be more stress for you as cabin crew having to deal with the problem stations since you have to interact with so many different personalities of passengers and language barriers, too!

Quoting DTWPurserBoy (Reply 26):
We will NEVER take a delay to locate and board a special or pre-ordered meal. One area where we have trouble is when a passenger was booked on a flight, that flight left without the passenger in question on board due to a late arrival at the connecting city. There is simply no way to move meals from one airplane to another when you are carrying 150,000 passengers a day.

That is definitely understandable as a single delay can create a domino "effect" for the rest of the day!

Quoting DTWPurserBoy (Reply 26):
If there are 300 passengers on a flight there are 300 meals. The days are long gone of having a 10% overage or some such thing. The cost was astronomical and had a huge amount of waste. On that same note if 300 passengers were expected on a flight an another airline cancels and we get their passengers we generally will not get enough meals if the cancellation happened with, say, 3-4 hours of departure. I have found the best way to deal with this is with honesty and humor. "Ladies and gentleman, I have a confession to make. In order to accommodate our customers from a cancelled flight we were not able to wait for extra meals to be boarded so I am 50 meals short. If you, like all of your crew, are on a diet and trying to lose weight and feel like you can miss the meal, please let a flight attendant know and I will provide you with an extra (fill in the blank) number of frequently flyer miles as a thank you." I would say that probably 95% of the time that works and we actually have some meals left over. The key there is being frank, humble with just a touch of good humor.

As a passenger, all I want is communication. Be forthcoming and honest. Be genuine with your apology and together we can come to genuine understand and sympathy for each other. I can't blame you for honesty. Your explanations make complete sense. I wish more airline employees would take the time to explain these things as you and Prost have today.  
Quoting DTWPurserBoy (Reply 26):
And before anyone asks, no, we generally will not give up a crew meal for a passenger. Our meals are different (usually) from passenger meals and if we are scheduled for a crew meals on a segment it is because our duty day is 14-18 hours and you simply cannot function without food. And Lord help the flight attendant that gives away the captain's meal! I have seen that get really, really ugly. We generally sneak off into a corner, trying hard not to be observed, and wolf it down. I generally do not eat an entrée on a flight so I have given mine away many times--I will graze off the fruit and cheese platter in BC or pull together a salad...and I always travel with some cup-of-noodles, granola bars and those canned tuna salad and cracker packs for my 2 am hotel feeding.

Personally, I would never dare ask a cabin attendant for their meal. If it's really that serious for me to eat, then I'm happy with pretzels and a bloody mary mix. The Mr&Mrs. T Bloody Mary mix is filling and delicious with salty pretzels! I would be happy with that all the way to Tokyo if there was a serious catering issue! No joke!

OMG, do passengers actually ask for your meal in these situations? That's a bit harsh and disrespectful to you (airline employees) as human beings!!! You need more nourishment than passengers do as you are constantly working!!!

Thank you again to the both of you for your time in answering my inquiry. Skyteam really does care more about me!!  

Bon Voyage,

AirAfreak  
Korean Air | Excellence in Flight.
 
DTWPurserBoy
Posts: 2374
Joined: Fri Feb 19, 2010 10:33 pm

RE: What Makes And Breaks A Good Cabin Crew Dynamic?

Tue Dec 23, 2014 2:52 pm

Air Freak---you are my NEW best friend. Unfortunately not all passengers are as understanding.

Regarding Korean meals. There has never been an option to pre-order a Korean meal. Generally, one of the entrée choices will be something like Bulgogi or Bimbumbap which generally appeals to the American palate with a great little side pack of gochujang, the Korean hot paste (at home I actually buy jars of the stuff and smear it on bread!) Americans run hot and cold (mainly cold) on Kimchee. It is definitely an acquired taste.

When NW had a SEL flight attendant base the company had a "No Kimchee" 24 hour rule. Kimchee is about 50% raw garlic and destroys your breath and even oozes out of your skin pores so many passengers find the smell offensive.
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