5 Reasons Service On US Airlines Is Inconsistent & Often Not Good

A couple of weeks ago Qatar Airways’ CEO talked about the “crap service” at US airlines from “grandmas,” which really doesn’t help his case much in the battle between the US carriers and Gulf carriers. He ended up issuing a non-apology apology, which I guess is better than usual for him.

I’d like to think I’m a tough critic of service, though I have no issues whatsoever with the concept of “grandmas” working on US airlines. I have issues with bad service, but to me that’s not correlated to age. There are some “grandmas” at US airlines that are fantastic (like the ones on my recent United flight that I just wrote about), and others that are terrible. But that’s true of flight attendants of all ages.

Some argue that flight attendants are there to be eye candy, and that they should be hot, etc. Personally I think that’s a bit ridiculous, and an outdated concept. A few decades ago flight attendants in the US were hired based on their looks, but in 2017 that’s an unrealistic expectation, in my opinion. Where do you draw the line in feeling that way — should we expect only hot people to work in every customer service position, from Uber drivers to restaurant servers to Wal-Mart associates? It’s a very slippery slope, and one I don’t support.

Anyway, I truly believe that grandmas aren’t at fault for bad service on US airlines, so in this post I wanted to share what I think the causes of bad and inconsistent service at US airlines are, in no particular order:

Lack of an onboard manager

US airlines have lead flight attendants, though in reality these are flight attendants who are paid a couple of extra dollars per hour to make announcements and do the paperwork. These aren’t management employees, they don’t have the ability to discipline other crew, etc.

Personally I think this is an issue, and you’ll find that most of the airlines globally that are regarded for good service have a lead flight attendant who is actually empowered to discipline crew, deal with customer complaints in a constructive way, evaluate the performance of the rest of the crew, etc.

Essentially at US airlines flight attendants are completely unsupervised once the door closes. No one is really in charge, and I think having a true “lead” flight attendant who is chosen based on merit could help create an atmosphere where service would be better.

Safety and service being viewed as mutually exclusive

I value the safety training that flight attendants at US airlines have. When you look at the amazing job that flight attendants did when US1549 was ditched in the Hudson, you can’t help but have respect for them. However, there’s another side to this. Since 9/11, it sure feels like some flight attendants view safety and service as being mutually exclusive.

We don’t need to be reminded that “flight attendants are here primarily for your safety.” That should be a given. I understand that the most important function that flight attendants perform is safety, even though they dedicate 90% of their time to service. It would be like a cruise ship crew telling you that their primary job is safety, and using that as an excuse for providing less service.

So for some (though certainly not all) flight attendants it sure seems like safety is being used as an excuse for providing sub-par service, since they don’t view service as their primary role.

Toxic relationships between management & unions

Personally I don’t think that unions or management are exclusively to blame for service issues. For example, Southwest has flight attendant unions but is known for their great service, while Delta doesn’t have flight attendant unions, but I don’t necessarily think they have better service than Southwest does.

From my perspective, there have been hostile relationships between management and unions for decades, and much of that is understandable, given what the industry has been through. The goals of management and the employees haven’t been aligned, and that’s a major issue, and is partly to blame for the lack of purpose that so many employees have. Now that airlines are dong well I think we’re starting to see more cooperation, though we’ll see how long that lasts.

No performance based evaluations

Personally I’m strongly opposed to crews being able to bid for positions solely based on their seniority. While I’m all for rewarding long term employees who are dedicated to the company, it seems silly to make that the only basis off of which they decide whether someone can work first or business class, get a desirable route, etc.

Of course one of the issues is that there’s no real manager onboard to evaluate crews, so it’s tough to select them based on merit. This is something else that could be solved by having a true onboard manager.

However, take a look at JetBlue Mint, where flight attendants are hand-picked to work the cabin. I’m not sure what exactly the process is, but I’d be willing to bet it’s not strictly seniority based, given how excellent the service is.

Flight attendants working premium cabins or desired routes should get those routes at least partly because of how good they are, and not solely based on how long they’ve been at the company.

The herd mentality & unlimited authority

These points are all somewhat related, though I think this is worth pointing out specifically. What happened on 9/11 was terrible, and I think it’s important for flight attendants to have the authority to prevent issues before they arise. However, we’ve seen case after case of flight attendants abusing this power over the years, including kicking people off planes because they didn’t like how they were spoken to, etc.

If a flight attendant says they don’t feel “comfortable” they can kick someone off, and in many cases we’ve seen videos of such instances which were indefensible. The further issue is that because of this authority, even if the rest of the crew disagrees with the situation, they’ll go along with it.

In my opinion there has to be a higher standard for people being kicked off planes. I think we’re slowly seeing that trend reverse in a post-Dao era, with just about everything being captured on video.

Bottom line

I’ve had fantastic senior flight attendants, and also terrible ones. The great ones are usually the ones who remember the good old days of service, and try to replicate that. The bad ones are usually the ones who remember the good old days of service, and are so disgusted by how things are nowadays that they don’t bother trying.

I’ve had fantastic young flight attendants, and also terrible ones. The great ones are usually the ones who are so excited about being able to travel, and appreciate the opportunity. The bad ones are usually the lazy entitled millennials who think their job is too hard (to be clear, I’m a millennial as well, so I’m not calling all millennials entitled and lazy, but rather am saying that bad service usually comes from young flight attendants with that mentality).

There are a lot of problems with service at US airlines, but I don’t think age as such is one of the problems. Now, from a safety perspective I do think at a certain age flight attendants should only be able to take their recurrent tests a limited number of times, rather than being able to take them until they pass.

However, I think age has very little to do with the skill of a flight attendant. Instead I think some of the above reasons are to blame for the service culture at US airlines.

Why do you think service at US airlines is inconsistent and often not good?

Comments

  1. Airlines, please take a page from Lyft/Uber. After every flight, show me a pic and 1-5 star rating option for each FA that worked in my cabin.

  2. Power trip? Sit in a crj-200. One flight attendant with unlimited power with no authority above him/her.

  3. Why can’t you just call it bad service? What does “….often not good” even mean. Trying to sound verbose doesn’t behoove you.

  4. If “flight attendants are here primarily for your safety” is 100% true then we won’t see:
    1. A welcoming smile from FA;
    2. Gorgeous (and not cheap!) FA’s uniform;
    3. An FA with make-up and accesories; etc.
    Instead we will have;
    1. Muscled men/women as FA like lifeguards;
    2. Uniform like police or security officers which impose authority;
    3. FA trained in martial arts like aikido to quickly disarm potential trouble makers; etc

    You and most people may not like it. And it will be politically incorrect statement. But they do exist not just for safety, BUT ALSO for SERVICE and EYE CANDY.

  5. @Jason, that sounds like a good idea on its face, but it probably wouldn’t make much of a difference if they are unionized. Just look at the teacher unions for an example…

    Also, you should really watch “Nosedive” on season 3 of Black Mirror (on Netflix)… it’s very creepy and shows what would happen if this rating mentality was expanded to include every aspect of our lives…

    https://www.theverge.com/2016/10/24/13379204/black-mirror-season-3-episode-1-nosedive-recap

  6. your response is bullshit. Why should women EVER be judged on their looks in terms of their job. The ONLY thing they should be judged is how they perform their jobs? Why are you justifying even the least those awful statements. It’s not just an “outdated concept,” it is straight up sexism.

    “A few decades ago flight attendants in the US were hired based on their looks, but in 2017 that’s an unrealistic expectation, in my opinion.” So you think it is ok if you change expectations? Why are you tacitly agreeing with this OUTRIGHT sexism?

  7. @ None Ofyour Bidness — I don’t follow? I’m not condoning it, but I’m simply stating that’s how it used to be. That’s a fact, not my opinion. Take a look at this ad, for example:

  8. I fly in and out of Orange County airport weekly. American has a very senior crew base here. I consistently run into the same crew members and they always recognize and acknowledge me. One of the FAs is in her 70s and she always calls me by name and remembers my preferences, much like the gracious flight attendants I remember from years gone by. Her professionalism and gracious demeanor far exceeds the elitist, lazy attitude of the young flight attendants I encounter on a weekly basis. I will take grandma over a millennial any day.

  9. You give far too much credence to the position that FAs should be eye candy (even though you state your disagreement). It’s not just “a bit” ridiculous and outdated; it’s completely absurd and indefensible.

  10. As someone who enjoys eye candy, why are we pretending this wasn’t an aspect of the stewardesse role back in the day? Ben is completely right! Although I personally like handsome males, so I couldn’t care less really … eh, I digress.

    An interesting perspective on this: imagine you’re a visitor to the United States. You fly in on, say, Lufthansa. After an unpleasant meeting with CBP, you meet nice people and generally great service everywhere. At the hotel, in most restaurants – in fact, most service in the United States goes above and beyond.

    Now you board a domestic flight. Then you realize service in the US is only good because of tipping culture. It’s really sad, to be honest.

  11. I am european and haven’t flown with any american airline yet, but it sounds conparable to my experienced on regional european flights. What I found there (and I think it was also mentioned by thepointsguy with his first flight in the now Polaris seats as well, but I do not know for sure) is that it helps if the product delivered by the airline is one flight attendants can be proud of. Last time I flew in a brand new plane of Transavia and they were piloting a cloud system from which people could stream movies and series. They also had a new (paid) menu, which was a huge improvement to what they had. The flight attendants were all smiling, proud that the service they provided was supported by a proper hard product.

    Flight attendants are loyal (as they should be), but they are not blind to what happens around them. They also see the hard products and service of Emirates, Ethiad and Qatar, and see the sevice and Mint seats of Jetblue. It is hard to keep a smile on your face when you know competition is having the better of you because of decisions made by the management. So to wrap this up, I think it is important that flight attendants can be proud on what the have to offer. If they are, good service will follow.

  12. The funny thing for me, from the “FAs should be hot” crowd, is that the only consistent complaints from hardcore travelers are about lousy service. And when I was a manager in high end bars and nightclubs – the most “eye candy” heavy industry in the US accessible to everyday people (outside of strip clubs) – the only complaints I got from my customers were about lousy service. Nobody ever walked up to me on a crowded night and said, “excuse me, you need to replace the bartender in the lounge because she’s not hot enough”; but I got complaints if one of my staff wasn’t doing their job effectively. People (and in this case, men) complain when it doesn’t matter about things that don’t matter; when the time comes, they want great service from whoever is there to provide it.

  13. Everything is connected. But even you above implicitly reason that age, a de facto synonym for flight attendant seniority, plays a key role.

    If seniority, a fuction of years with the company, which strongly correlates with age, is the ONLY determining factor for better work conditions of a fligh attendant, such as pick of the route, cabin, etc how could anybody expect them to go above an beyond bare minimum to keep their jobs?

    And, again, even you ackgnowledge that in such environment only self-motivated flight attendants tend to deliver the level of service that is actual customary on Qatar Airways, for example. And who is self-motivated? Again, even you ackgnowledge that they tend to be younger ones excited to be able to travel and a rare old ones that just love their job, and haven’t gotten bitter enough to not care any more. So, again, there is correlation between age and service delived. Even your mention of not so rare millenial attitude issues is by definition age related just as well.

    I realize that today half of the western world’s population is obsessed with political correctness. And virtue signaling is of paramount importance to them. They would rather deny that US airlines offer poor service compared to that offered by most of their overseas competitors than exercise a thought that there might be a correlation between the age of US flight attendants and the level of service delivered in aggregate. Well, as these comment sections demonstrate, it is time to realize not everybody everywhere shares their belief system that “it is 2017 so we better adopt thier ‘progressive’ ideology”. Most of the world just hasn’t gotten too politically correct for their own good. And this shows in how increasingly uncompetitive US airlines’ service has become.

  14. @Robert

    You see how nice these FA’s in their ’70 are to you. Because they know you. But let me tell you what most people experience. They see these very same old ladies being too busy talking to 1 or 2 passengers while pretty much ignoring everybody and everything else. Now-a-day it is becoming incresingly rare for a flight attendant to even ackgnowledge you upon entering the plane. He/she may be too busy having a private conversation with a fellow flight attendant or a passenger she know. I’ve seen these senior flight attendantsthat seem to always know a passenger or two sit and chat to them during 80% of the flight while completely ignoring everybody else. I’ve seen them do the same with an off duty pilot on his way home. This is what 99% of pax experience when a FA is very friendly to one or two.

  15. Everyone complains about bad service but I rarely hear examples or have had anyone define what exactly “bad service” is in this context. In hundreds of flights I can’t honestly recall a single one where I would characterize the service as bad. For me, I remember flights as bad that were hours late, ones with missed connections, bad weather events, lousy food, lousy seats (and seatmates), lost luggage, bad turbulence and disgusting lavatories. With so many other more pressing issues to go bad on a flight, service has never risen to a point where I can even recall a bad event.

  16. Overall, I like this piece, however I’d point out:

    1. A performance based evaluation (or the ability to fire people for poor performance) would require union consent.

    2. FA’s already have supervisors … airline management. And they’re not scared of being fired for bad service by management because the union doesn’t allow it. An extension of airline management in the cabin as in flight supervisor would not change the paradigm.

    3. Delta clearly has better service — on board and in the lounge — than their competitors United and American. This may be a corporate culture issue and it may be a unionization issue. As you point out, Southwest also has pretty friendly service and with them it’s clearly corporate culture.

  17. @Donna, you want examples? I’ll give you examples:

    American Airlines, International Business Class, JFK-LHR (o/w full fare business class bought last minute for a little less than 3500 dollars for a 7h flight):

    – Got yelled at (literally) for using the lav in the ‘wrong’ aisle. No, I wasn’t using the first class lav. I was using the lav on the left side of the aircraft instead of the one on the right side, where I was seated. It was occupied, so I crossed and used the other one. Apparently the FA didn’t like this.

    – I asked not to be woken for breakfast. I woke up anyway with over an hour to go, was told I couldn’t have a cup of coffee (‘you chose not to have breakfast’ … ‘SIR’)

    United Airlines, First Class, LAX-SFO:

    – Asked FA what pre-departure bevs he had on his tray (I was in the window, couldn’t see if there was anything but juice). Answer: “You can see it, can’t you?” with a snotty attitude.

    United Airlines, First Class, LAX-ORD:

    – Asked if I could move to an empty seat in FC as my FC seat didn’t recline. Was told ‘no, sorry’. Asked another FA minutes later, allowed to change seats. No explanation or effort given by the first FA.

    These are just some of numerous examples. I haven’t flown American carriers internationally since the AA flight to London; at least internationally I have a choice.

  18. No accountability and no culture instilled. Over the years, since flying from the mid 90’s till today, the most consistent service on any US airlines is Southwest Airlines. I’ve flown my fair share on UA and I simply hate it. The FAs are cold, apathetic, downright rude. If I acted that way in my line of work, I be fired right away. But at UA, this is how it is and there is no repercussions. With Southwest, not every Southwest flight is great but by far they are the most consistent and friendly and that’s a result from a long history of customer service culture instilled from the top to the bottom.

  19. Lucky you really need to take a look at this sentence

    “A few decades ago flight attendants in the US were hired based on their looks, but in 2017 that’s an unrealistic expectation, in my opinion”

    I don’t disagree that what happened in the past is what happened but hiring people based on their looks rather than their ability and suitability for the role is discriminatory, immoral and illegal not ‘an unrealistic expectation. It makes you look like you are in favour of discrimination.

  20. Just legitimately curious — and I’m viewing this from a completely neutral perspective with regard to unions: Why wouldn’t they support having the “onboard manager” role as Ben described? Seem to me like it would be a win-win: better service for customers and more advancement opportunities for the FAs that want it that aren’t solely based on seniority.

  21. Perhaps the ill-fated Hooters Airline had the right idea. Have a couple of “hot” girls on the plane for the old guys to gawp at. And then have other crew to provide the actual service.

  22. Woah, the fact that attractive people go to the front of the line in service jobs is really triggering a lot of people. Just diet, guys. It’s not that hard.

    It won’t become less true just because you’re outraged, kids. Ben, please just ignore these UC Berkeley types and keep up the good work.

  23. What is this “eye candy” nonsense? How about fighting for decent leg room, reasonable seat width, a clean plane, ordinary courtesy, consistent service, helpfulness with connections? I don’t get it…why value that silly bit of past standards above what does make a big difference in the whole experience? Everybody carries laptops and cellphones now. If you are so desperate to look at good-looking people load up a few pictures of your choice. Give me some leg-room and courtesy.

  24. The cabin manager idea would only work if the airline is willing to hire college degree graduates with documented training in management. Having a designated FA to document all incidents in a given flight would help establish if patterns exist. Document name of people involved, witness statements and resolution offered. Have an online department receive the incident reports in real time from the aircraft and provide suggestions on how to provide service recovery efforts.

  25. I fly a lot for work and Delta, by far, has the best customer service and friendly FAs. UA is as others pointed out, had a very rude culture. I do my best to avoid UA & American to fly either Delta or Jet Blue.

  26. I think the best way to improve the service culture is to randomly and regularly ask customers to review all aspects of their plane journey. Preferably before they leave the arrival terminal.

  27. you need to change the headline from “often not good” to “never good”….which is the reality. it has not only to do with the physical product i.e. seat dimensions, comfort, food/drinks offering etc..but also the attitude of the staff…right from ticketing, check-in to the flight attendants…the attitude just sucks.

  28. I am EP with American and Diamond, 4 million miler with Delta. American wins out hands down.

  29. First of all, I find this post somewhat insulting and degrading along with all the people in your ‘lovely’ commentaries stating that they would like to “rate” flight attendants like uber does with drivers… or that “Hooters” had the right vision by having a couple of good looking flight attendants to keep the older men happy… Really? May I go to your office or home, sit there and rate you on anything you do or say? May I asked to have a couple of hot strip pole dancers come to your home or office because I do not find you attractive at all and you are not my type? Get how ridicule that sounds?

    In addition, yes, we are there for safety… Tell that to the woman who almost gave birth on my flight… or the guy who’s recent surgery stitches had ruptured due to cabin pressure changes and I had to assist a doctor re-stitch him again while flying pass the point of no return over the Atlantic (cold turkey I might add)… also tell that to the passengers who were on my flight when we had a landing gear malfunction and could have crashed… tell that to the passenger that had a minor stroke and we had to make an emergency landing to get her to a hospital… tell that to the woman that as she was walking to the restroom, became unconcious and passed out when by a struck of luck, I was near her and jumped in to catch her in mid air before she hit her head against a seat or wall and defecated herself too while I was trying to wake her up … yes, tell that to your reader who said “90% of my job is service”….

    And yes, granted, I am there for service too. I know that and most of us do too. But we are not there to be runway models and be treated as servants. I will go to the end of the world for you as long as you treat me with respect. That’s all we ask! And if a pasengers threatens me, you bet I will have him removed from the flight. What and who gives you the authority to treat me like a punchbag when your first meal choice is not available or we do not have chardonnay but have a chablis… You curse or physically threaten me, I will have you removed. I am protected by Federal law. I will use it to the full extend if I have to. You do not like it? Then take the train home…

    How would you feel if I come into your office or home and start cursing at you because your wife, husband, partner or friend cooked me a chicken when I wanted a steak? How would you feel if I do not like the wine you served me and I spit it out at you or spill it on the floor? How would you feel if I take a swing at you or other people in your home such as family and friends? Would you call the police and have me removed or arrested? most likely! So, how that differs from being in a plane…. I do not get paid to take your insults and nowhere on the ticket contract states that buying at ticket gives you the authority to go on a plane and behave like a lunatic and an asshole.

    Airlines are not flying restaurants or bars… you have dietary needs, bring your own food. You have a child or children with you, bring snacks and things to entertain them…. you have a medical condition, bring your medication… bring a pen, bring a book, bring anything to be self-sufficient. I also suffer when I do not have enough of your first choice of food or drink… I am there to please and ensure you have a good flight and I wish I can make things appear out of thin air… but in reality, that’s not the way it is. Is it my fault? No! It is the fault of management that want to increase profits while cutting items. I remember the days everyone got a hot meal, a full can of soda, caviar, Dom Perignon… those days are over. And why? Because people want to get from point A to point B at the lowest cost yet they want full service? That’s not going to happen… and you very well know it.

    Lucky, remember one thing…. Flight Attendants in other carriers such as the middle eastern ones or Asia, give 2 to 3 five year contracts to the ‘pretty girls’ and if they gain weight or change looks, they get fired. In the USA, being a flight attendant is a career… it is a profession… We do not do it for 3 or 5 years and then move onto something else. It is my profession.

    And I am glad that I got an union to protect my job against injustices. I do have a friend who worked for a non-union airline. He had an issue with a passenger who played the “race-card” and he was fired on the spot. No hearings, no investigations and not interviewing witnesses or anyone else involved. Like that, in the snap of two fingers, he lost his job. I am not going to stand for those injustices and the reason for unions in the airline industry, as I believe you do know and if you do not, you should be ashamed… is that women who married and got pregnant got fired; because men where not allowed to be flight attendants; because of sexual harrasement against crew members; because flight attendants did not have a pension plan like you do.. or medical or any other benefit for that matter… because we were sent to crappy motels for layovers… because I had no protections against air quality on the airplane or right to eat on a 15 hour duty day… Shall I go on? YES! I support my union!

    Also my profession, as you said, is quite unsupervised. And guess what? Do you see any airline being shut down because flight attendants did not show up for work? While my profession is unsupervised, we do have the presence of mind and be responsible enough to show up at any time of the day or night to work our flights and get you to your destination. Thousands of us all over the world go to work without anyone telling us when to do so or having to stamp an on/off time card.

    To your readers and those of you who think that my job is not as worth as theirs, I tell them to try being on my shoes for a month… I bet most of you won’t survive a week! I can go on and on and give you more examples but sometimes is hard to talk to chauvinistic people who think they are above anyone else just because they paid for an airline ticket. You don’t like it? Then find another way to get to your destination. As simple as that…

    And for you, Lucky, again…. disappointed in your opinion and every day more I like you less.

  30. @Luis Santiago — your post works in favor of Asian airlines — maybe there should be ‘term limits’ on western flight attendants so they don’t become bitter.

    As for coming to my workplace and rating me on a star system, go for it. Back when I taught undergrads I did get rated 1-5 by hundreds of students.

  31. Jason,
    Me too, lots of students. Lots of comments and evaluations. But, I was never openly evaluated on “level of eye candy,” ‘hot or not’, or, thank heaven, my weight or age or fashion sense. In fact, one of the standards incorporated in the evaluation was that any “personal” remarks — favorable or unfavorable — would eliminate the entire evaluation.
    I can’t say the students were always “professional,” but they were expected to be.
    Don’t you think “eye candy” is sophomoric at best? Not to mention totally out of place in a working environment.

  32. @Ted — who said the star rating system has anything to do with looks?

    What I want to do is be able to rate 5 stars the flight attendant who addresses me by name, proactively refills my drink, and stands by when I deplane to thank me for flying with the airline.

    I want to be able to rate 1 star the flight attendant whose only spoken words to me throughout the whole flight are, “beef or ravioli?”

  33. To be honest, in my (limited) experience, the flight attendants are not the weakest link in the service chain. I think ground handling is far worse – and that’s what stopped from flying UA. I had repeated experience of management vs. union related service failures (e.g. ground staff did not know the scheduled and ontime flight was arriving, nobody at EWR available to close a cargo hatch of a 737, having to burn off fuel before departure because they filled more than ordered, etc. etc.). Certainly none of this ever occurred to me on a ME3 carrier …

  34. I fully agree with most of your points, Lucky.

    The problems with service quality at US airlines are certainly not an issue related to age. The statement from Al Bakr just shows that Qatar as country is decades behind when it comes to rights and labor laws.

    The issues at many US airlines are integral. At the end of the day a problem with quality assurance processes.

  35. I can’t believe that Flight attendants can throw passengers off aircraft, (they are only just airborne waiters) if a passenger said something that bruised their ego. I would personally request to see the flight purser or Flight Captain.

  36. The only reason is because Americans don’t care. Get United for example. After all the terrible things that happened on United flights people keep flying them. If people left their planes empty things would be different. It is as always all about money and customers have the power to make a company disappear. All they need is to stop spending their money there. It is Darwin 101.

  37. @luissantiago sadly too many FAs have a chip on their shoulder and the law on their side. It’s high handed attitudes like yours which led to Dr Dao being smashed to bits. And he was following the rules and well within his rights.
    The law is often an ass. It is especially so in the case where an FA can be nasty and get away with it.
    It’s your blasted job. Go ahead and do it and don’t make it sound like you’re doing something special. In my work I’ve had to rescue guests from a terrorist attack, but you don’t hear me shout about it daily.

  38. The quality of the average passenger is also to blame. The idea that sweatpants can be worn was the first step into mayhem. People act like they are in their living room. Lucky, I know you like to board first but maybe go to a gate for another flight and just people watch and listen. How many times do you hear ‘please’, ‘may I’, and ‘thank you’ from the passengers. I don’t appreciate the unions and the mentality that brings but the men and women working with the ‘general public’ have my sympathy.

  39. What I have to appreciate are the ones that pay attention during or perhaps before boarding and can anticipate problems early wrt passenger needs. For instance, my latest flight from Chicago to San Antonio on United; she referred to herself as a “30-yr air hag”. Really. From Tennessee no less. BUT, she either was made aware or noticed as we were boarding that we had 2 people of size coming aboard. She, with much humor and tac, ‘rearranged’ a few folks to allow them to be seated together on the same row with no complaints. No one lost their window seat or isle seat. But, then again, no one was put into an overcrowded seat.

  40. Lucky is an imminently reasonable person. To accuse him of being creepy or for hiring based on appearance only is idiotic.

    He clearly stated he is against that.

    Get your heads out.

  41. @luis Santiago, I would definitely want to avoid flying the airline you work in, if I don’t know which airline you are in, I can’t avoid it, so that’s not my fault isn’t it? You said that’s your career and profession, isn’t service provided by you part of your job? So if you don’t wish or hate to provide the service, then change career and job. We are not the one forcing you to work as FA, also we are not the one that forces you to be on our flight, it’s not our fault that you are working on the flights we fly on. Your whole post is all about you, you can compare the ratio of passengers, 1 in how many of the passengers are what you said, and on FAs how many are unwilling to provide service when it’s part of their job. In this world, there will never be prefect passengers and perfect FAs of course, that’s not what we are looking for, but at least some respect from you too even though we may have bought our tickets on discounts or redemption. We didn’t force you to be in your shoe, you don’t like your shoes, change it, find another pair of shoes, don’t take it out on us or make us feel we put you in it.

  42. I’ve flown a good amount in recent years, and if anything the worst service I have ever had was Airtran back in 2007. That’s when they dumped my drink on me and the response was to bring a new foam seat bottom since it was soaked.

    That said, I think the spirit of what Ben was trying to say is probably slightly different from the wording. In the days of Pan Am, flight attendants in the US were treated much like ME3 flight attendants are treated now. Safety has become the primary duty of FA’s since 9/11 in most US carriers. All I’ve ever wanted from an FA while flying coach was a modicum of respect and a solid supply of water. For the most part, I’ve gotten that on nearly every airline I’ve flown except for Spirit.

    I think everybody needs to take a step back and empathize with the other side and try to move forward with a modicum of respect. Any progress in that department will make flying infinitely better for all of us.

  43. @Luis Santiago
    You have proven that FA doesn’t have the skill and mental capacity to serve in airplane, moreover guarding safety of the passenger.

    All your examples ended up you request help from another passenger and you simply assisting the said other passenger.

    Your ranting and complaints showed you may be old but far from adulthood or mature mindset.

    And yes, paying customers/clients have the right to judge you on service rendered. Whether in form of stars or others.

    Grow up!!! Make murica great again!!!

  44. As a cabin crewmember, while most of our time may be occupied with service, we are on the lookout 100% of the time for safety AND security issues, There is no argument that the expectations of airline service turned upside-down after the 9/11 terrorist attacks. While a professional appearance may have been a factor in obtaining a position our competency in handling onboard safety and security issues is re-checked annually. As long hours in other jobs mandate overtime and reasonable breaks, flight attendants are expected to remain focused on passenger needs before, during, and after a flight, regardless of how long that entails.

  45. Part of the issue is that just the culture of the United States, the hospitality industry is not filled with people that love their jobs. This is the same in hotels, restaurants, etc. Sometimes you get amazing service on US airlines by people that love their jobs and people and others who don’t because they just are in it for the money. The US is a capitalistic society and I find many flight attendants based in the US who don’t want to be a flight attenedent only are for getting to travel, the pay and any benifits thet come with it.

    Also what’s funny is that we accuse US airlines for being the worst. American (by the end of the Summer) and Delta has lie flat, direct aisle access from all there seats on widebodies. American will eventually have primarily reverse herringbone seats (or versions of it) on their whole wide body fleet once the 767s fade out. Almost all US interntational aircrafts have good WIFI now which many airlines don’t have. You said before in your reviews that especially on United and Delta, the amenities are above average. The food is around average or a bit bellow on some. Some of this, the middle eastern carriers, Asian and European don’t have. So my question is, if it isn’t for the US airlines inconsistent service, and supar food. Where would American, Delta and United’s premium cabins rank compared to the global scale?

  46. @Jason,

    No, I do not favor Asian carriers whatsoever. If you want candy, take your business somewhere else and fly those carriers. We do not need people like you flying airlines in the USA. You are probably the one that gets drunk and become an annoying passenger. Besides, since we are not there to provide you with eye-candy, I suggest you go to the ‘girlie’ bars nearest you, release yourself, and leave the Flight Attendants alone. They are not there for your entertainment. If so, hire your own private jet, get a few of your ‘fave girls’ to give you lap dances during your flight and leave the rest of us alone.

  47. @ James,

    The fact is that, yes, I needed to assist the doctor to perform the surgery… why? Because I am not one. Yet, if I was not there to “assist” as him, he would not know where to find the medical kit, the first aid kit and the bio-hazard kit. Would you be able to find it on the aircraft? I do not think so!!!

    So the one who needs to grow up is you. Yes, you have the right to rate and provide feedback in any hospitality services you get. But the fact is that you and the other male chauvinistic and egocentric people here have made such lively comments, then it speaks to you and who you are… In that case, the one that needs to group up is you.

  48. @Luis Santiago

    Your comments shows Lucky’s comments as precisely right. You are precisely why passengers feels service is bad.

    Your whole comment screams ME ME ME ME ME ME ME. No pride in providing good service. No sense of ownership. Everything is somebody else’s fault.

    1) Re/ Rating
    Yes. Many people, including university professors, doctors, dentist receiving rating from their service target. How does one know if they did a good job if not for from feedback of their service target? Famous cooks wants to know how their patrons rate their food. Accountants that wants to know how likely are their clients going to refer their service to their family and associates. I work in IT and my clients rate me too.

    2) Re/ Safety.
    No one devalue the importance of that. And due credit is acknowledge by lucky and everyone. But so is the case of the crew of say, SQ/CX/LH. Are you saying you are exceptional better at ensuring safety than they are?

    3) Re/ Service.
    You claimed, and I quoted “I will go to the end of the world for you as long as you treat me with respect. “. Now, if the plane is delayed and if an inexperience passenger is concerned about disconnect and respectfully ask you to help, where is that end of the world that you have gone to? Do walk them to the right counter and help them re-book? Or did you say it’s not my job, talk to a ground agent?
    If an inexperience new first time mother passenger with a crying child, respectfully ask you to help, do you help calm the child down?
    -Ah wait, you just said “You have a child or children with you, bring snacks and things to entertain them… bring anything to be self-sufficient” .

    4) Re/ Lack of pride and ownership.
    “Is it my fault? No! It is the fault of management that want to increase profits while cutting items.” ” You don’t like it? Then find another way to get to your destination.”

    See? Again. No recommendation of helping the issue or relaying the opinion. Suggesting the passengers to fill in in flight comment cards? Raising the idea of pre-ordering meals as a suggestion? 1 single crew’s suggestion might be ignored, but many of you who raise the same suggestion? And telling your legitimate customers to shop elsewhere, really?

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